First Great Western

Agency: Jaywing

Jaywing tell us how they delivered a scalable, responsive website with an enterprise level CMS for rail operator First Great Western 


First Great Western is one of the country’s largest train operators, running over 9,000 services a week and covering a network of over 250 stations.

Their existing website, whilst award-winning at launch, was feeling the strain of six years of additional development and content. So we were asked to create a new website that would provide customers with an improved online experience, making it easier to plan journeys, check fares and purchase tickets.


Back in 2011, responsive design was still in its infancy. But as we anticipated a substantial increase in mobile browsing in coming years, we championed a ground-breaking responsive design.

The need to update a data heavy site on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis also demanded an enterprise level CMS that would be robust enough to cope. In addition, it needed to deliver world-class insight, allow for complex multi-user access levels and be able to scale with the aim of real-time personalisation. And with each department having differing levels of comfort with technology, simplicity was the key.

Sitecore was the obvious choice, delivering flexibility, scalability and simplicity as well as long-term affordability and sustainability.


At launch, there was an immediate 87 per cent increase in traffic going straight to the booking engine. With fewer clicks required to purchase tickets and content displayed clearly to help direct users through to specific areas of the site, the average time spent on the site has dropped by 48 per cent.

Since the site launch in 2011, mobile traffic to the site has doubled. But rather than suffering a drop in visits or high bounce rates from this change in browsing behaviour, because the site was already responsive, First Great Western has seen an impressive increase in engagement with page views and pages per visit both up two-and-a-half times, and a modest increase in visits.

The site was awarded Silver in the Travel and Tourism website category of the W3 International awards.