BUFFET cars will be a thing of the past on First Great Western services when new high-speed trains launch in 2017.

The Hitachi trains will operate between London Paddington and Swansea, providing services for Swindon commuters.

As part of the change, FGW has revealed plans to stop buffet carriages and provide a trolley service.

A spokesperson said: “We will be offering hot and cold food and drink to standard class customers at their seats moving from the current buffet provision to a trolley.

“This follows in-service trials last year, which showed the vast majority of our customers felt a standard class trolley improved their journey with us.

“In the same trial, more than half of those who bought from the trolley said they wouldn’t have left their seat to buy something from the buffet.

“We will provide food and drink served by a member of staff on board every high speed passenger service with a journey time of more than an hour.”

Despite the change, the south west franchisee insists there are no plans to cut jobs with plans in place to hire more staff.

Transport union TSSA is sceptical of the decision.

“We are telling the passengers and staff that FGW have simply not been telling the truth about the ending of buffet cars for the past six months,” said union general secretary, Manuel Cortes.

“Senior sources at Hitachi have told us that there will be no buffet cars on the new service in two years’ time.

“There will be first-class dining for first-class passengers but the poor old infantry in standard class will have to rely on a trolley service.

“Four trolleys will offer microwaved sarnies but that will be worse than useless at busy times, like holidays and rugby internationals at Twickenham.

“They will not be able to cope with demand, it is as simple as that.”

Graham Ellis, of the TransWilts community rail partnership, which connects Swindon and Westbury, can understand FGW’s move.

He said: “A lot of passengers these days travel alone and are told not to leave their belongings unattended.

"So, for this reason and for fear of losing your seat, I can understand the removal of a buffet cat.”

The new trains are being introduced as part of the government’s Intercity Express Programme on routes between London Paddington and Oxford, Bristol and South Wales and form part of First Great Western’s plans to replace 40-year-old High Speed Trains on long distance routes.