Passengers in the south-west are being asked for their views on the future of rail services across the region as the government considers how the Great Western franchise can best support the massive investment planned for the network.
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.
To ensure the franchise best meets the needs of passengers, a consultation has been launched to help decide how rail services will be managed over the next 5 years.
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.
The Great Western network is set for a series of major works over the next 5 years, including:
- electrification of the Great Western Main Line from London to Wales and the Thames Valley lines as part of a £7.5 billion upgrade of the network
- the delivery of 369 new state-of-the-art carriages as part of the government’s £5.7 billion Intercity Express Programme as well as an electric fleet for the Thames valley lines
- the introduction of new trains as part of the multi-billion pound Crossrail project
The Great Western franchise delivers 97 million passenger journeys annually and caters to commuters, business and leisure customers. High-speed trains service London, south Wales, the Cotswolds and the west country as well as semi-fast services throughout the Thames and Kent valley and between Reading and Gatwick Airport.
The consultation will run to June 26 2014.