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Railhub Archive
2015-03-23 FGW-001
First Great Western


Largest train fleet upgrade in a generation drives more seats, faster services and greater connectivity for First Great Western customers

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First Great Western

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First Great Western

Largest train fleet upgrade in a generation drives more seats, faster services and greater connectivity for First Great Western customers


Report of the Triennial Review


23 March 2015
source First Great Western
type Press release

First Great Western has announced proposals to deliver the largest train fleet upgrade in a generation on the Great Western network as part of its plans for the new franchise that starts in September, and will run until at least April 2019.

In a deal put together with the Department for Transport, First Great Western’s plans would see the age of First Great Western’s train fleet slashed by more than half, and would create for our customers 9,000 additional seats every day by the end of the franchise.

This unlocks quicker journey times and additional services on both long distance and commuter services across the region.

The new deal brings together a range of benefits for customers and communities by the end of the franchise period, including:

• New or updated trains in every area of the network – including proposals for a brand new fleet of privately funded intercity trains for services to and from Devon and Cornwall - creating three million additional seats a year for customers across the network. Free WiFi will be extended to all our train fleets
• More direct trains into Devon and Cornwall, doubling the number of trains into and out of Cornwall, and reducing journey times between Paddington and Penzance by up to 14 minutes

• Faster trains between South Wales, Bristol and London, cutting journey times into Bristol Temple Meads by up to 17 minutes and Cardiff by up to 14 minutes

• More seats for local commuters on key routes across the franchise including services for Bristol, Exeter, Oxford and Gatwick

• 100 more customer-facing colleagues on long-distance trains

• £50 million investment with our partners to improve stations, including 2,000 new car park spaces across the network, customer information improvements and improved PA systems

• Improved retail / ticketing systems

• £2.2 million Customer and Communities Improvement Fund to target improvements around areas of real social need, and additional funding for Community Rail Partnerships on local branch lines.

• First Great Western will also develop a community work placement scheme, and work with The Prince’s Trust to develop a ‘Get into Railways’ mentoring programme.

Customers can use First Great Western’s interactive map to see an overview of improvements at their station by visiting:[Live from 0800]

FirstGroup Chief Executive, Tim O’Toole said: “We are delighted to be awarded the contract by the DfT to operate the Great Western franchise until at least April 2019, in a deal that will deliver for passengers and taxpayers. As the proud operators of this important franchise we will be using our unrivalled knowledge and experience of the network to help deliver significant upgrades over the next few years, in particular the introduction of new trains as the mainline is electrified.

“We are already working closely with the DfT and Network Rail to deliver the initial phases of the £7.5bn Great Western Mainline modernisation programme. This investment is the biggest on the route since Brunel, and will transform a key part of the country’s transport infrastructure.

“Under our experienced management, the franchise will see new or refurbished trains on every part of the network, resulting in more frequent and faster journeys and an increase in the number of seats. These, and a range of further passenger benefits, will keep people moving and communities prospering across the Great Western network.”

The company will expand the use of the GWR brand, currently used in its long distance First Class carriages and will rebrand before the start of the new franchise in September.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I am determined that passengers in the West, Thames Valley and South Wales get a railway that is fit for the 21st century. This is a fantastic deal which will give them more seats, more services and brand new fleets of modern trains.

“This government knows the importance of our railways. That is why they are a vital part of our long term economic plan, with over £38 billion being spent on the network between 2014 and 2019.”


For more information, please contact the First Great Western press office on 0845 410 4444

Notes to editors:

Fleet upgrade summary
In total, the fleet and timetable changes proposed will mean three million extra seats a year on the network by December 2018.

New Super Express Trains will start taking over long distance services between London, Bristol and South Wales and the Cotswolds from summer 2017, unlocking 45 more services a day between London and Bristol, and cutting journey times into South Wales and Oxford and beyond.

New Trains proposals between London and Devon and Cornwall
The franchise deal includes recommendations from FGW to introduce a fleet of 29 state of the art long distance trains which, subject to contract and approval from the Department for Transport by the end of June, would replace High Speed Trains between London and Devon and Cornwall from summer 2018.

This will mean additional seats into and out of the West of England, and speed up typical journey times from London by 5 minutes (to Exeter), 6 minutes (Plymouth) and 14 minutes (Penzance).

First has already completed the procurement of these new trains, selecting Hitachi Rail Europe as the preferred bidder. Hitachi will supply its AT300 125mph bi-mode trains, which are similar to the new Super Express Trains in five- and nine-car variants. First is finalising arrangements under which the trains would be privately financed.

The AT300 trains will utilise higher engine operating power to cope with the track gradients in Devon and Cornwall. They will run as electric trains between London and Newbury, and are equipped with bigger fuel tanks to cater for the long distance journeys to Plymouth and Penzance.

New electric trains for the Thames Valley
In addition, 37 new and as-new four-carriage Class 387 and 21 four-carriage Class 365 electric trains – predominantly operating in eight- and 12-carriage formations – will replace the current train fleet on electrified routes into London from the Thames Valley from spring 2016 onwards. This will increase the number of seats for commuters travelling in the high peak by 25% from spring 2017.

More modern trains for west commuters
These new electric suburban fleets will mean that we are able to replace our smallest, oldest and least reliable diesel trains with more modern Turbo trains from the Thames Valley. They will drive a fleet cascade in which passengers in key cities will see significant improvements in capacity on local suburban services. There will be a 52% increase in seats in Bristol and a 58% increase in Exeter. We will alsoincrease the local mainline services in Devon and Cornwall using our fleet of regional Class 158 trains.

James Davis

Railhub Archive ::: 2015-03-23 FGW-001


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