First Great Western franchise extended to 2016

FGW to continue running rail services between Bristol and London for another three years, says Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin

First Great Western

First Great Western service at Bristol Temple Meads

First Great Western is to continue running rail services between the West and London for another three years under a franchise extension announced today by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

The train operator had previously been granted a six-month extension until October following the fallout from the West Coast franchise debacle last year.

First Great Western will run mainline services between Bristol and London Paddington and local services around Bristol under the franchise extension until July 2016. New franchises will then take effect.

Tim O’Toole, chief executive of First Great Western owner First Group, said: “This provides continuity and consistency for our passengers and enables us to continue to deliver considerable improvements to services.

“We look forward to reviewing the details of the upcoming franchise competitions as they are announced, and submitting further high-quality bids that deliver for passengers, taxpayers and shareholders.”

Mr McLoughlin also announced a number of new investments in the railways and a new timetable for franchises.

Virgin trains are to continue running on the West Coast mainline until 2017, five years after Sir Richard Branson was supposed to lose the right to operate Britain’s biggest stretch of track.

Meanwhile, the East Coast main line will be put back into private hands, after it was nationalised by the Labour government in 2009.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “The time for passenger power has come. For too long passengers have been the passive recipients of major decisions made on their behalf behind closed doors.

“The voice of the user – and main funder – of the railways should be radically boosted in a process that needs to be opened up to scrutiny. We are going to work with Government to make this a reality.”

One Response to First Great Western franchise extended to 2016
  1. wood5y
    March 28, 2013 | 8:30 am

    “This provides continuity and consistency for our passengers and enables us to continue to deliver considerable improvements to services."

    Is the boss of FGW being ironic?

    The devil will be buying ice skates before there'll be any improvement in FGW's 'services'. It's a miracle when their trains do the most basic thing in passenger rail transport, i.e. run to timetable.

Today's news and features
Bristol Green Capital: Reshuffle after ‘summer of tension’

Source tells Bristol24/7 of communications breakdowns and organisational chaos as mayor's closest team members at City Hall take over key roles (Read more...)

Bristol Half Marathon 2014: All you need to know

Bristol city centre will be filled with thousands of runners and spectators for the 2014 Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday (Read more...)

Avon and Wiltshire mental health trust must improve, says watchdog

Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that while staff were caring, the inspection team raised concerns over safety of patients (Read more...)

Climate change campaigners to take to Bristol’s streets

March timed to coincide with summit next week of world leaders, called by the secretary general of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, to discuss climate (Read more...)

Bristol News Wire: Sept 19, 2014

Bringing you a round-up of the top headlines from around Bristol this morning (Read more...)

Bristol food sets its sights on world domination!

As one of the main cultural hubs in the UK, Bristol has long drawn a wide range of dynamic, energetic and passionate people from around the country (Read more...)

Sign up for the Bristol24-7 newsletter

By signing up, you will receive access to news and special offers

It's quick and easy to join... just fill in the form below. Thank you!

Your Name*

Your Email*

Your Postcode area (BS1, BS2 etc)*

What are you most interested in? (You can choose more than one!)*
What's On Food and Drink Business Motoring Travel Special offers 

Bristol247 newsletter