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3 October 2013, 09:03 | Updated: 3 October 2013, 09:11
It's been confirmed First Great Western will keep running our train services to and from London.
The company's contract has been extend until 2015 to operate trains between London paddington, the Cotswolds, south wales and the south west, with the company promising fewer 1st Class seats and better Wifi.
Heart's being told the new 23 month franchise is a further sign that the Government’s programme is on-track and will also enable the continued delivery of vital work to upgrade the line in future, including electrification to help deliver faster, more reliable journeys.
A multi-billion pound programme of national rail investment by Network Rail has already seen more than £5bn pumped into projects benefitting passengers on the Great Western network. These include Crossrail, the electrification of more than 200 miles of track on the Great Western line, and the upgrade of Reading Station.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
“The Great Western franchise provides a vital service for thousands of passengers every day and under this deal they will see real benefits.
“For communities like Devon and Cornwall the train is a life-line bringing in business and helping secure the leisure industry the community relies upon. This agreement will provide additional sleeper carriages between London and Cornwall securing the future of a key service once under threat.
“We have also secured a commitment to deliver greater WiFi coverage to improve the experience of long distance journeys for passengers. But I am also determined that we see further improvements during the lifetime of this contract; more standard class and fewer first class seats on key services and the delivery of more electric trains for the Thames Valley.
“This agreement provides further proof that the Government’s new franchising schedule is on track, delivering value for money for the tax-payer and supporting the ongoing multi-billion pound investment programme in our railways.”