FGW Rail Franchise Extended

Plans for the bidding competition for who'll run the Great Western mainline through Reading and Oxford have been cancelled.

The competition was one of three put on hold last October in the wake of the fiasco over the flawed awarding of the West Coast Main Line franchise.

Current operator First Great Western (FGW) has had its contract extended until October and negotiations will start on a new two-year contract with the company, while plans for the longer term will be set out in the spring.

Meanwhile, operators of the two other franchises - Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern and Essex Thameside - will be offered interim two-year contracts by the Department for Transport while competitions are launched for longer-term franchises.

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