An East Coast spokesman said it has no intention of getting rid of guards - though the maintenance and buffet car
issues are matters for whichever company takes over the franchise when it is re-privatised.
These new Hitachi trains have been explicitly commissioned by the Government to allow the sacking of on-board staff, the axing of buffet cars and have left a question mark hanging over the future of the existing maintenance depots.
A First Great Western spokesman said that there are currently no plans to remove buffet cars from trains, and highlighted to the return of Pullman dining services in South Wales.
Demonstrations will be held today at stations in Cardiff and Kings Cross in London, when rail travellers will be urged to join the union's campaign against any move for driver-only operation and the removal of buffet cars
and their replacement by a trolley service.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union has written to the Government saying it will ballot for industrial action if guards and buffet cars are not retained on the new Hitachi fleet, set to be introduced on First Great Western services.
The union said that under the Intercity Express Programme signed off by the Government, the new fleet - built in Japan and reassembled in the North East by Hitachi - has the capacity to run on driver-only operation, would strip out buffet cars in favour of more seats.
The railway company said that only one passenger in eight uses the 35-tonne buffet car and that removing it would speed up journey times by as much as eight minutes.
The buffet car is part of value added, but it's not essential.
The franchise deal allows First to axe buffet cars
from high-speed services under 200 miles.
THE buffet cars
on British trains are rarely bastions of gourmet delight.