2010-04-18

First Great Western Responds to Bath-Half Train Debacle



I complained about First Great Western, and here's their reply:
Dear Mr Locke

Your letters to the ORR and the DfT have been drawn to my attention. We did run additional special trains for the Bath Half Marathon. Three extra services ran in the morning, one from Swindon, one from Bristol and one from Westbury.

These extra trains were to be boosted by running the 1009 from Bradford on Avon as a four car unit. This did not happen. This was not due to a lack of planning by the Special Events team, but was due to an error made by our Control team. They misread the unit allocation and brought a two-car unit out instead of a four car. This is not acceptable and is being addressed.

I can fully appreciate your annoyance and disappointment. This was not the service we planned and I apologise.

First Great Western have made significant progress in improving our customers’ experience on our trains. Performance is at record levels and we have been able to improve capacity and comfort on the West of England trains. This makes this sort of mistake even more galling.

I am determined that we do better and you have my assurance that this mistake is one that will not happen again.

Yours sincerely


Mark Hopwood
Managing Director
FIRST GREAT WESTERN
I'm pleased that FGW appear to take this seriously. What I'd really like though is a separate railway line from Trowbridge to Bath, and then there'd be proper choice and competition! In the absence of that, we have to rely on the regulator to apply pseudo-competitive pressure. How can they do that if complaints go first to the operator, and may not get seen by the regulator?

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