First Great Western and the flooding. Not a problem.

Come hell and high water, First Great Western gets me home – again.

For the last 5 years I’ve been travelling weekly between London and Plymouth. No matter what the weather or fate has thrown at them, First Great Western has never failed to get me to where I was going. When things beyond the company’s control happen – like snow, floods or even someone determined to commit suicide under one of it’s trains – FGW responds by honouring its commitment to get people to the final station they were originally heading. In some cases, in the snowy dead of night, FGW has taken me right to the front door.

Tonight, as the ‘cancelled’ signs started popping up on the departure board at Paddington, instead of joining the baying mob pressing around the long-suffering advisors at the ‘Information’ desk, I went straight to Twitter and my ‘old mate’ Ollie who, on certain days, is ‘@First_GW’ or ‘@FGW’. It was obvious that Ollie was – and had been for some time – dealing with thousands of panicked people, all wondering how they were going to get home.  With a Tweet rate in the hundreds-per-minute, he was responding to a barrage of questions with information and reassurance, explaining to each individual what their options were. This was great great customer service: immediate and specific to the customer’s situation.

Ollie told me that I could get to Taunton on the 19.45. He couldn’t confirm if buses would be laid on from there to Plymouth but the departure board and station announcer at Paddington could. The train took me to Taunton where I got on a coach to Exeter. At Exeter, a train was waiting to take me to Plymouth.

I’m home again thanks to everyone at FGW.

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