Latest Rail News


FGW considering hourly service from Wales to London with only one stop

First Great Western is considering hourly services from south Wales to Paddington with only one stop at Reading on the way.

Ben Rule, operations director at FGW, told a meeting of the Cardiff Breakfast Club that the new services were part of ongoing discussions for the next franchise from 2015 with the Department for Transport. The three-and-a-half year direct award, which would follow the current direct award that expires in September 2015, was granted last month.

The main thrust of the specification requirements for the direct award period have already been set out and currently there isn’t provision for any direct trains from south Wales to Paddington.

Rule said that while at an ‘idea stage’, there was potential for an hourly service from south Wales to London, with only one stop in at Reading before Paddington.

This is made possible because investment in the rail network in the south-west of England will provide for an additional train an hour to go through Bristol Parkway.

“We are running more High Speed Trains than at any time since the network was built, and quite considerably so,” Rule said. “We have also made timetable improvements and spend considerable time listening to stakeholders and customers.

“But we have to balance a number of different factors in terms of what people want on service frequency and stopping patterns with capacity and our ability to make the business pay by filling the trains up as much as we can.”

He added that the timetable for the next franchise would be confirmed next year and that discussions were continuing with the Department for Transport.

“We have done a lot of work on the franchise and there is lots more to do, but it really is an exciting time for railways in this part of world with faster trains and more capacity on the way on the back of a huge investment [electrification],” Rule continued.

“And while it is the biggest investment since Brunel we are conscious that we have some very big shoes to fill.”

RTM previously reported that First Great Western had won the contract extension through a directly awarded contract from the DfT. The decision was made to negotiate exclusively with the current franchise holder because it was thought it would be too disruptive to hold a competitive tendering process during the programme of electrification and delivery of new IEP trains due to take place over the next four years.

(Image: Kevin R Boyd)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Jak Jaye   21/11/2014 at 23:00

Story about Sth Wales and you prnt a photo of Penzance brilliant

RTM   24/11/2014 at 08:47

Updated with the correct photo

Add your comment



Rail industry Focus

  • 11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

    How the rail industry delivers the next generation of complex infrastructure will rely heavily on the people tasked with leading the projects, and the technology they use to do it. Faithful+Gould...
  • 11/09/2019Putting passengers first

    How does the rail industry design the railways for the next 40 years, and when it does, how do we make sure it’s all done with the passenger in mind? Jane Fisher joined three members of the Arup team...
View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

17/09/2019Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

Continuing our mission to connect buyers with suppliers, This year TransCityRail North is adding a new element to the event. We are introducing an incomparable opportunity for you to meet with over 11 procurement directors from Network Rail... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >