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29.05.14

Passenger views sought over Great Western franchise

Rail passengers in the south-west are being asked by the government for their views on the future management of the Great Western franchise. 

The consultation, which will run to 26 June 2014, has been launched to help decide how the project should be run over the next five years. 

Specifically, the government says the consultation explains its planned approach for securing Great Western franchised services when the current direct award franchise ends, but it is also seeking views on a ‘proposed franchise specification’ with a focus on changes planned during the five year period from September 2015. 

As part of the franchise, train services between London, Wales and many of the towns and cities of the south-west are set to be transformed through a multi-billion pound programme of investment, which will see extensive electrification of the Great Western route and the roll out of new state-of-the-art electric trains. 

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “These are exciting times for the Great Western franchise. Extensive electrification, new state-of-the-art trains and the introduction of Crossrail services will deliver a world-class railway that improves services for passengers and drives economic growth. 

“To make sure we make the most of this massive investment we want to hear from anyone who has an interest in these vital routes. This is further proof of our commitment to put passengers at the heart of our franchising system.” 

Over the next five years, a series of major works is set for the Great Western network including the electrification of the Great Western Main Line from London to Wales and the Thames Valley lines as part of a £7.5bn upgrade of the network; the delivery of 369 new state-of-the-art carriages as part of the government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme as well as an electric fleet for the Thames Valley lines; and the introduction of new trains as part of the multi-billion pound Crossrail project. 

To take part in the consultation, click here. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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