Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has announced a 15 year Great Western Franchise which will introduce new express trains for passengers.
Trains services will be based on the current timetable compared to the existing franchise which does not. Features of the express trains will be a fast train from London to Plymouth, which will meet the aim of the service ‘there and back in a day’.
Extra local services will also be part of the new franchise such as Truro to Falmouth, Par to Newquay and the Severn Beach Lines. Local schemes are expected to be passed to the department of Transport from 2015, which will give other transport needs in the area the chance to be improved.
The franchise will run from 2015 until 2028 which will enable the network to have better flexibility with regards to timetables, the use of connecting trains and calling patterns. It is hoped the franchise will be used in an efficient way, allowing for faster journey times and improved services for passengers.
Other areas that will be improved by the franchise will be additional capacity for passengers, smart card ticketing and passenger satisfaction targets.
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers commented on the latest announcement: “Passengers using the Great Western Line will benefit from major infrastructure improvements and new rolling stock over the next few years, as a result of the Government’s ambitious programme of rail improvements, including extensive electrification.
“For the first time on the Great Western franchise, we will be introducing requirements on passenger satisfaction for the train operator to meet which will mean they have to focus strongly on the issues that matter the most to passengers.
“Extending smart card ticketing across the franchise will also provide many more passengers across the West and South West with the kind of convenience Oyster has brought to Londoners.”
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By Amanda Bainbridge