• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google +
  • RSS

Mark Hopwood - Articles and news items

First Great Western announces major WiFi expansion plans

Rail industry news / 11 December 2013 /

First Great Western has announced a time scale for the implementation of free WiFi on board its High Speed Train fleet…

New FGW franchise to build on improvements

Issue 6 2013 / 4 December 2013 /

Running services out of London Paddington, across the South and West of England and South Wales, the former Greater Western franchise began operating on 1 April 2006. Operated by First Group and branded as First Great Western, the network combines the previous Great Western Intercity, London and Thames Valley, and West Country regional franchises. A second, 23-month franchise agreement began on 14 October 2013.

The First Great Western story Running over 1,550 trains a day, First Great Western (FGW) manages 210 stations and calls at a further 60 across the South West network. First Group made the decision in 2011 not to take up a contractually permitted three-year extension to the franchise, with a view to retendering for a longer-term agreement.

The decision enabled the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop plans for a longerterm franchise that would benefit from and help to deliver a number of major schemes, including electrification of a significant part of the network, the completion of Crossrail and the introduction of the Intercity Express Programme bi-mode trains. First Group was shortlisted to submit a bid for this longer-term franchise, which was due to begin in July 2013 and run for 15 years, but this process was delayed following the decision in October 2012 by the DfT to pause its franchising programme.

Swindon to Kemble railway enhancement project begins

Rail industry news / 11 January 2013 /

Work has begun on a £45m project to upgrade the railway route & infrastructure between Swindon & Gloucester…

Regional economies boosted by £5bn Great Western Rail investment

Rail industry news / 14 July 2011 /

A £5bn investment programme to provide more seats and shorter journey times on the Great Western rail route…

First stage of Reading rail improvement project complete on time

Rail industry news / 4 January 2011 /

Network Rail successfully completed the first stage of its six-year project to upgrade Reading’s railway…