Blueprint could improve rail travel from town
PUBLISHED: 16:00 02 August 2012
MORE trains and carriages could boost Weston’s rail links with the rest of the country from next year as part of a Government blueprint welcomed by the town’s MP.
John Penrose has saluted the Department of Transport’s new document inviting tenders for the Great Western Mainline from 2013-2028, in which it has set out a list of new requirements that any service operator must stick to.
Companies bidding to operate on the line – the main rail route between London Paddington and the West – must provide more trains than under the existing franchise, introduce new carriages, invest in better facilities and offer a smart ticketing system similar to London’s Oyster card.
Mr Penrose said: “For years I’ve been campaigning for better train services so local people have a decent alternative to the misery of Junction 21 of the M5.
“We need a more reliable service, more peak hour trains and more carriages to relieve overcrowding.
“So I’m delighted that the minister has clearly been listening to local views.
“The invitation to tender lays out the blueprint for the next 15 years of train franchise, and sets the standard which any train company must deliver.
“It locks in the expanded and more frequent services we won a few years back, and guarantees us new, faster and more comfortable trains backed up by tough targets for customer satisfaction and service quality too.
“Smart ticketing should also mean that it’s easier, and possibly cheaper, for people to use the train and other forms of public transport.
“When you add in the new rail link to Heathrow, which will mean people from the South West can catch a plane without having to go all the way into London and out again, and it looks like a big step towards the kind of modern, convenient train system we’ve all been asking for.”
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