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::: RMT threatens national industrial action over service cuts

First Great Western
Great Western Trains

A first-generation franchise lasting ten years signed on 20 December 1995 by Great Western Holdings, a joint venture between BR managers (51%), FirstBus (24.5%) and investors 3i (24.5%). The favoured bidder had been Resurgence Railways, led by a former BR manager, but RR failed to obtain enough third-party investment. As a result, the contract was then offered to GWH.

The original brand name was Great Western (or Great Western Trains), but when First acquired the shares of the other partners on 30 March 1998 the public name of the franchise then became First Great Western.

The Strategic Rail Authority announced plans for a new franchise in the Great Western territory on 6 November 2002. This would be known as ‘Greater Western’ and combine the Great Western intercity franchise with Thames Trains and Wessex Trains. Its start date was to be 1 April 2006, and the existing FGW franchise was extended by two railway periods (56 days) to allow for this.

start date
4 February 1996
end date
1 April 2006

owned by
FirstGroup plc (Great Western Holdings Limited)

legal title
Great Western Trains Company Limited

service area
Intercity services London Paddington–Bristol–Weston-super-Mare/Westbury–Exeter–Paignton/Plymouth–Penzance/Newquay, Cardiff–Swansea–Carmarthen, Swindon–Cheltenham Spa/Worcester–Great Malvern.

InterCity Great Western TOU

was replaced by
First Great Western


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