Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/4333
Written by courgettelawn on Friday, 16th March 2007

I have just been on the phone to FGW customer services about a refund that I never received for a cancelled train back in January.  I was transferred to the refunds department who could not find anything on the system but then went on to say that as Salisbury is a South West Trains station it is nothing to do with them.  I explained that the service which runs from Salisbury to Southampton is run by FGW and therefore they are obliged to make the refund.  I had even used their pre-addressed envelope and their own comments form in which I enclosed my tickets.  I was then told that they were the accounts department and that I needed Customer Services.  I explained againt that that is the phone number I had telephoned and was put through to her.  She said they only deal with refunds submitted from FGW stations.  I said again that I posted it the refund claim to them using one of their own envelopes and comments forms. 

They are now going to phone me back...  :-[

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/4335
Written by Fat Cat on Friday, 16th March 2007

Don't worry, we have a "consumer champion" on the Board now - see the attached link:

I love two things about this:

1) His comment : "First Great Western has a good reputation for listening to its customers and stakeholders and I like that in a company"????????????????????????????????????????????

2) His other "consumer" involvement - Post and Water - hardly paragons of consumer satisfaction.

Jobs for the boys - a member of the establishment, can be relied upon to see FGW in the best light. We need to bombard this guy with complaints and quick, he needs to know the real story, not the FGW spin.

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/4339
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Friday, 16th March 2007

[quote author=Fat Cat link=topic=1641.msg4335#msg4335 date=1174047103]
"First Great Western has a good reputation for listening to its customers ..."

Actually, I'm inclined to agree with him.

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/4341
Written by Fat Cat on Friday, 16th March 2007

I could get into a philosophical discussion on the meaning of "listen", but I am agreement with your diagnosis of FGW's attitude to customer input. On the Kennet Valley line, we seem to have won some sort of improvement - a reinstated last train from Reading and increased capacity on an early morning peak service. However, whether individually (through customer services), or collectively (through local newspaper advertisements) we hear lots of promises about how much FGW care, and how much they are doing to improve the service, but see no evidence of this on the ground. My issue is that this appointment will be presented as yet more "listening" by the company, when in fact the individual, as I think you are saying yourself, will be used as a conduit for positive news about FGW.

Incidentally, the improvements I refer to above, seem to have been obtained by intense lobbying not least by the Newbury M.P. (Richard Benyon). He has shown short shrift to FGW management since December 2006, and it seems to have worked. (Incidentally I didn't vote for him.) I think him having a relatively small majority has in this case been of some benefit to constiuents.

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/4348
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Saturday, 17th March 2007

[quote author=Fat Cat link=topic=1641.msg4341#msg4341 date=1174064129]
My issue is that this appointment will be presented as yet more "listening" by the company, when in fact the individual, as I think you are saying yourself, will be used as a conduit for positive news about FGW.

Yes, I fear that's how "more listening" will turn out to be used, to the exclusion of an appropriate reaction to the inputs.  I hope I'm wrong; I have no objection to hearing more general positive news in addition to news, answers and actions based on my inputs.

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/4865
Written by courgettelawn on Wednesday, 18th April 2007

By the way... no one ever did telephone me back.  I'm just about to send another complaint to them regarding the canceled 07.37 Salisbury to Southampton (defective unit).  I will enclose a letter outlining the problems I've had with my previous complaint that was left unanswered.  Let's see how much they listen. 

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/5058
Written by courgettelawn on Tuesday, 1st May 2007

I finally received a letter back yesterday regarding the unanswered complaint.  They offered as a "goodwill gesture" to send me some rail vouchers if I telephoned them to say how much the ticket was.  I duly telephoned this morning and got to speak to the same person who sent the letter.  She was very pleasant and ammenable but kept reiterating the goodwill gesture aspect of the refund...

They also sent me

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/5066
Written by admin (Graham Ellis) on Wednesday, 2nd May 2007

I'm not a great lover of the "compensation society" but at times I do feel that our TOC screw it up so much / badly that they should be chased for a refund ... especially as such chasers bring matter to their attention and hit them a little inthe pocket. It probably costs them more in admin cost than you get back ... the poor service and current big customer service operation is probably somehing they hadn't budgetted for

From a couple of comments I've noted, there are definitely different rule sets for getting recompense - depening on who you are, who you write to, and whether you've got the capacity to generate publicity.

Re: FGW Customer Services ??? - 1641/5180
Written by courgettelawn on Friday, 11th May 2007

I agree with your sentiments.  It's probably 'cost' me more in time and aggravation to chase this up but as you say it all helps to keep their attention so worth chasing.   

link to index of articles

Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

This site is hosted by Well House Consultants Ltd. (
Contact Information

Further Information:
 Current Summary
 Daily update
 User forum
 Service now
 Service future
 Future Analysis
 Recent Statistics
 Recent letters
 Letter to DfT
 Save the train
 Support us
 Other Maps
 Station facilities
 Station approach
 Trains diverted
 About Melksham
 Site Map
 About this site