GWR and Network Performance — [Mr Clive Betts in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Doughty Stephen Doughty Labour/Co-operative, Cardiff South and Penarth 9:30 am, 5th February 2019

Indeed—nor does it make sense for the environment and reducing carbon emission, which we all know is crucial. I feel quite sorry for the GWR staff at times, because they do an incredible job and work very hard. When speaking off the record, they are often just as frustrated about the lack of training and support that they are given. They often have to deal with complex problems, such as failures of the new rolling stock, when they have not been given adequate support to do so.

I will mention some of those particular problems. On the new trains, there have been door failures. We get frequent complaints about the seats, which are supposedly ergonomically designed but are some of the most uncomfortable seats someone could ever sit on. As for catering, we were told that they were going to get rid of the buffet cars on the London to Cardiff services, but that was not what passengers wanted. Often, a trolley with no hot water comes through, and it will only go through half of the train—that is if it can get through the train because, of course, if the train is overcrowded, it cannot. There have been issues with train safety systems failing, with the reservations system simply not working, as well as generator problems caused by the fact that bi-modal diesel and electric trains are running more on diesel because of delays to electrification. As a result, the engines sooted up and failure rates rose.