Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan has today, 26th October 2011, joined business leaders on First Great Western’s non-stop journey from Cardiff to London.
The special non-stop train will attempt to travel between the two Capital cities in around 90 minutes, giving a glimpse of the future, when rail electrification will mean the Cardiff to London journey could be completed in less than two hours.
The journey aims to demonstrate the benefits and future investment possibilities to the business community. It will also seek to break the current fastest record of 97 minutes 37 seconds, which was set in August 1988.
The Welsh Secretary said:
“I am delighted to be on board First Great Western’s non-stop journey from Cardiff to London today. This special train shows how well connected South Wales is to London and just what a short journey it is between the two Capital cities.”
“Government is investing nearly £1bn in rail electrification between London and South Wales and this will bring shorter journey times, like that demonstrated by First Great Western today. It will help to bring benefits to business, individuals and families alike.”
“With our economic policies we are determined to reduce red tape to make it quicker and easier for business to invest and to tap in to Wales’ skilled and qualified workforce. We are also helping businesses in Wales access opportunities in other UK and overseas markets.”
“I want to ensure that visitors and investors know what a great place Wales is socially, culturally and economically and how accessible it is to business. Travelling between London and Cardiff in under two hours is an excellent way to signify this”
First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“First Great Western prides itself on innovation and thinking about what we can do to improve rail services for our customers. This is an ambitious record attempt, but win or lose, it will be great to be able to demonstrate the possibilities for future Cardiff to London travel.
“South Wales is a very important market for us and around a third of our High Speed Services service the country. It is not only a significant business hub, but also a fantastic cultural and tourism centre, and we recognise the importance of rail travel to those industries and the wider community.”
Notes to editors
First Great Western provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, carrying more than 70 million passengers every year across the Greater Western rail franchise area, which includes South Wales, the Westcountry, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
For more information on the non-stop journey contact John Ratchford at the First Great Western press office on 0207 3131 192 or visit http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/NewsList.aspx