New IETs drive record satisfaction levels for GWR

Great Western Railway IET
Credit: GWR

New figures show a 9% improvement in customer satisfaction with regional train company Great Western Railway.

This is the pay off, of an investment of new trains, additional staff along with a more reliable infrastructure.

At an all-time year high, customer satisfaction has risen to 87%. It is a 9% improvement on last year’s autumn results with local train operator Great Western Railway, according to the National Rail Passenger Survey from independent passenger watchdog, Passenger Focus.

GWR has attributed the figures to the continued hard work of their colleagues throughout the business as their work towards delivering improvements for customers throughout the region begins to pay off.

The company has recently introduced two new fleets of trains over the last 18 months, this included its Intercity Express Trains on long-distance services and Electrostar trains in the Thames Valley, which have provided on estimate 25% more seats on some routes.

The official figures show that customers reported not only an 9% increase in overall satisfaction but a 12% improvement in reliability; an 8% increase in the availability of seating (level of crowding); an 4% increase in the comfort of seating and a 11% increase in the space for luggage, as GWR’s modern bullet-style trains have entirely replaced 43 year-old slam-door style trains.

The report shows GWR has also improved in the provision of information on board, a key driver of customer satisfaction; on carriage temperature and higher cleanliness of the train fleet.

Along with replacing the fleet of trains on long-distance routes, GWR is now operating new electric trains in London and the Thames Valley, some of the trains running up to as many as 12 carriages, providing a significant increase in seating capacity.

Fieldwork for the NRPS Spring 2019 report was conducted during February and March. Since GWR train performance has continued to improve and now the public performance measure (the industry measure of daily train punctuality) is now over a staggering 90%.

What did the officials have to say?

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“We have promised the biggest upgrade in a generation on the Great Western route; and in the last two years we have been working hard to deliver just that – with new fleets of trains, more staff, and more modern and improved track infrastructure.

“I am delighted that this hard work is starting to pay off. Not only are our customers enjoying the benefit the new trains are bringing, but their experience has become the norm, reflected today in our best ever overall satisfaction scores.

“The work doesn’t end there. In December this year we will launch a new timetable and the biggest change on our network in 40 years, making the most of our new fleets to bring even more frequent services, offering more seats and quicker journeys.”

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Emma Holden avatar
I have been around trains at heritage railways all my life. In particular, the narrow gauge trains in Wales, and spent many Duncan days at the Talyllyn Railway when I was younger. I have been a volunteer author for RailAdvent since 2019
  • Have they modified the cycle hangers so that you can actually hang a bike up? Not currently suitable for modern deep rim cycle wheels.

  • I prefer the older trains, because at least I won’t get trapped when reaching my stop because someone wants a coffee, the new trains are crowded, uncomfortable, irritating and where has the leg room gone, oh btw more then 2 people use bikes so why only have 2 bike spaces, the old trains had plenty of space.

    GWR please get some common sense and make trains good again.

  • The GWR Class 800 and Class 802 IETs have better acceleration that the Class 43 HSTs+Mk3 which makes them the best rolling stock that GWR have first ordered. Aswell the Class 387 Electrostars that is used on the Thames Valley services (London Paddington-Reading-Didcot Parkway and Reading-Newbury).

  • Proof that statistics can be used to prove anything. I drive them and have heard nothing but negative comments from passengers and staff. I know a few people who have stopped using trains because the seats are so uncomfortable. The trolley service is impractical and takes forever to get through while offering less variety than the buffet. The formations also cause problems, i.e. the 5 car units are too small and when formed into 10 car sets require extra staff because you can’t walk through to the next unit. This also causes problems at short platforms where on occasion, the entire rear unit is locked out. The trains themselves are poorly designed having a poor ride, being susceptible to wheel slip and slide, the engines overheat in warm weather and frequently fail. The GPS controlled selective door opening system is unreliable causing delays to opening doors and there are countless other faults that should have been ironed out during testing, especially as they are a pretty old design anyway.The cab ergonomics are surprisingly poor and the cab is cramped despite taking up a huge amount of space.
    GWR management will hype these trains because they have them now and are stuck with them and of course because they are costing lots in extra staff and delays, nobody will be held accountable for the mistakes made. Frontline staff will have to take the complaints from passengers and make them work as best they can.

  • The new IET in South West are awful. They may have more seats which are very uncomfortable, but no where to put luggage, the bike space is a joke and no buffet, just a poor trolley that can’t get through train or move from one set to the other when 2 sets are joined. The people responsible at department of transport need sacking for imposing these trains on us.

  • I’ve stopped using the rail network entirely, I last went to see a friend in Penzance and had the relative comfort of an HST, I’ve heard so many complaint about the new stock & had a quick look in them and thought better of it.

    It’s the car for me now or fly if it’s long distance, the rail network is a complete shambles with so called “new & improved” trains which are unreliable and cramped, a network that doesn’t give you fast journey times anymore (it’s quantity over quality) and I’m not prepared to use something that’s akin to a circus.