Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Review: GWR Timetable booklet

Another new series, 'Review:' where I'll post reviews of timetables and things like that!

This one is a review of the GWR timetable booklet, available from the ticket office at Paddington for £5. My first impression is that it looks very smart, with the front and rear covers being mainly green, having uniform text and a very green photo to match!
When you turn to the first page, you are greeted by a 'Welcome to GWR' note on the thicker cover page and the contents on page 1. Turning to the next pages (2 and 3), there's  a very handy timetable index, showing which timetables are on which page and a section telling you about new trains and train upgrades. There are then many pages telling you about changes to train times, how to contact GWR, all the websites you can use (including national ones) to view timetables and a page about pocket timetables. Engineering works feature on the next page, before a few pages tell you about buying tickets and then there's comprehensive information over 10 pages about how to get to the station, including airports, ports and bus stops at every GWR station. Safety information is, obviously, compulsory and the station facilities pages are brilliant, telling you about the ticket buying facilities, staffing hours and if there are toilets, a car park or a bike rack! A very nice touch for enthusiasts especially is the many pages about their trains, including seating arrangements and naming (e.g. The Torbay Express, The Mayflower etc.) and the list of heritage railways in their area of operation. There are then many more contact details, including ones of other operators, before a great little section on how to read timetables (for the less experienced train traveler!) It then launches into the timetable abbreviations and what they mean, before bombarding you with the station index. This lot is good though, better than not having the information! There's then a lovely little map of the Eastern area times.

After this, on page 73, the timetables start. Now, I'm not going to talk much about these, I'll leave you to see for yourself, but they are very comprehensive and give you everything you need to know, including many connecting services and services not operated by GWR (which most companies don't usually do). There's a Central area map, which is the same style as the others, on page 191 and then the Central area timetables start coming, before there finally being a Western area map on page 315 and the shorter section of the Western area timetables are shoved into your brain! These continue all the way through to page 408. On the back cover, there's a tube map... But something I bet some people don't realise is that the tube map folds out and reveals a map of all GWR services, including their timetable numbers!

All in all, this booklet is great. It has barely any downfalls and is definitely worth the £5. They are individually numbered and the person selling them has to go through a very long process, giving the date and signature to show they've each been sold - so don't buy one if you're in a hurry! However, if you're in the West London area, I definitely recommend heading to the ticket office at London Paddington and asking for an all GWR £5 timetable booklet!

Tomorrow I'm going round London to all the working PERTIS machines, expect a post on Friday!

Hope you enjoyed,

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