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First Great Western
Greater Western

This was one of the first ‘Greater’ franchises, in this case combining the former Great Western Intercity contract with Great Western Link and Wessex Trains.

The shortlisted bidders were FirstGroup, National Express and Stagecoach, and the award was announced on 13 December 2005.

The contract was to run until 2016, although the last three years were subject to confirmation

In early 2011, FirstGroup said it was considering whether to take up the option of the final three years and shortly afterwards confirmed that it would not do so. The following franchise competition was cancelled in January 2013, and FirstGroup was then given a direct award to continue until July 2016.

On 18 March 2015, the Chancellor announced in his budget that a further franchise had been awarded. This was confirmed by the DfT on 23 March 2015 and began as Great Western Railway on 20 September 2015.

start date
1 April 2006
end date
20 September 2015

owned by
GB Railways Group plc/FirstGroup plc

legal title
First Greater Western Ltd

service area
Intercity, outer suburban and regional services. London Paddington–Bristol–Weston-super-Mare/Westbury–Exeter–Paignton/Plymouth–Penzance/Newquay, Cardiff–Swansea–Carmarthen, Swindon–Cheltenham Spa/Worcester–Great Malvern, Bristol–Weymouth/Portsmouth/Brighton, Reading–Basingstoke–Gatwick Airport; branch lines to St Ives, Falmouth Docks, Newquay, Looe, Gunnislake, Barnstaple, Exmouth, Severn Beach, Bicester Town, Henley, Marlow, Windsor & Eton Central, Greenford

Great Western Link
First Great Western
Wessex Trains

was replaced by
Great Western Railway


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