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FirstGroup wins rail franchises

Discussion in 'On Track.' started by GWR, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. GWR

    GWR New Member

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    FirstGroup wins rail franchises

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4523592.stm
     
  2. GWR

    GWR New Member

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  3. GWR

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  4. LSWR

    LSWR New Member

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    Further press coments about this story.
    RAILWAY watchdogs have given a cautious welcome to the news that First Group will take over the Thames Valley's train network from April.

    But Berkshire MP Theresa May has backed angry commuters who say transport minister Alistair Darling ignored the company's past record.

    First Group, which already runs the Reading-Paddington route, has been awarded two new franchises.

    The newly created Greater Western and Thameslink-Great Northern will be worth more than £1 billion in fares annually, making First Group the biggest rail operator in the country.

    The 10-year contract for Greater Western combines the existing First

    Great Western and Link - already run by First Group - and Wessex services which are run by National Express.


    The company saw off competition from National Express and Stagecoach and is paying the Government £1.81 billion for the two new franchises for 10 years from next April.


    Mrs May, whose constituency includes Sonning, Twyford and parts of Woodley, said: "Many commuters will be angered by this decision, given the poor standard of service they have received over the last year or so since FGW Link took over local services."


    Business analyst Frank Parker, a regular Reading-Paddington commuter, said: "God knows what the opposition was like if this lot have won the franchise. But I guess things can hardly get any worse.


    "With fares going up again I'd be far more impressed if the £1.8 billion was being invested in the service instead of going into government coffers."


    And fellow traveller David Martin said: "Stations like Reading are dreadful bottlenecks, a hindrance to the whole network.


    "One would hope any of the promised improvements to stations will involve major surgery rather than cosmetic changes like more help desks and fancier ticket machines."


    Passenger link manager, Mike Greedy of the Rail Passengers' Council, said: "We are giving a very cautious welcome to this.


    "Certainly it does suggest greater benefits in terms of performance and facilities. It will remain to be seen if they can manage to reach their performance targets by 2012.


    "Passengers in the region have not received a service they deserve in the last few months, and the payment to government can only be recouped through fares.


    "I don't think the franchises will mean an increase in capacity, but what people do want is to see trains running on time, and more frequent services."


    First's chief executive Moir Lockhead, said: "We look forward to delivering the improved performance, capacity, facilities and customer benefits proposed in our winning bids."


    More than 59 million passenger journeys are made every year on First Great Western and Link, and First Group will now take on another 11.5 million from the Wessex services.

    SOURCE ICBERKSHIRE.CO.UK
     
  5. GWR

    GWR New Member

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