Great Western Railway (train operating company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Great Western Railway
Greater west railw logo.svg
Didcot - GWR 800020+800021 down service.JPG
Overview
Franchise(s)
  • InterCity Great Western
    4 February 1996 – 31 March 2006
  • Greater Western
    1 April 2006 – 31 March 2020[1]
Main region(s)London, Thames Valley, South West England, South Wales
Other region(s)West Midlands, South East England
Fleet size
Stations called atover 270
Stations operated197
Route km operated2129.2
National Rail abbreviationGW
Parent companyFirstGroup
Websitewww.gwr.com
Technical
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 hz AC OHLE
Route map
Route map

First Greater Western Limited,[2] trading as Great Western Railway (GWR), is a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that operates the Greater Western railway franchise. It manages 197 stations and its trains call at over 270.[3] GWR operates long-distance inter-city services along the Great Western Main Line to and from South West England and South Wales, as well as the Night Riviera sleeper service between London and Penzance. It also provides commuter/outer-suburban services from its London terminus at Paddington to West London, the Thames Valley region including parts of Berkshire, parts of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; and regional services throughout the West of England and South Wales to the South coast of England. GWR was due to begin operating the Heathrow Express service under a management contract on behalf of Heathrow Airport Holdings from August 2018;[4] however this was later deferred to November 2018.

The company began operating in February 1996 as Great Western Trains, as part of the privatisation of British Rail. In December 1998 it became First Great Western[5] after FirstGroup bought out its partners' shares in Great Western Holdings. In April 2006, First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains were combined into the new Greater Western franchise and brought under the First Great Western brand. The company adopted its current name and a new livery in September 2015 to coincide with the start of an extended franchise that is due to run until April 2020.[1]

History[edit]

An InterCity 125 as operated by the original Great Western Trains franchise in 1996-1998

As part of the privatisation of British Rail, the Great Western InterCity franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to Great Western Holdings in December 1995 and began operations on 4 February 1996. Great Western Holdings was owned by some former British Rail managers (51%), FirstBus (24.5%) and 3i (24.5%).[6][7]

In March 1998, FirstGroup bought out its partners' stakes to give it 100% ownership.[8][9][10] In December 1998, the franchise was rebranded as First Great Western.[11]

On 1 April 2004, First Great Western Link commenced operating the Thames Trains franchise. It operated local train services from Paddington to Slough, Henley-on-Thames, Reading, Didcot, Oxford, Newbury, Bedwyn, Worcester, Hereford, Banbury and Stratford upon Avon. It also operated services from Reading to Gatwick Airport (via Guildford and Dorking), and from Reading to Basingstoke.[12]

First Great Western Link operated the Thames Trains franchise from April 2004 until it was absorbed into the Greater Western franchise in 2006.

On 1 April 2006, the Great Western, Great Western Link and Wessex Trains franchises were combined into a new Greater Western franchise. FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach were shortlisted to bid for this new franchise. On 13 December 2005, it was announced that FirstGroup had won the franchise.[13] Originally, First planned to subdivide its services into three categories based on routes.[14] Following feedback from staff and stakeholders, the decision was taken to re-brand and re-livery all services as 'First Great Western'.[15]

In May 2011, FirstGroup announced that it had decided not to take up the option to extend its franchise beyond the end of March 2013. FirstGroup stated that, in the light of the £1bn plan to electrify the Great Western route from London via Bristol to Cardiff, it wanted to try to negotiate a longer-term deal. CEO Tim O'Toole said: "We believe we are best placed to manage these projects and capture the benefits through a longer-term franchise."[16]

By not taking up the option to extend its original franchise contract for a further three years, FirstGroup avoided having to pay £826.6m to the government; it received extra subsidies totalling £133m from the government in 2010.[17]

In March 2012 Arriva, FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach were shortlisted to bid for the new franchise. The winner was expected to be announced in December 2012, with the new franchisee taking over in April 2013;[18] however, it was announced in July 2012 that the franchise would be extended, due to the late issue of the Invitation to Tender (ITT).[19] The ITT ran from the end of July until October 2012. The winner would have been announced in March 2013, and taken on the franchise from 21 July 2013 until the end of July 2028.[20] The new franchise would include the introduction of new Intercity Express Trains, capacity enhancements and smart ticketing.[21] The award of the franchise was again delayed in October 2012, while the Department for Transport reviewed the way rail franchises are awarded.

In January 2013, the government announced that the current competition for the franchise had been terminated, and that FirstGroup's contract had been extended until October 2013.[22] A two-year franchise extension until September 2015 was agreed in October 2013,[23][24] and subsequently extended until March 2019.[25][26][27] A further extension to April 2019 was granted in March 2015.[28]

The refurbishment of first class carriages in 2014 included interiors that featured a new GWR logo[29] and no First branding. The whole company was rebranded as Great Western Railway (GWR) on 20 September 2015 and introduced a green livery in recognition of the former Great Western Railway.[30][31] The new livery was introduced when HST interiors were refurbished, and on sleeper carriages and Class 57/6 locomotives.[32]

Routes[edit]

Great Western Railway is the primary train operator in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

Main line services[edit]

South Wales
Route tph Calling at
London Paddington to Cardiff Central and Swansea 2 Reading, Didcot Parkway (1tph, Cardiff trains), Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport and Cardiff Central. 1tph extends to Swansea calling at Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway, Neath and Swansea.
West of England/Bristol
Route tph Calling at
London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads 2 Reading, Didcot Parkway (1tph off-peak), Swindon, Chippenham, Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads.
Some services are extended to Weston-super-Mare and Taunton during peak periods, limited services are extended to Exeter St Davids, Paignton, Plymouth and Penzance.
West Country
Route tph Calling at
London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance 1 Reading, Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes, Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, Hayle, St Erth and Penzance.
Services include the Cornish Riviera and Royal Duchy expresses, which run non-stop between Reading and Exeter.
Oxford/Cotswolds
Route tph Calling at
London Paddington to Oxford 2 Slough, Reading (8tpd Monday - Friday, 10tpd Saturday and 16tpd Sunday) and Oxford
(For extension services see Peak / Limited services below)
Cheltenham Direct
Route tph Calling at
London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa 1tp2h Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa
Alternates with a turbo every other hour to give an hourly service between Swindon and Cheltenham Spa
Peak Only / Limited Services
Route tpd Calling at
London Paddington to Hereford via Oxford and Worcester 5 to Hereford
10 to Great Malvern
17 to Worcester
Slough, Reading, Didcot Parkway (3tpd Monday - Friday, 2tpd Saturday, All Services Sunday) Oxford, Hanborough, Charlbury, Kingham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Evesham, Worcester Shrub Hill, Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Colwall, Ledbury and Hereford. Combe, Finstock and Ascott-under-Wychwood stations are served twice a day (once in each direction Monday-Friday). Additional direct services to Worcester Shrub Hill are available via Cheltenham Spa.[33]
London Paddington to Carmarthen 1 (Mon-Sat)
3 (Sun)
Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway, Neath, Swansea, Llanelli, Pembrey & Burry Port and Carmarthen. Mon-Sat London bound train also calls at Ferryside and Kidwelly.
Swansea to Carmarthen (Saturdays only) 1 Llanelli, Pembrey & Burry Port, Carmarthen.
Swansea to Pembroke Dock (Summer Saturdays only) 1 (w/b only) Llanelli, Pembrey & Burry Port, Carmarthen, Whitland, Narberth, Kilgetty, Saundersfoot, Tenby, Penally, Manorbier, Lamphey, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock.
London Paddington to Pembroke Dock (Summer Saturdays only) 1 from London
2 to London
Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Newport, Cardiff Central, Bridgend, Port Talbot Parkway, Neath, Swansea, Llanelli, Pembrey & Burry Port, Carmarthen, Whitland, Saundersfoot, Tenby, Manorbier, Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. One train to London also calls at Lamphey, Penally, Kilgetty and Narberth,
London Paddington to Newquay

(Summer only)

1 Reading, Pewsey (Sunday), Westbury, (Saturday), Castle Cary (Monday-Friday and Sunday), Taunton, Tiverton Parkway (Monday-Friday), Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot (Monday-Friday and Sunday), Totnes (Monday-Friday and Sunday), Plymouth, Saltash (Monday-Friday), St Germans (Monday-Friday), Liskeard (Monday-Friday and Sunday), Bodmin Parkway (Monday-Friday and Sunday), Lostwithiel, Par and Newquay.
Plymouth to Newquay (Summer

Saturdays only)

1 (w/b only) Saltash, St Germans, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Par and Newquay.
London Paddington to Paignton 6 Either via Bristol TM or Berks & Hants line. Then: Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torre, Torquay, Paignton. One service each way calls at Starcross and Exeter St Thomas, and then skips Tiverton Parkway. Other services in the summer also call at Dawlish Warren.

Commuter and local routes[edit]

Great Western Railway operates commuter services between London and destinations such as Slough, Greenford, Reading, Didcot, Oxford, Newbury, Bedwyn, Hereford, Worcester and Banbury. There are also services between Reading and Basingstoke; between Reading and Gatwick Airport via Guildford and Dorking Deepdene on the North Downs Line; and between Bristol and Cardiff via Newport.

Trains also run on various north-south routes from Cardiff, Gloucester and Worcester to Taunton, Weymouth, Salisbury, Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton. Many of these run via Bristol. The company also runs trains on local routes including branch lines in Devon and Cornwall, such as the Looe, Newquay, Falmouth and St Ives branch lines in Cornwall; the Exmouth, Paignton and Barnstaple branch lines in Devon; and the Gunnislake branch line in Devon and Cornwall.

Thames Valley Locals
Line Route tph Calling at
Great Western Main Line London Paddington to Didcot Parkway 2 Ealing Broadway, Southall (London-bound only), Hayes and Harlington, West Drayton, Iver, Langley, Slough, Maidenhead, Twyford, Reading, Tilehurst, Pangbourne, Goring and Streatley, Cholsey
London Paddington to Reading 2 Ealing Broadway, Southall (Reading-bound only), Hayes and Harlington, West Drayton, Slough, Burnham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Twyford
Greenford branch West Ealing to Greenford 2 Drayton Green, Castle Bar Park, South Greenford
Windsor branch Slough to Windsor & Eton Central 3 shuttle
Marlow branch Maidenhead to Marlow 1 Furze Platt, Cookham, Bourne End
Regatta Line Twyford to Henley-on-Thames 2 Wargrave, Shiplake
Berks & Hants London Paddington to Bedwyn 1 Reading, Theale, Thatcham, Newbury, Kintbury, Hungerford
11 trains per day, giving hourly service for most of the day
Reading to Newbury 1 Reading West, Theale, Aldermaston, Midgham, Thatcham, Newbury Racecourse
Reading–Basingstoke line Reading to Basingstoke 2 Reading West, Mortimer, Bramley
North Downs Line Reading to Gatwick Airport 1 Wokingham, Blackwater, North Camp, Guildford, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdene, Reigate, Redhill
Reading to Redhill 1 Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Blackwater, Farnborough North, North Camp, Ash, Guildford, Shalford, Chilworth (1tp2h), Gomshall (1tp2h), Dorking Deepdene, Betchworth (1tp2h), Reigate
Oxford Canal Line Didcot Parkway to Oxford 2 Appleford (infrequent), Culham (infrequent), Radley (roughly hourly)
Roughly 1tp2h extended to Banbury, calling at Heyford, Tackley, Kings Sutton
Bristol & West Locals
Line Route tph Calling at
Severn Beach Line Bristol Temple Meads to Severn Beach 3tp2h Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Montpelier, Redland, Clifton Down, Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Avonmouth, St Andrews Road
Two trains out of three per 2 hours terminate at Avonmouth. All trains Bristol bound terminate at Bristol Temple Meads barring two services on a Sunday that terminate at Taunton. One train on Sunday forms Exeter St Davids - Avonmouth, another forms Taunton - Avonmouth and another runs Weston-super-Mare - Severn Beach.
Heart of Wessex Line Gloucester to Westbury 1 Cam and Dursley, Yate, Bristol Parkway, Filton Abbey Wood, Stapleton Road, Lawrence Hill, Bristol Temple Meads, Keynsham, Oldfield Park, Bath Spa, Freshford, Avoncliff, Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge
One train approximately every two hours is extended to/from Great Malvern (some of these services only run to/from Worcester). One train approximately every two hours is extended to Weymouth calling at Frome, Bruton Castle Cary, Yeovil Pen Mill, Thornford, Yetminster, Chetnole, Maiden Newton, Dorchester West, Upwey and Weymouth. Southward bound, a few services terminate at Frome and one is extended to Brighton. Northward bound, services can start at Frome, Weymouth, Westbury, Warminster, Brighton, Salisbury and Southampton Central terminating at Cardiff Central, Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Cheltenham Spa, Great Malvern and Gloucester respectively.
TransWilts Line Swindon to Westbury 1tp2h (roughly) Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge
One train per day extended to/from Frome; trains also use the Golden Valley Line between Gloucester and Swindon on extensions - one morning service from Gloucester to Southampton as well as a service to Cheltenham Spa from Westbury and one evening service from Cheltenham Spa to Southampton and another Westbury to Cheltenham Spa.
South Wales - Somerset Cardiff Central to Taunton 1 Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction, Patchway, Bristol Temple Meads, Nailsea & Backwell, Yatton, Worle, Weston-super-Mare, Highbridge & Burnham, Bridgwater
One train per day extends to Exeter St Davids, one to Paignton and one to Penzance. On Sundays, most trains start at Bristol Temple Meads and terminate at Taunton. At peak times, train stops at Bedminster and Parson Street additionally.
Bristol Parkway to Weston-super-Mare 1 Filton Abbey Wood, Stapleton Road, Lawrence Hill, Bristol Temple Meads, Bedminster, Parson Street, Nailsea & Backwell, Yatton, Worle, Weston Milton
Some services originate/terminate in Taunton, one per day originates in Exeter St Davids. Some services originate in Bristol Temple Meads when heading southward. On Sundays, this service doesn't exist. Instead there is a single Cheltenham Spa - Taunton service and a single Worcester Shrub Hill - Taunton service and a return Taunton - Bristol Parkway train.
Wessex Main Line / Portscar Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour 1 Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction, Patchway, Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Trowbridge, Bradford-upon-Avon, Westbury, Warminster, Salisbury, Romsey, Southampton Central, Fareham, Cosham, Fratton, Portsmouth & Southsea
Limited service at Patchway, Keynsham, Oldfield Park and Dilton Marsh. On Sundays Keynsham and Oldfield Park are regular stops for most trains.
Golden Valley Line Swindon to Cheltenham Spa 1tp2h Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester
This service alternates with a London - Cheltenham express service to give hourly service between Swindon and Cheltenham.
Devon Locals
Line Route tph Calling at
Avocet Line Exmouth to Exeter St Davids 2 Lympstone Village, Lympstone Commando, Exton, Topsham, Newcourt, Digby and Sowton, Polsloe Bridge, St James Park, Exeter Central
1tph reverses at Exeter St Davids and continues to Paignton. 1tph continues to Barnstaple
Riviera Line Exeter St Davids to Paignton 2 Exeter St Thomas, Starcross, Dawlish Warren, Dawlish, Teignmouth, Newton Abbot, Torre, Torquay
1tph reverses at Exeter St Davids and continues to Exmouth
Tarka Line Exeter St Davids to Barnstaple 1 Newton St Cyres, Crediton, Yeoford, Copplestone, Morchard Road, Lapford, Eggesford, King's Nympton, Portsmouth Arms, Umberleigh, Chapelton
1tph continues to Exmouth
Cornish Locals
Line Route tph Calling at
Atlantic Coast Line Par to Newquay 1tp2h Luxulyan, Bugle, Roche, St Columb Road, Quintrell Downs
During summer, local services are cut on certain days which are replaced by expresses to and from London which run non-stop between Par and Newquay.
Looe Valley Line Liskeard to Looe 1 Coombe Junction Halt, St Keyne Wishing Well Halt, Causeland, Sandplace
Maritime Line Truro to Falmouth Docks 2 Perranwell, Penryn, Penmere, Falmouth Town
St Ives Bay Line St Erth to St Ives 2 Lelant Saltings, Lelant, Carbis Bay
Tamar Valley Line Plymouth to Gunnislake 1tp2h Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux Victoria Road, Bere Ferrers, Bere Alston, Calstock

Named trains[edit]

Great Western Railway's named passenger trains include:[34]

Name Origin Destination Other details
The Armada Plymouth London Paddington Penzance on Westbound Friday service
The Atlantic Coast Express London Paddington Newquay Summer service
The Bristolian London Paddington Bristol Temple Meads Weston-super-Mare Eastbound only
The Capitals United Swansea London Paddington Swansea to Paddington early morning service does not call at Reading, Pullman restaurant service available 05.28 ex-Swansea (Mon-Fri Only)
The Cathedrals Express Hereford London Paddington None
The Cheltenham Spa Express London Paddington Cheltenham Spa None.
The Cheltenham Spa Express Cheltenham Spa London Paddington 16:20 Service CNM-PAD
The Cornishman Penzance London Paddington Westbound service additionally calls at Pewsey, Westbury & Castle Cary
The Cornish Riviera London Paddington Penzance Eastbound service does not call at Newton Abbot
The Devon Express London Paddington Paignton 07:30 Westbound only service. No return journey. Weekdays only
The Golden Hind Penzance London Paddington Westbound service additionally calls at Newbury and Totnes. Pullman Restaurant available (Mon-Fri) 06:53 Plymouth to Paddington serving Breakfast, 18:03 Paddington to Penzance serving Dinner.
The Mayflower London Paddington Plymouth Eastbound service does not call at Castle Cary and Westbury
The Merchant Venturer London Paddington Bristol Temple Meads/Weston-super-Mare Eastbound only
The Night Riviera London Paddington Penzance See Night Riviera
The Pembroke Coast Express[35] London Paddington Pembroke Dock Summer Saturday only
The Red Dragon[35] London Paddington Carmarthen None
The Royal Duchy London Paddington Penzance Eastbound service calls additionally at Tiverton Parkway & Taunton. Pullman Restaurant available on the 12:05 Paddington to Penzance (Mon-Fri only)
The Saint David[35] London Paddington Swansea Pullman restaurant service available 10:45 ex-London Paddington (Mon-Fri Only)
The Torbay Express London Paddington Paignton Westbound service via Bristol TM, Eastbound service via Castle Cary
Y Cymro — The Welshman[35] Swansea London Paddington 07:28 Eastbound only

Onboard services[edit]

Pullman Dining[edit]

Great Western Railway is the only major UK rail operator with restaurant cars. These operate on certain West Country and Wales trains to/from London Paddington and are available to First Class and Standard Class passengers, though only First Class passengers may make advance reservations and have priority over seats in the restaurant.[36] Meals in the restaurant car are not included in the price of rail tickets.

First Class[edit]

GWR has First Class on all its long distance high speed services. First Class on the IETs includes fabric upright seating with tables at every seat as well as an at-seat service provided by a customer host, on most journeys.[37] Unlike the previous HSTs, the IETs do not have leather first class seating due to fire regulations. Alike the HSTs, there are plug sockets and USB charging points at every seat. There is upgraded WiFi throughout the First Class carriages.[37]

Standard Class[edit]

Standard Class is provided on all services.

  • On the HSTs, coach C is the disabled accessible coach and coach A is the quiet coach. Coach F is also a non-reservation coach. Coach A also includes bicycle spaces as well as the train manager's office.
  • On the 5 coach IETs, first class coach E is the disabled accessible coach with no disabled accessible space in standard class. Alike the HSTs, coach A is the quiet coach. Coach B includes bicycle spaces.
  • On the 9 coach IETs, coach A is the disabled accessible coach as well as the quiet coach. Coaches B and J include bicycle spaces.
  • On the 10 coach IETs, first class coaches E and L are the disabled accessible coaches with no disabled accessible space in standard class. Coach A and G are the quiet coaches. Coach B and H include bicycle spaces.
Standard class interior on-board an Intercity Express Train (IET)

Trolley service[edit]

There is an at-seat trolley service on-board all IET services, with 2 trolleys on a 10 coach train in each portion. This is different from the previous HSTs, which had express cafes.

Performance[edit]

Punctuality[edit]

In 2004–2005, 79.6% of trains arrived on time (defined as within 10 minutes of their scheduled arrival time).[38] On 22 December 2006, the First Great Western InterCity service was declared the worst in Britain for delays, according to figures from the Office of Rail Regulation, with more than one in four trains running late.[39] First was also the only train company to achieve a year-on-year fall in performance results.[citation needed]

First Great Western admitted to misreporting the number of cancellations in the period from August to December 2007, revised figures showing the company to have breached the cancellation threshold in the franchise contract. Specifically the company was alleged to have deliberately cancelled trains on the day prior to service without the prior approval of the Department for Transport, and without recording these cancellations on their performance figures. The company was also accused of falsifying records in order to claim dispensation for large numbers of cancellations.[40] First Great Western was named in a Passenger Focus survey as the worst train operating company for 2007.[41]

On 6 September 2007 FirstGroup announced changes to its management structure, apparently designed to strengthen the First Great Western commuter services. Anthony Smith, head of the rail users council Passenger Focus commented, "A fresh management approach is welcome. Clearly, looking at the passenger satisfaction scores for First Great Western, the train company and Network Rail have a lot to do. However, passengers will believe it when they see improvements."[42]

GWR has some of the most overcrowded services on the network. Here, passengers at Bristol Temple Meads board a service for Cardiff Central.

Some delays are attributable to Network Rail rather than the operator, as the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) found in September 2007,[43] when it remarked that the First Great Western service continued "to suffer from very high levels of delays attributed to Network Rail" and described Network Rail's performance as "exceptionally disappointing".

By 2009, passenger satisfaction with First Great Western was described by Passenger Focus as having "significantly improved".[44]

The company is no longer the worst-performing UK rail operator, a title which it held for a long period. However, the Which? survey of rail passengers published in February 2013 showed the company scoring lowest of the larger operators with less than 40% satisfaction (Virgin, which topped the poll, managed 67%).[45]

The latest punctuality statistics to be released by Network Rail for period 7 of 2013/2014 were 89.3% PPM (Public Performance Measure) and a MAA (Moving Annual Average) of 88.8% for the 12 months up to 12 October 2013.[46]

Remedial Plan[edit]

In February 2008 the Secretary of State for Transport stated that FGW had "fallen persistently short of customers' expectations and been unacceptable to both passengers and government". She issued First Great Western with a Breach Notice for misreporting cancellations and a Remedial Plan Notice as a result of exceptionally high levels of cancellations and low passenger satisfaction. As part of the Remedial Plan Notice, First Great Western was required to achieve improvement milestones, to lease five more Class 150 units to allow three-car trains to be used on Portsmouth-Cardiff services, to undertake a much more extensive refurbishment of the Thames Turbo fleet, to offer 50% higher compensation for the duration of the franchise, to offer 500,000 more cheap tickets on off-peak services, and to improve station customer information systems. Failure to do this would result in FGW losing its franchise. FirstGroup's railway operating profit, meanwhile, was reported to have risen 10% in the six months to September 2007.[47][48]

Fake tickets distributed by protestors on 22 January 2007

By June 2009, FGW had transformed its performance to become one of the UK rail network's more punctual operators, recording 94.6% of trains arriving on time.[49] In February 2010 FGW was named Train Operator of the Year at the national Rail Business awards. Presenting the award, judges said, "First Great Western provides an extensive network of commuter, regional, local and intercity trains. The systems they have put into place over the last two years have made a significant improvement to the service they now provide."[50]

However, in February 2015 First Great Western came 17th (out of 21) in Which? magazine's Best and worst UK train companies survey. Customers gave First Great Western a score of 47% (compared to the worst performing operator, Thameslink and Great Northern, with a score of 43%, and the best performing operator, Grand Central, with a score of 76%). First Great Western also scored 3/5 stars across five of six specific categories, apart from Value for money in which First Great Western scored 2/5 stars.[51]

Overcrowding[edit]

Passenger numbers on Great Western Railway from 2010/2011 Q4 - 2016/17 Q3 (rolling 12-month figure)[52][53]

First Great Western has been criticised for overcrowded trains, and in January 2007 commuters on the Bath-Bristol service staged a protest against overcrowding. Participants were issued with imitation tickets printed with "Ticket type: standing only", "Class: cattle truck", "Route: hell and back", "Price: up 12%". The company threatened protestors with criminal prosecution and fines of £5,000, but staff failed to enforce ticket requirements.[54] Alison Forster, First Great Western's Managing Director at that time, apologised to customers.[55]

In January 2008 another fare strike was held as a passenger group said that not enough improvements have been made, despite First Great Western announcing that 2008 season tickets and car parking charges would be frozen until the end of the year.[56][57]

In August 2010 First Great Western was shown to have operated all of the top ten most overcrowded trains in England and Wales, mostly between Reading and London Paddington.[58] By December 2011, this had reduced to two.[59]

In 2011 First Great Western was revealed to be the train company with the highest levels of overcrowding: an average of 16.6% of passengers were shown to standing during the morning and evening peak times.[60] In 2012 it held the record for the most overcrowded train, carrying nearly twice its capacity, the 07:44 Henley-on-Thames to London Paddington.[59] Paddington, the London terminus for many FGW services, was identified as the most overcrowded station.[58] The company was also listed as the operator with the most passengers in excess of capacity in the south east region in 2012.[61]

Disabled passengers[edit]

In July 2018, a disabled woman was threatened by Great Western Railway staff with police action and removal from the train she was travelling in, for using a disabled space for her mobility scooter.[62] Canadian-born comedian Tanyalee Davis, who has a form of dwarfism, said she was humiliated when a Great Western Railway guard made an announcement that she was "causing problems" which had delayed the train. The incident occurred after a woman travelling with a young child demanded that Davis make way for her pram.[63] GWR said the incident should not have happened and “No one travelling with us should be left feeling like this".[64]

Strike action[edit]

The pre-imminent arrival of the new Class 800 saw a series of strikes by the RMT union over who has the right to control the doors, First Great Western as it was known at the time, wanted to replace guards with driver-only operation (DOO), however following several discussions it was agreed to keep guards on all IET services.[65] Another strike took place In early December 2016, amidst a background of ongoing rail strikes on a national level, the RMT ballotted Servest UK workers who were employed on an outsourcing contract to GWR as cleaners; the ballot passed in favour of strike action by 98%. A disruptive transfer period in the outsourcing contract, from Mitie to Servest UK, had resulted in what the RMT referred to as the creation of a "two-tier workforce" amongst cleaners at GWR, with an inequality in pay and working conditions between cleaners employed directly by GWR and those outsourced to Servest UK.[66] Two 24-hour strikes were held between 0600–0600 on 16–17 December and 23–24 December,[67] followed by a 48-hour strike between 0600 on 19 January and 0600 on 21 January 2017.[68] Further industrial action was suspended by the RMT following the January strike as a result of an improvement in ongoing negotiations between the RMT, GWR and Servest UK.[69] The dispute was formally resolved in July 2017 as RMT members voted in favour of accepting a new pay deal.[70]

Rolling stock[edit]

Great Western Railway inherited a fleet of InterCity 125 sets (Class 43 power cars and Mark 3 Coaches) and Class 57 locomotives and Mark 3 sleeper coaches from BR. In 2006, it inherited a fleet of Class 165 and Class 166 units from First Great Western Link, and a fleet of Class 143, Class 150, Class 153 and Class 158 units from Wessex Trains.

High-speed services[edit]

Class 800 Intercity Express Train[edit]

A pair of five-car Class 800s approaching Bath from Bristol

Most Great Western Railway intercity services are operated by a fleet of fifty-seven Class 800 trains, the first of which was introduced into passenger service on 16 October 2017.[71] Teething problems surfaced on the inaugural service, with a leaking air conditioning unit leading to the service running late.[72]

GWR operates most of its long-distance services between London and destinations such as Swindon, Chippenham, Bath Spa, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Swansea, Carmarthen, Cheltenham Spa, Oxford, Worcester Shrub Hill and Hereford, using these trains, which gradually replaced the older Class 43 (HST)trains between Autumn 2017 and Spring 2019. Class 800s may also be used for services to Paignton and Plymouth, although the majority of services to far southwestern destinations are operated using Class 802 trains which have higher engine power to cope with the steeper gradients in the south west of the country.

Class 802 Intercity Express Train[edit]

GWR operates most long-distance services between London and destinations in the west of the network (such as Paignton, Newquay, Plymouth and Penzance) using its fleet of thirty-six Class 802 trains, the first of which was introduced on 20 August 2018.

These trains are almost identical to Great Western Railway’s fleet of Class 800 trains, the only key difference being that the Class 802 trains have a higher engine operating power – 700 kW (940 hp) per engine as opposed to 560 kW (750 hp) – and are fitted with larger fuel tanks to cope with the gradients and extended running in diesel mode on the long unelectrified stretches in Devon and Cornwall.[73]

Class 57/6[edit]

Class 57 locomotive at St Philip's Marsh depot

Four Class 57/6 locomotives haul Night Riviera Sleeper services, and failed HST sets.[74] When these are unavailable, GWR hires Direct Rail Services Class 57/3 locomotives to operate the Night Riviera.[75]

Thames Valley / Bristol[edit]

Class 165/1 Thames Turbo[edit]

The Class 165 "Thames Turbo" is a two- or three-coach DMU used on shorter-distance services in the Thames Valley area, with the majority based at Reading Traction Maintenance Depot. They are mainly used on branches such as the Greenford branch line, Slough–Windsor & Eton line, Marlow branch line and Regatta Line. They are also used on services between Reading and Basingstoke/Newbury, Didcot Parkway and Oxford/Banbury and sometimes services between London and Bedwyn/Oxford. Some (eventually all) are based at St Philip's Marsh depot in Bristol, where they work on the most of the lines in the area including the Severn Beach line, Heart of Wessex Line, Golden Valley line and Bristol to Exeter line. From summer 2018, they are due to run on Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour services too.

In response to its Remedial Plan Notice, First Great Western undertook a more thorough refurbishment of the Thames Turbo fleet than originally planned:[76] the trains were to be fitted with improved lighting, carpets, toilets, and a revised seating layout.[77] This refurbishment started in September 2016.

Class 166 Thames Express Turbo[edit]

The Class 166 "Thames Express Turbo" is a three-coach DMU, similar to the Class 165 units but with an internal layout more suitable for longer-distance services. They are now mostly based at St Philip's Marsh depot in Bristol, where they currently work on the most of the lines in the area including the Severn Beach line, Heart of Wessex Line, Golden Valley line and Bristol to Taunton line. From summer 2018, they are due to run on Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour services too.

Class 387/1 Electrostar[edit]

The Class 387 "Electrostar" is a four-coach EMU built by Bombardier, with a 2+2 seating layout, tables, plug-sockets and free WiFi. It can be operated in four, eight and twelve-coach formations. The class began to enter service in September 2016 on weekday peak services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, using the overhead electrical equipment used by Heathrow Express. Services using the class were extended to Maidenhead in May 2017[78] and later to Didcot Parkway[79], and from Reading to Newbury.

Bombardier Transportation will modify twelve of these trains by December 2019 at Ilford Depot, providing new first class seating, wi-fi, luggage racks and on-board entertainment to operate Heathrow Express services, replacing the existing Class 332.[4]

West of England[edit]

Class 43 HST[edit]

A Great Western Railway Class 43 InterCity 125 passing Sprey Point

GWR’s Class 43 locomotives operate regional services from Cardiff and Bristol through to Penzance.

Until 2017, GWR operated the vast majority of their long-distance services with a fleet of 58 InterCity 125 sets,[80] each consisting of eight Mark 3 coaches between two Class 43 locomotives. GWR operated the largest InterCity 125 fleet, owning five sets outright; the rest were leased from Angel Trains and Porterbrook. From 2009 to 2012 (when Class 180s were reintroduced on the Cotswold line)[81] all the company's intercity services were worked by HSTs except the Night Riviera sleeper service between London Paddington and Penzance. From late 2017, following the completion of electrification from Hayes & Harlington to the west of England,[82] intercity services gradually became operated by Class 800 IETs, although a few peak services remained operated by HSTs until early 2019. GWR continued to use HSTs on services to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance until early 2019, when the majority were withdrawn in favour of Class 802 units, although a few full-length eight-carriage HSTs will continue to work some services between London and the South West until 18 May 2019.[83]

The youngest Class 43 locomotive dated from 1982. After a successful trial by Angel Trains and FGW in 2004, two power cars received new MTU engines while two received new Paxman VP185s, fitted by Brush Traction of Loughborough. The MTU engine proved the better option, both for reliability and for emissions, resulting in FGW, Brush and Angel Trains starting the HST Modernisation programme. The last power cars to be re-engineered were released in April 2008, while several other companies' HSTs have now all undergone a similar programme.[84]

GWR's High Speed Train fleet were refurbished by Bombardier in Derby and Ilford between 2006 and 2008,[85] with leather seats introduced in First Class, redesigned toilets, a redesigned buffet, and at-seat power points. The company opted for mainly airline seats, giving more seats per train.

Following the Southall and Ladbroke Grove rail crashes, GWR requires its HSTs to have Automatic Train Protection and Automatic Warning System safety systems in operation. If either is faulty, the train is not used.

Great Western Railway decided to retain 24 powercars and 48 carriages to form 11 four-carriage sets for use on local services between Cardiff and Penzance. These are progressively being fitted with automatic doors and controlled emission toilets, to allow their operation beyond 2020, at Doncaster Works.[86] As of April 2019, while the majority of full-length HSTs have been withdrawn from Intercity services, short HST sets are progressively being introduced on local services in the South West. This includes using unrefurbished slam-door sets due to a delay in the sliding-door sets.

Class 143 Pacer[edit]

143621 and 143620 near Dawlish after repainting in 2017.

First Great Western inherited the small fleet of seven two-coach Class 143 Pacer railbuses from Wessex Trains following the franchise merger in April 2006.[87][88] They are currently used on suburban services in and around Exeter. The Class 143 fleet was fully refurbished during 2008 and 2009, and painted in the same livery as the rest of the West of England fleet.[89] Since they are unable to meet an accessibility requirement, they will be withdrawn at the end of 2019 unless they receive an extensive refurbishment proposed by Porterbrook (who own the class 143s and class 144s).[90] The type is due to be replaced by Class 158 units, cascaded from the Bristol area.[91]

Some units have been repainted in the green GWR livery, without any interior refurbishment. The first unit repainted was 143603 in July 2017.

Class 150/0 Sprinter[edit]

In late 2011 the two original three-car prototype Class 150 Sprinter units (Nos. 150001 and 150002) were transferred from London Midland to work services on the Reading to Basingstoke Line, allowing the release of Class 165 and 166 units to reinforce other Thames Valley services.[92] They were transferred to West of England services in 2017.

Class 150/2 Sprinter[edit]

Refurbished and GWR-liveried Class 150/2 150247 at Bristol St Philip's Marsh depot.

The fleet of 17 two-coach Class 150 Sprinter units was inherited from Wessex Trains as part of the Greater Western franchise shuffle. The fleet had been refurbished by Wessex Trains in 2003, with 2+2 seating arranged in a mixture of 'airline' (face to back) and table seating. The fleet is widespread throughout the former Wessex area, and carried a maroon livery with advertising vinyls for South West Tourism. Each unit was sponsored by a district, town or attraction and carried a unique livery. Most received names of attractions, places and branch lines. Two units were repainted into the new First 'Local' livery, but all units are now due to receive the new green GWR livery. As part of a national fleet shuffle, eight units went to Arriva Trains Wales on 10 December 2006, and were replaced with 8 Class 158 units.

First Great Western received five extra Class 150/2 units in May 2007 as part of its Remedial Plan Notice, to enable three-car Class 158 trains to operate on the Portsmouth-Cardiff services.[76] Five Class 150 sets were hired from Arriva Trains Wales from March 2008 until they were returned in November 2010.

All of Great Western Railway's Class 150/2s are now based at Exeter TMD.[citation needed]

Class 158 Express Sprinter[edit]

Refurbished GWR-liveried Class 158 at Keynsham

The Class 158 is a two- or three-coach DMU used on regional express services in the former Wessex Trains area. In February 2008, as part of its Remedial Plan Notice, First Great Western announced that it would form some hybrid 3-car Class 158 units in March 2008, made possible by the transfer of five Class 150/2 units from Arriva Trains Wales.[76] There are now ten hybrid units in operation and, combined with the non-hybrid 3-car unit, this provides eleven 3-car units to operate services between Portsmouth and Cardiff, Great Malvern and Brighton, and Great Malvern and Weymouth. After the introduction of Class 150/1 trains from London Overground and London Midland, three of the remaining five 2-coach Class 158s will be reformed to provide two further 3-coach Class 158s.[93]

The fleet was refurbished in a programme begun in 2007,[94] which included fitting of reupholstered seats, new lighting and floor coverings, CCTV within the passenger saloons, and refurbished toilets. At the same time, the exteriors of the vehicles were repainted in the updated FGW livery, including artwork depicting various local places of interest. GWR's Class 158 vehicles were refurbished at Wabtec in Doncaster.[95]

GWR also hires a Class 158 (or occasionally a Class 159) from South Western Railway on a daily basis to cover for stock shortages. The units are crewed by GWR staff and usually work on Bristol area routes so that they can easily return to their depot in Salisbury.[citation needed]

In 2018 Class 158s will begin running alongside the first completed 'Short set HST' on services between Cardiff, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance. Gradually as more 'Short set HSTs' enter service on the route, the Class 158s will move onto local and cross-county services in and around Exeter.[citation needed]

Current fleet[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Coaches Routes
mph km/h
Commuter, regional and branch line multiple units
Class 143 Pacer Exeter St Davids - GWR 143621+143612 arriving from Exmouth.JPG DMU 75 120 8 2
  • Exmouth↔Paignton/Barnstaple
GWR Class 143 png.png
Class 150/0 Sprinter Creech St Michael - GWR 150002 Cardiff train.JPG DMU 75 120 2 3
  • Exmouth↔Paignton/Barnstaple
  • Cardiff/Bristol↔Penzance
GWR Class 150-0.png
Class 150/2 Sprinter Taunton - GWR 150247 on relief line.JPG DMU 75 120 19 2
  • Bristol↔Weymouth
  • Exmouth↔Paignton/Barnstaple
  • Cardiff/Bristol↔Penzance
  • LIskeard↔Looe (summer)
  • Par↔Newquay (summer)
  • St Erth↔St Ives (summer)
  • Truro↔Falmouth
GWR Class 150-2.png
Class 158 Express Sprinter GWR 158956 02.jpg DMU 90 145 2 2
  • Cardiff↔Portsmouth
  • Cardiff/Bristol↔Penzance
  • Brighton↔Great Malvern
  • Bristol↔Weymouth
  • Newton Abbot↔Paignton
13 3
GWR Class 158.png
Class 165/1 Networker Turbo Reading - GWR 165102 Basingstoke service.JPG DMU 90 145 20 2
  • London Paddington↔Oxford, Bedwyn, Worcester and Hereford
  • Reading↔Redhill/Gatwick Airport
  • Reading↔Basingstoke/Newbury
  • Reading/Didcot Parkway↔Oxford/Banbury
  • Twyford↔Henley-on-Thames
  • Maidenhead↔Marlow
  • Slough↔Windsor
  • West Ealing↔Greenford
  • Severn Beach Line
  • Great Malvern↔Bristol↔Southampton/Weymouth
  • Swindon↔Gloucester/Weymouth
  • Cardiff↔Portsmouth [96]
16 3
GWR Class 165 2.png
GWR Class 165.png
Class 166 Networker Turbo Express St Philip's Marsh - GWR 166214.JPG DMU 90 145 21 3
  • Severn Beach Line[97]
  • Bristol Parkway↔Weston-super-Mare[98]
  • Cardiff Central↔Taunton
  • Swindon↔Cheltenham Spa/Westbury
  • Great Malvern↔Bristol↔Southampton/Weymouth
  • Cardiff↔Portsmouth [96]
GWR Class 166.png
Class 387/1 Electrostar Maidenhead - GWR 387148+387135 departing for Paddington.JPG EMU 110 177 45 4[99]
  • London Paddington↔Reading/Didcot Parkway/Newbury
  • Reading↔Newbury
GWR Class 387.png
Inter-City and locomotives
Class 08 Long Rock Sidings - GWR 08410.JPG Shunting locomotive 15 24 8 n/a Stock movements in depots
Class 43

High Speed Train

Green HST at Cardiff Central (29469030424).jpg Diesel locomotive 125 200 49 8[a]



4[100]
London Paddington↔Hereford, Swansea, Carmarthen, Cheltenham Spa, Bristol Temple Meads,
Taunton, Exeter, Paignton, Plymouth and Penzance

Penzance↔Exeter/Taunton↔Cardiff Central
Mark 3 Coach Bristol Temple Meads - GWR Mk3 41146.JPG Passenger coach 125 200 464
GWR HST png.png
Class 255 Diagram.png
Class 57/6 St Philip's Marsh - GWR 57603.JPG Diesel locomotive 95 152 4 Varies[b]
  • Night Riviera London↔Penzance sleeper service
  • Exeter St Davids↔Penzance daytime service
Mark 3 Long Rock Sidings - GWR Mk3 RFB 10219.JPG Passenger coach 110 177 18
Class 800

Intercity Express Train

Bath Spa - GWR 800012+800031 Taunton service.JPG Bi-Mode Multiple Unit 140 225 36 5[101][102] London Paddington↔Oxford, Worcester, Great Malvern, Hereford, Cardiff,
Swansea, Carmarthen, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Cheltenham Spa, Taunton, Paignton[103]
21 9
GWR Class 800-0.png
GWR Class 800 3.png
Class 802 Intercity Express Train Exeter St Davids - GWR 802003+802007 Penzance train.JPG Bi-Mode Multiple Unit 140 225 22 5 London Paddington↔Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance [104][105]
14 9
GWR Class 802 0.png
GWR Class 802 1.png
  1. ^ High Speed Trains are formed with a Class 43 power car at either end. They may run with fewer coaches when required.
  2. ^ Locomotive-hauled Mark 3 coaches are generally formed of 7-9 coaches for the Night Riviera. They are hauled by a single Class 57.

Future fleet[edit]

In April 2018, GWR announced that they were procuring nineteen bi-mode dual voltage Class 769 units from Spring 2019 for use on Reading to Gatwick, Oxford and mainline suburban services to London Paddington to cover the loss of Class 387 units which will operate the Heathrow Express service.[106]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars per set Routes Built In service
mph km/h
769/9 Flex BMU TBC 19 4 Reading↔Redhill/Gatwick Airport
London Paddington↔Reading and Oxford[106]
2019 2019
GWR Class 769.png

Past fleet[edit]

A former FGW motorail carriage, seen at Penzance.


Class Image Type Top speed Number Withdrawn Routes
mph km/h
Commuter, regional and branch line multiple units
Class 142 Pacer Exeter St Davids 142068 153372.jpg DMU 75 120 12 2011
  • Exmouth↔Paignton/Barnstaple
GWR Class 143 png.png
Class 150/1 Sprinter Calstock 150127.jpg DMU 75 120 17 2018
  • Exmouth↔Paignton/Barnstaple
  • Cardiff/Bristol↔Penzance
  • Plymouth↔Gunnislake
  • Liskeard↔Looe
  • Par↔Newquay
  • Truro↔Falmouth
  • St Erth↔St Ives
  • Severn Beach Line
  • Heart of Wessex Line
GWR Class 150-0.png
Class 153

Super Sprinter

Exeter TCD - GWR 153377.JPG DMU 75 120 14 2019
  • Exmouth↔Paignton/Barnstaple
  • Cardiff/Bristol↔Penzance
  • Plymouth↔Gunnislake
  • Liskeard↔Looe
  • Par↔Newquay
  • Truro↔Falmouth
  • St Erth↔St Ives
  • Severn Beach Line
  • Heart of Wessex Line
Class 153 GWR.png
Class 180 Class 180 at London Paddington by Jeremy Segrott.jpg DMU 125 200 14 2017 London - Oxford/Worcester/Hereford

London - Bristol/Cheltenham

Locomotive-hauled trains were in use on services between Cardiff, Bristol, Taunton and Paignton from December 2008 until November 2010. These were Class 67 and Class 57 locomotives with Mark 2 coaching stock. They had one set of carriages initially, but a further set of carriages between December 2009 and October 2010. These services ran in the short term to cover for the unavailability of DMU trains. When sufficient DMUs were available following the transfer of 6 Class 150/1 sets from London Overground, the locomotives and coaching stock were withdrawn.[107] First Great Western issued a tender in May 2013 so that locomotive-hauled trains, or other train formations, can be operated on the Taunton-Cardiff route again, starting in December 2013. This would cover for its DMUs while they are off for refurbishment on Monday-Friday diagrams. If locomotive-hauled trains were to be used again, they would start four years after the final trains from the previous diagrams ran.[108]

Twelve Class 142 Pacer DMUs were received by First Great Western in 2007, starting operations that December. These were loaned from Northern (where they had been stored), in part to cover for refurbishment of FGW's Sprinter fleets but also to allow the Class 158s to be reformed as three coach sets. They were based at Exeter TMD, working alongside the similar Class 143s on services in Devon and Cornwall, including the Avocet Line, Riviera Line and Tarka Line. Five 142s were returned to Northern Rail in late 2008, following the completion of the refresh of Class 150 Sprinter units. The remaining seven units were returned to Northern Rail by November 2011 as they had been replaced by Class 150 units cascaded from London Overground and London Midland following the arrival of new Class 172 Turbostar units.

GWR's Night Riviera service also included the UK's last Motorail service, until that aspect was withdrawn at the end of the 2005 summer season due to low usage.

First Great Western previously leased 14 Class 180 Adelante units, operating on the Great Western Main Line, but following technical issues they were transferred elsewhere.[109][110] In 2012, five units were returned to First Great Western to operate weekday services on the Cotswold Line, allowing class 165 and 166 units to be reallocated to increase capacity on Thames Valley services.[81] The Class 180s left GWR during 2017 to join Grand Central.[111] The first left the fleet in June 2017;[112] the last transferred in December that year.

The 150/1s in the GWR fleet transferred to Northern in stages, beginning with the first three in August 2017 when their leases expired,[113] and ending in April 2018.[114]

Livery[edit]

HST in modified Great Western Trains livery with First Group logo and fader vinyls at Reading
A First Great Western Class 150 in the 'Local Lines' livery, worn by former Wessex Trains services

Great Western Trains adopted an ivory and green livery. Following the rebranding as First Great Western, fader vinyls were added to the ivory and a gold bar containing the stylised FirstGroup F and Great Western logos.[115] This livery was sometimes known as the 'fag packet' livery[116]

The rolling stock used on the Night Riviera sleeper service retained the original green and gold First Great Western livery until the stock forming these services was refurbished in 2007, when they were painted into 'dynamic lines' livery with vinyls advertising that the coaches operated the 'Night Riviera Sleeper'.

When the Class 180 Adelante units were delivered, they were painted in the intercity version of FirstGroup's corporate livery. This consisted of a blue base, with purple and gold bars and large pink Fs. The doors were painted white to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The HST fleet was repainted to match as they went through overhaul; however, the livery on the power cars has been altered, following problems with dirt build-up on the large white areas.[citation needed]

The new Greater Western franchise involved repainting the HST fleet into FirstGroup's 'Dynamic Lines' livery for intercity and commuter services in the former First Great Western and First Great Western Link areas. The livery was initially applied to the HST fleet as they went through refurbishment, although the Class 180 units did not receive the new livery due to the termination of their lease. The commuter units also received the new livery while receiving standard maintenance, as a refurbishment was not originally planned.[117] A second livery known as 'Local Lines' was applied to the DMU fleet, replacing the 'Dynamic Lines' with the names of local attractions forming a similar outline.[118]

The rebranding of the company as Great Western Railway introduced a new, dark green livery in September 2015, which will be rolled out across the fleet by 2018.[32]

Depots[edit]

Great Western Railway trains are based at eight depots. Other depots at Landore (Swansea) and Old Oak Common (London) closed in 2018.

Depot Nearest station Allocation Picture Notes
North Pole London Paddington 800, 802,
57, Night Riviera coaches
North Pole Train Maintenance Centre 2015.jpg Operated by Agility Trains
Reading Reading 08, 165, 387 Reading MMB 23 Reading Traincare Depot.jpg
Stoke Gifford Bristol Parkway 800 2018 at Stoke Gifford Depot - west end.JPG Operated by Agility Trains
St Phillip's Marsh Bristol Temple Meads 08, 43, 150, 158, 165, 166 St Philip's Marsh - towards West Junction.JPG
Exeter Exeter St Davids 143, 150, 153 2017 at Exeter TCD - shed (143603).JPG Depot is being enlarged
Laira Plymouth 08, 43 Laira - GWR 43198 and 08641.JPG
Long Rock Penzance 08, 43, 57,
Night Riviera coaches
2018 at Long Rock TCD - new depot west end (57604).JPG
Swansea Maliphant Swansea 800 2018 at Swansea Maliphant depot - from footbridge.JPG Operated by Agility Trains

Past Depots[edit]

Depot Nearest station Allocation Picture Notes
Old Oak Common London Paddington 08, 43, 57 2017 at Old Oak Common - HST shed.JPG Closed 8 December 2018[119]
Landore Swansea 08, 43 2018 at Landore Depot - maintenance shed.JPG Closed in 2018

TV documentary[edit]

Channel 5 broadcast two television series looking into day-to-day challenges of the Great Western mainline, including events at Dawlish (as well as the sea wall destruction), Cheltenham race day and rugby at Cardiff. It was broadcast as "The Railway: First Great Western" and the last series aired in 2015. A similar series based on London Paddington started in September 2017 and covered events such as the reaction to the Manchester and London Bridge attacks, and several days of severe disruption.

Future of the franchise[edit]

The franchise is due to end on 31 March 2020. In November 2017, the Department for Transport announced its intention to negotiate a further extension for the franchise until April 2022 with an option to extend for a further two years.[120][121]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/574792/december-2016-rail-franchise-schedule.pdf
  2. ^ "First Greater Western Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Station information". First Great Western. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b "GWR to manage Heathrow Express service". Railway Gazette. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  5. ^ Companies House extract company no 5113733 First Greater Western Limited
  6. ^ "The passenger train". The Guardian. London. 20 September 1997.
  7. ^ Railway Organisations Research Paper 99/80 House of Commons Library 20 September 1999.
  8. ^ "Rail takeover to benefit passengers". BBC News. 6 March 1998.
  9. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (7 March 1998). "Rail bosses cash in on privatised gravy train". The Independent. London.
  10. ^ Annual Report 31 March 1999. FirstGroup plc.
  11. ^ "It's First Great Western". Rail. Peterborough. Issue 346. 16 December 1998. Page 7.
  12. ^ "New Rail Franchise Begins" (Press release). First Great Western. 1 April 2004. Archived from the original on 16 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  13. ^ "FirstGroup wins rail franchises". BBC News. 13 December 2005.
  14. ^ "Award of The Greater Western & Thameslink/Great Northern Franchises" (Press release). FirstGroup. 13 December 2005. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  15. ^ Page from the franchise site using "First Great Western" as name. Archived 24 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "First Great Western bids for longer rail franchise deal". BBC News. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  17. ^ Milmo, Dan (13 March 2011). "FirstGroup may give up First Great Western franchise three years early". The Observer. London. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  18. ^ Haigh, Philip (18 April 2012). "First leads a field of seven bidding for rail franchises". Rail. No. 694. Peterborough. pp. 8–9.
  19. ^ "Great Western franchise to be extended". RailNews. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
  20. ^ "New Great Western franchise to deliver new express trains" (Press release). Department for Transport. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Weston-super-Mare to London rail re-franchise concerns". BBC News. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Rail franchising future programme" (Press release). Department for Transport. 31 January 2013.
  23. ^ "First celebrates last-minute Great Western deal". Railnews. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  24. ^ "First Great Western retains Wales and west rail franchise". BBC News. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  25. ^ "First Great Western offered new franchise deal". BBC News. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  26. ^ "FirstGroup wins Great Western contract extension". The Guardian. London. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  27. ^ "Updated franchise schedule signals GW extension". Railnews. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  28. ^ "FirstGroup's Great Western rail deal extended to 2019". BBC News. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  29. ^ "First Great Western unveils refurbished first class carriages – Business Traveller". 28 May 2018. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  30. ^ Benke, Mike (23 March 2015). "First Great Western extend franchise until 2019 - largest train fleet upgrade in generation". Swindon Advertiser. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  31. ^ "First Great Western to become a thing of the past as Great Western Railway launched". Wiltshire Gazette & Herald. Trowbridge. 20 September 2015.
  32. ^ a b "First Great Western unveils rebranded Great Western Railway trains". BBC News. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  33. ^ "London Paddington to Hereford Timetable (Great Western)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Named services". Great Western Railway. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  35. ^ a b c d "Great Western Railway Guide to train times 21 May to 31 December 2017, C1: London Paddington to Bristol, Cheltenham Spa and South Wales" (PDF). gwr.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2017.
  36. ^ Hargreaves, Clare (1 August 2014). "Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  37. ^ a b "First Class Train Travel and Tickets - Great Western Railway". gwr.com.
  38. ^ Posters displayed at stations as required by Passenger Charter
  39. ^ Clark, Rhodri (22 December 2006). "First Great Western's InterCity service the worst in UK with more than one in four trains late". Western Mail. Cardiff.
  40. ^ Milmo, Dan (26 February 2008). "First Great Western close to losing its franchise". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  41. ^ "National Passenger Survey Autumn 2007" (PDF). Passenger Focus. January 2008. p. 14. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  42. ^ Milmo, Dan (7 September 2007). "All change on the Great Western line". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  43. ^ Osborne, Alistair (12 January 2007). "Network Rail on probation over First Great Western delays". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  44. ^ "Official Statistics National Passenger Survey release". Passenger Focus. 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  45. ^ "Virgin trains top Which? train satisfaction survey for second year". Which?. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  46. ^ "Rail performance results period 7". Network Rail.
  47. ^ "Improving Performance on First Great Western". Department for Transport. 26 February 2008. Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Official release on contents of First Great Western's Remedial Plan Notice. See also The Scotsman, 27 February 2008, p. 38
  48. ^ "First Great Western Franchise" (Press release). Department for Transport. 26 February 2008. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  49. ^ "Train punctuality reaches new record high" (Press release). Network Rail. 22 June 2009. Archived from the original on 29 December 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2009.
  50. ^ "First Great Western voted train operator of the year". The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. Trowbridge. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  51. ^ "Best and worst UK train companies". which.co.uk.
  52. ^ Road, Office of Rail and. "Display Report - Office of Rail Regulation - National Rail Trends Portal". dataportal.orr.gov.uk.
  53. ^ "ORR passenger numbers by train operating company". ORR.
  54. ^ "Passengers in rush-hour protest". BBC News. 22 January 2007. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  55. ^ "Train company says sorry to users". BBC News. 24 January 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  56. ^ "Train operator sorry for service". BBC News. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  57. ^ "Fare strikers target rail service". BBC News. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  58. ^ a b Sedghi, Ami (12 August 2011). "Overcrowded trains: which are the most cramped journeys?". The Guardian datablog. London. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  59. ^ a b "Most overcrowded train services: Figures reveal top 10". BBC News. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  60. ^ "Rail overcrowding 'worsening' in London and South East". BBC News. 11 August 2011.
  61. ^ "London and south east overcrowding worsens". rail.co. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  62. ^ "Disabled comedian 'humiliated' on train". BBC News. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  63. ^ "Disabled comedian Tanyalee Davis rejects apology from Great Western Railway after 'humiliation'". ITV News. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  64. ^ "Disabled woman 'humiliated by train guard' with announcement over tannoy". The Independent. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  65. ^ "Rail strike to go ahead as talks fail". 21 August 2015 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  66. ^ "RMT confirms strike action by cleaners on GWR - rmt". rmt.org.uk.
  67. ^ Anonymous (21 December 2016). "I'm a cleaner on GWR trains. We're striking because we're treated unfairly - Anonymous". the Guardian.
  68. ^ "GWR Servest cleaners striking for pay - rmt". rmt.org.uk.
  69. ^ "RMT prepared to suspend strike action - rmt". rmt.org.uk.
  70. ^ "RATES OF PAY & CONDITIONS OF SERVICE 2017 – GWR - rmt". rmt.org.uk.
  71. ^ Topham, Gwyn (16 October 2017). "Delays and drips mark Great Western Railway's new train launch". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  72. ^ "Fault delays new high-speed train's first journey from Bristol to London". BBC News Online. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  73. ^ Cite error: The named reference todaysrailways was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  74. ^ "LOCO-HAULED FROM NEWQUAY: GWR Class 57". 13 July 2016.
  75. ^ "PressReader.com - Connecting People Through News". pressreader.com.
  76. ^ a b c "Chief Operating Officer Statement". First Great Western. 26 February 2008. Archived from the original on 1 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008. Report on First Great Western's Remedial Plan Notice[dead link]
  77. ^ "London & Thames Valley Refresh". First Great Western. 2008. Archived from the original on 14 November 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  78. ^ "Great Western electrification: London and Maidenhead link completed". BBC News. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  79. ^ "New Electrostar Commuter Trains". Great Western Railway. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  80. ^ Davy-Osborne, Stephen (4 October 2016). "GWR celebrates 40 years of HST". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  81. ^ a b "Adelantes return to Great Western". Railnews. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  82. ^ "Modernising the Great Western route". Network Rail. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  83. ^ Great Western Railway calls time on long-distance HSTs. Rail. Peterborough. 20 March 2019.
  84. ^ "MTU / HST Power Car Re-engineering Program". wnxx. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
  85. ^ "Bombardier awarded £138 million". The Engineer. 7 June 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  86. ^ "GWR to retain 11 HSTs for local services" Today's Railways issue 181 January 2017 page 67
  87. ^ "December 2004 magazine". Cardiff & Avonside Railway Society. December 2004. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  88. ^ "September 2006". Cardiff & Avonside Railway Society. September 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  89. ^ "Wabtec Rail delivers '143'". Rail Magazine. 31 December 2008. Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  90. ^ "Porterbrook unveils Pacer DMU life-extension demonstrator". Railway Gazette. 29 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  91. ^ Kelly, Jon (7 March 2016). "Pacers: The train that the UK has struggled to get rid of". BBC News. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  92. ^ "Return of Adelantes to First Great Western confirmed". RailNews. Stevenage. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  93. ^ "Class 158 Reformations, Customer Panel Meeting Minutes". First Great Western. 19 May 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  94. ^ "West Fleet Refurbishment". First Great Western. 2007. Archived from the original on 17 October 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  95. ^ "Preview of the first refurbished Class 158". TheRailwayCentre.com. 26 September 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2007.
  96. ^ a b https://www.globalrailwayreview.com/news/34608/modern-trains-new-technology-bristol-rail-passengers/
  97. ^ Ashcroft, Esme (3 July 2017). "New 'turbo train' fleet arrives in Bristol". Bristol Post. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  98. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2017. Retrieved 29 October 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  99. ^ Clinnick, Richard (30 August 2016). "GWR shows off the first of its new Class 387 EMUs". Rail. Peterborough. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  100. ^ "Trains being modernised to add to Cornish services". Cornish Times. Liskeard. 26 March 2018.
  101. ^ "First Class 800 'Super Express Train' arrives in the UK". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 161 no. 1369. Horncastle, Lincs. 1 April 2015. pp. 6–7. ISSN 0033-8923.
  102. ^ "GWR runs first bi-mode IEP Class 800 to Paddington". Rail. Peterborough. 29 June 2016.
  103. ^ "GWR runs first bi-mode IEP Class 800 to Paddington". Rail. Peterborough. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  104. ^ "New fleet of trains to bring better journeys to the south west" (Press release). Department for Transport. 30 July 2015.
  105. ^ "AT300 for the West of England". Hitachi Rail Europe. 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  106. ^ a b "Nineteen tri-mode Flex Class 769s for GWR". Rail. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  107. ^ "Taunton Trains Loco-Hauled Info". Taunton Trains. 27 April 2011. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  108. ^ "FGW offers £7 million loco-hauled contract". The Railway Magazine. 28 May 2013. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  109. ^ "Adelantes return to Great Western". Railnews. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  110. ^ "Wales loses new trains - again". Wales Online. 31 March 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  111. ^ "Grand Central to acquire five FGW 180s" Rail Magazine issue 759 15 October 2014 page 11
  112. ^ "Grand Central 180 Fleet Update". North East Coastliners. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  113. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/486668/red-fgw-franchise-agreement.pdf
  114. ^ "GWR Class 150/1's transfer to Northern Trains". Taunton Trains. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018. Great Western Railway Class 150/1s (which were originally inherited from Central Trains and Silverlink Trains) are now in the process of being transferred to Northern Trains.
  115. ^ "First Great Western rebrands its HSTs". Rail (Peterborough). Issue 360. 30 June 1999. p. 14.
  116. ^ "Great Western Railway". 125 group. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  117. ^ "The first unit to be reliveried 166220". 4 October 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2006.[permanent dead link]
  118. ^ Jonathon. "First Great Western 150249". Flickr. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  119. ^ Holden, Michael (9 December 2018). "Farewell Old Oak Common TMD (1906 - 2018)". RailAdvent. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  120. ^ The future of the Great Western franchise Department for Transport 29 November 2017
  121. ^ GWR responds to DfT announcement to extend GWR franchise Great Western Railway 29 November 2017

External links[edit]

Media related to Great Western Railway (First Group) at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
InterCity
As part of British Rail
Operator of Great Western franchise
1996–2006
Succeeded by
First Great Western
Greater Western franchise
Preceded by
First Great Western
Great Western franchise
Operator of Greater Western franchise
2006 – present
Incumbent
Preceded by
First Great Western Link
Thames franchise
Preceded by
Wessex Trains
Wessex franchise