First Great WesternFirst Great Western train service is focused on providing both its regular customer and the visiting traveller an experience of confidence in its reliable train service. First Great Western is dedicated in providing efficient, flexible, and a quality service with a commitment to its community.
First Great Western History
Starting in 2006, First Great Western partnered with First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains with train services covering the rail networks of London, Pembroke dock, Penzance, Banbury, Hereford, Worchester, Brighton, Gatwick, and Carmarthen. There are 276 stations offering a variety of connection features.
Features of First Great Western
High Speed Trains: The high-speed inter-city services links London to South Wales, includes travel through Cotswolds and the South West.
Commuter Service: Both local and leisure services are provided through the M4 corridor. Routes include Thames Valley, Newbury, and Oxford with frequent and fast services. The South West is also part of this service which includes the longer commute routes from Cardiff to Portsmouth.
Sleeper Service: Linking London to the South West this service offers a restful sleep in the First Great Western refurbished sleepers. Trains are scheduled to depart Penzance at 22.00 and arrive in London Paddington at 5.11 the following morning.
Scenic Rail Lines: The beautiful journey from coast to countryside includes both city and country views with trains running regular connections on the mainline and branch routes.
Airport Connections: Trains run directly to Heathrow, Southampton, and Gatwick Airports. Coach and bus services will help connect you to Exeter Airport, Bristol and Cardiff International, providing the connivance in one transaction when purchasing both train and coach or bus tickets.
Types of Trains
153 trains operate on short distances for routes through the West of England.
High Speed trains operate on longer distance for routes on the mainline.
Night Riviera Sleeper train operates between London and Penzance with overnight service that offers a comfortable good night sleep.
• London Paddington
• Bath Spa
• Bristol Parkway
• Bristol Temple Meads
• Cardiff Central
• Didcot Parkway
• Exeter St Davids
• Dawlish and Teignmouth
• Henley on Thames
• Looe and Liskeard
• St Austell
• St Ives
• Twyford and Maidenhead
• Weston Super Mare
Following the requirements of the 2008 Nationals Rail’s Simple Fare, there are three common options for you to choose from, Advance, Off-Peak, and Anytime. First Great Western offers several travel options for starting your adventures.
Advance Ticket Option – Consider this lower price ticket if you are planning a longer trip. There are a limited number of Advanced Tickets available. The Advance Tickets are sold on a first come first serve basis.
Off-Peak Ticket Option – This type of ticket will provide you away to avoid the busy commute times and will give you access to all Off-Peak Train services. You will have the option to purchase an Off-Peak Day ticket that can be used on most local journeys, is available for a single and return ticket, but must be used on the travel date selected. For an even greater value consider the Super Off-Peak Ticket, where several destinations with a Single fare can be purchased at half price.
Anytime Ticket Option – This ticket has no time or train restrictions, offers flexibility, and can be purchased anytime. Some restrictions include Single or Return travel being valid only for the date purchased. In addition, the Return ticket will be valid for one month but may be used anytime during that month.
Business Ticket Option – This ticket offers the business traveller free seat reservations. Both business standard and first class tickets may take advantage of the Anytime Ticket, providing the same flexibility, with no time restrictions. As a business traveller, you will have the following additional options and access to first class facilities when selecting First Great Western:
Anytime Tickets, London Day Travelcards, Executive tickets, First Class Lounges, and Business Direct.
Season Ticket Option – If you are a regular traveller of the First Great Western, looking for a flexible ticket with no time or train service restrictions this is your option. Season Tickets provide five choices to increase your discount on trips you regularly take. Consider Rail Only, Travelcard, Train Bus Combined, Car Parking Passes, and the Annual Gold Card for your season ticket choices.
Weekend First Ticket Option –Your first class experience is available when travelling during Saturdays, Sunday, or Bank Holidays. With a Weekend First Ticket, you can purchase a ticket to first class, providing first class accommodations, by adding £5 to £20 to the cost of your standard ticket. This added cost is based upon the chosen zones of travel:
Zones 1are £5, Zones 2 are £10, Zones 3 are £15, and Zones 4 or 5 are £20.
Group Travel Ticket Option – If you are travelling with a group of four or more Group Travel Tickets will offer additional savings on your First Great Western journey. Adults travelling with children can save during OFF-Peak travel with the GroupSave program. There are dates and travel restrictions, verify terms and conditions before booking your GroupSave tickets. Groups of 10 or more offer adults a savings of 26% and children between 5 and 15 travel at half of the adults standard fare.
Railcards – You can save 1/3 off your standard ticket by purchasing a Railcard. There are five choices when purchasing a Railcard. Some time restrictions, proof of age, and form completion requirements may apply. Railcards options include:
• Family and Friends Railcard, offers savings with the purchase of an adult ticket and 60% savings on standard class child ticket.
• 16-25 Railcard, which also includes savings for the full time students, 26 and over.
• The Senior Railcard is for the adult 60 years or older.
• The Network Railcard is for the regular South East traveller and costs £25.
• Disabled Persons Railcard is for disabled adults and children costing £18. The same Disabled Persons discount is available for one adult accompanying the disabled passenger.
• Cotswold Line Railcard offers savings for travel between any two Cotswold Line stations. These discounts are available on Mondays thru Fridays with Off-Peak fares, with Saturday, Sunday, and Bank Holidays offering all service discounts.
Combined Rail and Admission:–If you are planning to attend an attraction in the First Great Western region, then leave your car at home and let First Great Western do the driving. Some Combined Rail and Admission tickets include a bus transfer from the station. Travelling by train to your favourite attraction will provide you a savings on your full price admission ticket.
Attractions discounts include the following:
• Royal International Air Tattoo
• Explore -At-Bristol
• Bristol Zoo Gardens
• Legoland Windsor
• Eden Project
• Bodmin and Wenford Railway
• City Sightseeing Tours Oxford
• City Sightseeing Tours Windsor
• Newbury Races
• The South Devon Railway
• STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway
BritRail for International Travellers: – If you are an overseas traveller to the UK, a BritRail pass or point-to-point ticket will offer special discounts providing an economical way to see the UK. Residents of the UK can also receive the benefit of using this pass by having a matching BritRail Guest Pass purchased at the same time. This will provide the guest and the UK resident a savings of 25%.
Online: You can purchase your tickets directly from First Great Western using their easy and clear online instructions, by phone or mail. Other ticket purchase options include the Trainline.com, an independent retailer offering traveller’s savings since 1999, and Raileasy found at Raileasy.co.uk, a National Rail accredited website for all your travel needs.
Automatic Ticket Machines: The bright blue ticket machines are at designated locations for a fast easy way to collect your tickets purchased online. Your tickets will be ready for collection from the Automatic Ticket Machine 2 hours after you have order them. Collection of your ticket will require a Credit Card and your FastTicket reference provided at the time you booked your travel.
Eurostar: First Great Western has partnered with Eurostar to offer passengers a through fare to travel to dozens of Continental destinations from a choice of 68 UK stations. This ticket will allow the purchaser to buy one ticket to cover their entire trip. The Eurostar journey starts at St Pancras International and offers immediate travel. Destinations can include:
• Disneyland Resort
• French Alps
Oyster Cards: The Oyster Travelcard offers travel between Nation Rail stations within the Travelcard fare zones on the date your card is valid. Oyster cards are a pay as you go type of card that can be used on a few National Rail routes. A separate purchase of an extension ticket will be required if travelling outside of an authorized fare zone. The Oyster card can also be used on the bus, tram, DLR, and the tube. Purchases of the Oyster Card can be done on-line with tickets picked up at the self-service ticket machines.
Train Fares and Time Tables
There is an extensive list of departure and arrival times, in addition to offering duration of travel on a particular route, available directly from the First Great Western booking site. Also listed are ticket options including monthly and annual ticket offers.
Real Time: The real time train departures and arrivals can be obtained by viewing live station boards though the First Great Western online dropdown menus. Live Departure Boards provided by National Rail Enquires help the passage with train monitoring.
JourneyAlert: When you signing up for JourneyAlert, First Great Western will provide you with free text or email service, notifying you of any route disruptions, cancellations, or alterations.
Live Updates: First Great Western’s goal is to ensure its passengers safety and convince. First Great Western offer detail updates for line incidents and current service disruptions through JourneyCheck. Live network updates can also be accessed through your RSS feed.
Passes or Tickets on Rail Europe
Rail Europe, operating since 1930, is the leading authority of train travel in Europe. They can provide you with the appropriate ticket no matter your destination. A special feature about Rail Europe is their advanced booking systems that will allow passenger the ability to reserve multiple services. Tickets and passes can be purchased by phone or online with Rail Europe
2 for 1 Offers: Vouchers can be downloaded for a wide range of offers including discounts for selected restaurants, theatres, hotels and attractions. You can claim an unlimited number of offers and visit the featured destinations as many times as you would like. These discounts are subject to change and availability and exclusions may apply.
Club 55: Provides savings up to £20 for travellers 55 years and over. Tickets are valid for Off-Peak travel and a Senior Railcard is not required. Your return ticket will stay valid one month from the date of your outward-bound ticket. During the promotional period, you can purchase tickets as often as you would like.
BTE Discount Cards: The BTE discount card will give you 20% off food and drink at most facilities inside the railway stations.
SuperBus Ticket: If your plans are to spend time in Bristol, purchase a free bus ticket offering destinations to Bristol Parkway or Temple Meads. This is a limited time offer and the type of train ticket you have purchased may cause restrictions.
Greyhound Coaches: Services run between London, Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth, with each coach offering free Wi-Fi, complementary newspaper, and ample legroom.