First Great Western

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First Great Western (FGW) is a UK train operating company (TOC), owned by the First Group. FGW serves Greater London, South Wales and the South East, South West and West Midlands regions of England and its London terminus is Paddington. FGW uses diesels, mainly HST and DMUs. As part of the 21st century modernisation of the Great Western Main Line, large parts of the FGW network are to be electrified using overhead lines.

FGW operate a large number of routes including long-distance, commuter belt and regional services.

Long distance services include:

  1. London Paddington to Swansea via Reading, Bristol Parkway and Cardiff Central with some services continuing to Carmarthen and, in the summer, to Pembroke Dock
  2. London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads via Reading and Bath Spa with many services continuing to Weston-super-Mare
  3. London Paddington to Plymouth via Reading, Newbury and Exeter St Davids with some services continuing to Penzance. A few services travel from Exeter to Torquay and Paignton and in the summer some operate directly to Newquay
  4. London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa via Reading and Gloucester
  5. London Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill via Reading and Oxford. Many services continue to Great Malvern and a few carry on to Hereford

Commuter belt services operate in London, the Thames Valley and South East England:

  1. London Paddington to Greenford - this is the only FGW branded service operated entirely within London
  2. London Paddington to Reading via Ealing Broadway, Hayes & Harlington and Slough. At Paddington these services are often designated as "Twyford", the penultimate stop. This is done to help passengers wishing to travel to Reading to use the much faster non-stop services between the two - these are the generally the long-distance services listed above
  3. London Paddington to Bedwyn via Reading and Newbury. Some of these services originate and terminate in Reading
  4. London Paddington to Oxford via Slough and Reading. Some services offer multiple stops in a similar fashion to the Reading services and, in like fashion, are often listed as "Radley" services. Others call just at Slough, Reading and in some cases Didcot Parkway on their way to Oxford
  5. Slough to Windsor & Eton Central - this operates as a shuttle service
  6. Maidenhead to Marlow - this usually runs as a branch service with some peak-hour services running through from Paddington to Bourne End with Marlow being reached by a shuttle from there
  7. Twyford to Henley on Thames - the Regatta Line also operates through services from Paddington during peak hours
  8. Reading to Basingstoke
  9. Reading to Redhill and Gatwick Airport via Wokingham, Guildford, Dorking Deepdene and Reigate. Services terminating in Redhill call at many of the smaller stations along the route while Gatwick trains take in only the larger stations
  10. Oxford to Bicester Town

FGW also operate the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington and Heathrow Terminals 1,2 and 3 in conjunction with Heathrow Express. This service calls at various stations along the way, principally Ealing Broadway and Hayes & Harlington.

Regional services operate in South West England, the West Country and south Wales:

  1. Cardiff Central to Portsmouth Harbour via Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa and Southampton Central - the Wessex Main Line. On Sundays some services operate to Brighton instead
  2. Cardiff Central to Taunton via Bristol Temple Meads and Weston-super-Mare
  3. Swindon to Cheltenham Spa via Gloucester with some services continuing to Worcester Shrub Hill - the Golden Valley Line
  4. Swindon to Westbury via Melksham
  5. Bristol Parkway to Weymouth via Bristol Temple Meads - the Heart of Wessex Line
  6. Worcester Shrub Hill to Bristol Temple Meads via Gloucester
  7. Bristol Temple Meads to Avonmouth and Severn Beach - the Severn Beach Line
  8. Exeter St Davids to Exmouth - the Avocet Line
  9. Exeter St Davids to Barnstaple - the Tarka Line
  10. Exeter St Davids to Paignton - the Riviera Line
  11. Plymouth to Gunnislake - the Tamar Valley Line
  12. Liskeard to Looe - the Looe Valley Line
  13. Par to Newquay - the Atlantic Coast Line
  14. Truro to Falmouth - the Maritime Line
  15. St Erth to St Ives - the St Ives Bay Line
  16. Plymouth to Penzance - the Cornish Main Line

Some of these routes are combined to form run-through services.

FGW use a wide variety of equipment on their services including:

  1. Class 43 High Speed Trains (HSTs) with Mark 3 coaches on the long-distance services
  2. Class 165 and 166 Network Turbos on the commuter belt routes and those into Worcester from London - the Class 166 units are used on longer routes and are nicknamed Network Turbo Expresses
  3. Various diesel multiple units (DMUs) on the regional services, including Class 143 Pacers, Class 150 and 153 Sprinters and Class 158 Super Sprinters
  4. Class 180 Adelantes on London to Worcester services

FGW also operate one of the last remaining sleeper services in the UK, the Night Riviera between London and Penzance. This service is run with a Class 57 locomotive and Mark 3 carriages.

FGW's long-distance and commuter belt fleets are currently painted in the Dynamic Lines livery, which features wavy lines set on a purple background. The regional fleet is in a similar Local Lines livery in which the names of popular attractions in the areas served form the lines.

N Gauge Models

The following N gauge models are currently available (2013)

  • Dapol Class 43 HST First Great Western
  • Dapol Class 153

Graham Farish Class 57 "Totnes Castle"


First Great Western Website