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Worst Late Western – GWR new trains a farcical investment


Worst Late Western, as my dear ex-Editor used to refer to them..

..and I always felt being a little unfair. Having travelled back and forth to London for many years on due duty for IFA magazine, I always felt a little comfort in getting onto the return train, after the mad dash at Paddington when they finally announce 30 seconds before departure which platform 350  tired and disconsolate commuters have to jump and cram themselves onto..

But at least when squeezed on, delighted that you found a seat god-knows how many carriages away from your travelling companions you actually were away from (Jeremy Corbyn take note, this is a genuine occurrence every day from 4pm onwards..), you were happy with a reasonable seat and the knowledge that past Reading you could squeeze to the buffet car for an overpriced bite to eat and drink. Via the usually clean and reasonably serviced toilets. I guffawed at those who rallied for the continental rail system and our apparent disparity..

No pun intended, but Nick Train, the incredible fund manager of Lindsell train, once told me that his simple investment philosophy (or part of) was that if you, or a friend, tasted, felt or experienced something you liked, one should invest, as the chances were, other people would feel the same and likely a successful bagger (you can see a great interview with Nick Train HERE).

So, I can only imagine GWR have gone for the opposite approach with their new trains. Hitachi German production was initial pr disaster, when the first train took its maiden journey it leaked and broke down and finally, my first trip on the new looking one has been utterly miserable.

Not just because of the car hitting the bridge and 45 minute delay outside Reading. But more because of the complete disappointment in the new train and services – a complete anti-climax.

It’s like the designers/owners have looked at the worst of virgin trains and tried to make them the pinnacle and best element of the new GWR efforts – digital displays for seat availability, old fashioned and grossly inefficient trolley service, etc etc

I found it particularly insulting that the trolley never reached us in the end, as we were in the last carriage before the hostess had to get off!! (don’t worry first class, you had sarnies paraded before me and straight through to you, which was particularly galling…).

Anyway, for anyone travelling on the, I admit, nice looking-from-the-outside trains, please amuse yourself with my following eye-spy travel game for GWR’s new rolling stock. Spot and tick off:

  • Garish grey and lime green interior from 1993 (?)
  • Patio funiture level cheap plastic seats
  • Carpet thinner than graphene
  • Doors not working to allow you on to train in first place (maybe an omen)
  • “wifi open, no internet”

And finally: Wifi!! Invest in this trains!! – take one lesson from this article, scrap your £240,000, 000 in high speed nonsense to get us to Manchester 8 minutes quicker and just get wifi sorted so everyone can be entertained or work!! Constant requests to log in to GWR wifi, which is then unavailable, reminding you of dial up internet days, is just annoying.

If investing in GWR, get out now. Not advice, merely following natural common sense. If advising, I’d advise you to drive..