First Great Western has embarked on a £63m overhaul of the interiors of its high-speed trains, in a move designed to weave the train operator’s brand through its fleet.
Transport specialist Jones Garrard Move is creating the new environments, which will represent the first major overhaul of First’s high-speed product when they are rolled out across 400 carriages towards the end of the year.
Key features include new seating throughout the trains as well as redesigned lighting, luggage racks, carpets, toilets and vestibules. The bar and buffet area has been entirely rethought to create an improved experience for both customers and staff.
‘When we started this, I told them we wanted to do something more than just a titivation, if you like, and they were happy to agree to that,’ says JGM founder Michael Rodber. ‘This is a standard vehicle and there are lots of fixed constraints, but I think the overall ambience will be markedly improved.’
The new carriages will also offer significantly improved disabled facilities and have enough space for an ‘at-seat’ trolley service.
First’s investment is an indication of changing times in the rail travel world, according to Rodber. ‘Train operators in the privatised market are becoming more sophisticated in how they express their brand,’ he says.
JGM was appointed without a pitch 18 months ago.