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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 [email protected]


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

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