When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Guarded welcome as rail firm keeps franchise
10:00am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
RAILWAY groups in Oxfordshire have welcomed the news that FirstGroup will run First Great Western for the next two years, but have concerns about the long-term future of the company.
It was announced yesterday that the Department of Transport had awarded FirstGroup the franchise to continue running trains until September 20, 2015. The agreement begins on Sunday, October 13.
The train operator has one of the worst passenger satisfaction ratings in the country.
Passengers in Oxford have been told they can expect more seating and a better wifi connection. The franchise will see more standard class and fewer first class seats on popular services, as well as delivery of more electric trains for the whole Thames Valley region.
The operator says it plans to begin immediately changing 21 first-class compartments on high-speed trains to improve standard class capacity, and will introduce electric trains by 2016-2017 with 20 per cent more seats and journey times 22 minutes shorter.
Cherwell Rail Users Group chairman Chris Bates said the announcement “confirms much of what we knew before”.
John Ellis, chairman of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, said: “There are a number of concerns on the long-term position like the frequency of high-speed trains which are more important to us.”
Comments are closed on this article.