First Great Western have been one of the main sources of my rage these past few months. Let me list a few reasons why. They run a truly abysmal service. Trains are frequently late, and I don’t mean just by 2 minutes or so, I mean by 10 minutes or more. Seeing as I use the trains mostly to get to college, and have to catch a connecting train, a mere 3 minute delay to my first train can then fuck up my whole day and make me 45 minutes late for college. [Which then in turn, affects my EMA. If I’m late, I don’t get any. How am I then supposed to afford the extortionate train ticket prices? I have asked this question lots of times and have never received an answer. Also, thanks to Cameron cutting EMA from £30 to £20 a week for the poorest students, because they apparently squander it, “you want to travel to college? how dare you waste your money in such a manner!” I will now have no money left over for college materials, as the whole £20 a week will go on train tickets. But that’s an angered rant for another time.] FGW never apologise for these ridiculous delays. Of course you get that automated female voice across the grainy tannoy “We’re sorry for the delay” but that means nothing to no-one. FGW never make any effort to make it seem like they are truly sorry. There’s never a “Oh, man, we screwed up, here’s a days complimentary travel” or, “We are truly sorry for ruining the days of everyone who uses our service, here’s an on-time train to prove we’ve seen the error in our ways” That’ll be the day, huh? The issue of horrendous delays then leads me onto the ticket price. To get to college, I need two stops. Two. The journey overall takes about half an hour, just because I have to wait for the connection. If the trains were one after the other, it would take 15 minutes. But I have to pay the best part of £4 for this journey. This delayed journey. This two stop long journey. £4. I’m using these trains to get to my place of education, but of course, I can afford to waste £4 daily on a crap service. Of course. It’s my pleasure. If I wanted to get to Reading from my local station, that itself is the best part of £8. That’s a 20 minute long journey. And it would cost me £8. Am I the only one who’s starting to think these prices in no way match the service that FGW provides? And the BEST bit of it all? They want to raise the prices further! Yes! Rob more money from the public in exchange for a shoddy service! Steal ALL the paychecks! That seems to be the FGW way of thinking. £761.2m worth of profits in 2010 obviously is no-where near enough. The other thing that really pisses me off about FGW, is their staff. They are all rude. All of them. The only nice FGW staff I have ever come across is the cleaners on the trains. All the ticket attendants - especially the one at my local station - are grumpy and rude. They offer you no help when you need it, but are quick enough to humiliate you if there’s a problem with your ticket. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m on a high horse here, I’m not one of those people who believes that the “customer is always right” because the majority of the time the customer is in-fact a moron, but I am using your service and the least you could do for me is keep a civil tongue in your head. I’m a young girl, usually travelling on my own. I don’t need to be mocked by men who’ve let the power of being able to kick people off the train go to their head. I don’t need to be talked down to. I don’t need to be scowled at. I’ll treat you with respect, so you can do the same for me. I’m going to start taking the names of the people I run into, and start reporting them. I once had a gang of ten men surround me because I couldn’t produce my ticket within the first ten seconds, as it was at the bottom of my bag. They were like vultures, it was a sickening sight. It needed one man to deal with it. I wasn’t making a fuss. I wasn’t kicking off. I was just looking for my ticket. I don’t need ten men surrounding and staring, thanks. The thing about FGW is that when you write to them about these problems, do you know what you get? An impersonal letter that basically says “Thanks for writing, but erm, there’s nothing we can do, so put up with it.” Well do you know what, FGW? I’m fucking sick of putting up with it. You try to take advantage of me again, and you will fucking hear about it. Something needs to be done about this. The trains should never have been privatised, as it’s now treated more like a business rather than a service for the people, which is entirely wrong. But I guess we have Thatcher to thank for that. Well done, Tories, it’s another winner.
Thanks to Densha from JNS Forum for bringing to my attention the fact that some of the the trains I see everyday, First Great Western’s HSTs, have actually featured in an anime that’s currently airing!
The anime is Kiniro Mosiac, a slice-of-life series about an English girl, Alice, and a Japanese girl , Shinobu, who become friends after Shinobu stays with Alice’s family for a home stay visit to the UK. The story then skips a couple of years and Alice moves to Japan to stay with Alice.
When Shinobu visits the UK in the first episode, you get to see Paddington Station and the First Great Western HSTs in action. I live near the Western Main Line myself and it really is a strange feeling to see something that’s so familiar from everyday life in an anime!
Just uploaded some lovely pics from Good Friday down at Banbury.
As Reading was closed, all First Great Western trains in and out of London were diverted via the South West Main Line out of Waterloo. Or from Paddington up the Chiltern Mainline and turn around at Banbury to head back south, onwards to Bristol, Swansea and the South West.
Here are a few shots from as busy two and a half hours late on in the morning of the 29th.