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21.09.15

Great Western Railway announces timetable changes under new brand

First Great Western has been rebranded as Great Western Railway (GWR) as it brings along a series of timetable and livery changes to its fleet.

The move draws inspiration from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s legacy and adopts the same name as the original company that built and operated the line – but offers a “modern adaptation” of its 182-year-old heritage’s look and feel to “inspire a new identity”.

New trains, uniforms and the phased three-year introduction of a dark green livery – the same as that shown in CGI images of the Hitachi AT300 fleet procured to serve Devon and Cornwall – will be central to GWR’s change, alongside an “improvement package” developed jointly with the Department for Transport.

The ‘package’, which will upgrade the whole of the Great Western Main Line, includes the previously-announced 29 new bi-mode long-distance trains to serve the south west from 2018. The £360m fleet, set to run between London and Cornwall, will be manufactured by Hitachi and can operate on both non-electric and electric routes.

The new trains are set to slash the average age of the operator’s fleet by more than half.

Mark Hopwood, managing director, said: “This investment represents a historic milestone for us and so it was a perfect opportunity to launch the Great Western Railway once again. We are committed to improving the journeys of our passengers, as well as the economic prosperity and social footprint of the regions and communities we serve.

“It’s a new dawn for our railway and we’re excited to be at the helm.”

GWRClick on the image to enlarge it.

A “major” timetable change in December 2018 will also result in quicker journeys across the route by reducing travel times between South Wales, Bristol and London. Travel time to Bristol will be shaved by up to 17 minutes and Cardiff up to 14 minutes.

The new services will also see more direct trains to Devon and double the number of trains in and out of Cornwall, supported by an extra 100 customer-facing staff and ‘customer ambassadors’ at key stations to personally help passengers.

GWR commissioned Brunel’s great, great, great grandson, graphic artist Isambard Thomas, to help promote the brand’s transformation. The 51-year-old unveiled a limited edition print of the line following an event at Bristol Temple Meads on 7 September, and called it a “great honour” to work in a project so close to Brunel’s heart.

The brand has already changed its Twitter handles to ‘GWR UK’ and ‘GWR Help’, the former showcasing the brand changes and the latter announcing delays and cancellations on the route.

Recent government guidance on franchise naming and branding, for example in the Northern Invitation to Tender, urges operators to consider "the overall costs and benefits of branding including, where practicable, enhancing the Franchise brand so that it could be used in successor franchises, as well as limiting the costs of de-branding at the end of the Franchise". 

Comments

Al   25/09/2015 at 08:53

So after spending all this money on new trains, flashy re-branding and electrification we still won't be back to the fastest times of the late 70's early 80's where the quickest Cardiff to London Journey time was 1hr 33 minutes, it's infrastructure re-modelling that's required, not hoping that new electric trains faster acceleration will do the job

Mikeb   04/10/2015 at 20:40

It is noted that, if a franchise changes hands, every train and station has then to be rebranded and, undoubtedly, new stationery ordered and websites changed. This a wasteful operation and in order to save money therefore, surely, Mr McLoughlin must decree that, with the agreement of all concerned, a permanent name for each franchise should be adopted.

Ex-Railwayman   30/06/2016 at 11:53

I hope that this new branding can live up to the old name of God's Wonderful Railway, but, somehow this company doesn't inspire me with any confidence.

Lol   02/02/2017 at 16:33

beckfest

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