Train Review: Great Western Railway (Second Class)

Great Western Railway

Great Western Railway (also known as GWR) is operating several train services in the United Kingdom, as the name suggests mostly in the West and South-West of the country as well as in London. The Great Western Railway Second Class sadly leaves a lot to be desired. Not only are the trains relatively old, but the seat pitch is horrible. Read more about the GWR Second Class in our extensive train review!

There are quite some train companies in Great Britain, meaning that there is a lot of competition. On most routes operated by Great Western Railway, you can also choose a different train company like Arriva, Crosscountry or South Western Railway. Sadly, the competition doesn’t really make the Great Western Railway Second Class any better.

Seating in the Great Western Railway Second Class

I’m used to quite a lot of different trains and had the “pleasure” of rides in the ICE Second Class (Germany), the EIC Second Class (Poland) and many more. Nevertheless, I was surprised that the Great Western Railway Second Class comes with such a tight seat pitch.

Great Western Railway Second Class

Great Western Railway Second Class Coach

Even the Economy Class on most airlines offers more seat pitch than Great Western Railway does. While the coaches as such look relatively modern (there are different types of trains, yet all were refreshed at some point), the trains are relatively old in many occasions.

As nearly all routes are operated with Diesel trains, the rides are not very smooth and silent either. The seats as such are reasonably comfortable and the tables are a nice touch as you can at least get some work done or watch a movie.

Great Western Railway Second Class

Seat Pitch in the Great Western Railway Second Class

Nevertheless, I personally find the seating in the Great Western Railway Second Class to be not very comfortable.

Food in the Great Western Railway Second Class

Something else I found rather depressing in the Great Western Railway Second Class is the fact that there is no bistro or restaurant car in nearly all trains. This basically means that you can neither buy any food or drinks. Occasionally, somebody with a cart passes the coaches and sells a couple of snack items (pre-packaged things like chips) as well as drinks. Sadly, the coffee offered is just powdered. Plus, you need to be lucky to get anything offered as I didn’t recognize any cart on more than half of my recent Great Western Railway Second Class rides.

Entertainment in the Great Western Railway Second Class

There is no complimentary entertainment available in the Great Western Railway Second Class. Moreover, there’s no option to purchase magazines or newspapers inside the train. This means that you need to make any purchases prior to boarding if you want to stay entertained during the journey.

Great Western Railway Second Class

Sadly, there’s not really any entertainment in the GWR Second Class

Something positive about the Great Western Railway Second Class is the fact, that most trains come with Wi-Fi. The prices for usage are quite reasonable and the plans available are convenient for one time and frequent users alike. The Wi-Fi speed differs depending on where the train operates and how many customers use the Wi-Fi, but is generally rather bad.

Bottom line Great Western Railway Second Class

The Great Western Railway Second Class tickets happen to be quite cheap if you book them in advance. However, you pretty much get what you pay for. I’d be a little shocked about what the Great Western Railway Second Class offers if I’d hold a flexible ticket.

Great Western Railway Second Class

The lavatories at GWR are not especially clean

The seats are reasonably comfortable, but the seat pitch is way too tight. The lack of food and entertainment offerings is another weakness of the GWR Second Class. At the same time, the Wi-Fi service is worth a positive mention. If you get a cheap ticket, the Great Western Railway Second Class is an okay way to get from A to B. Not more and not less.

 

Find more train reviews in our “Specials” section!

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5 Comments on “Train Review: Great Western Railway (Second Class)

  1. Pingback: Looking Back | travelux

  2. Sorry to hear you did not like Standard Class. FGW are my main route and I have always found it quite comfortable. If you prefer to sit in First a top tip would be to get on a Pullman service and have a meal in the restaurant car. You pay for a standard class ticket but sit in the First Class restaurant car for the duration of your meal. You can also get weekend upgrades to First for as little as £7.50.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Barrie, I’d say that the GWR Standard Class is quite weak compared to other trains in Europe. Yet, the First Class is incredibly good. I just had a ride from Exeter to Reading and just loved it. Definitely the most comfortable way to get around GB. Thank you very much for the tips. I’ll definitely give it a try (especially the weekend upgrades) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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