Great Western Railway train

Great Western Railway backed through National Rail contract

The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded a National Rail Contract (NRC) to Great Western Railway (GWR) to continue operating the Great Western network. The new contract was announced today and will look to run until at least 21 June 2025, with a further three years sat as a potential, dependent upon the success of the partnership at the Secretary of State’s discretion.

In keeping with the contract, GWR have a committed ambition to attracting passengers back to the railways, through continued innovation and improvements in the overall customer experiences. This objective comes partnered with a focus on sustainable service investment whilst also providing better value on the customers expenses and the taxpayer.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded a National Rail Contract by the Department for Transport, which is a sign of its confidence in GWR as a trusted operator and means we can continue to build on welcoming more people back to the railway.

“We look forward to working with our rail partners to develop services designed to meet changing customer needs, and putting passengers at the heart of an updated, modern railway.”

Since the takeover of the Great Western franchise in 2015, GWR has achieved a steady, satisfactory climb among the levels of customer usage. The numbers support this as they have climbed from 81% to 91%, showing how the introduction of its high-speed Intercity Express Trains have helped in capacity allowances, as well as the biggest timetable change in a generation since December 2019.

Rail Minister Wendy Morton said:

“We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Great Western Railway, and excited by its plans to deliver more benefits for local communities.

“During the pandemic, GWR was instrumental in keeping critical services moving and this new contract will see it continue to deliver our ambitious Plan for Rail and provide a fantastic service for passengers.”

The GWR contract could prove to be a successful investment into, not just passenger levels achieving post pandemic numbers, but also offering the best customer experiences available in the industry.

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