GWR deal extended – but franchise could be split

ONE of the key features of the Government’s new vision is promoting increased local control of routes and services.

As a result the DfT will open a consultation on the splitting of the current Great Western franchise to create a new Devon and Cornwall train operator.

Also slated for possible reinstatement are regular services to Okehampton, where FGW Class 143
No. 143617 sits on August 10, 2015, with a special service to Exeter. DAVID HUNT

The new franchise would take responsibility for local and regional routes in Devon and Cornwall, inter-city services between London and the West Country via the Berks & Hants route, and the ‘Night Riviera’ sleeping car operation. GWR would retain control of Thames Valley commuter routes and inter-city services to Bristol and South Wales.

The proposal was greeted with some concern by many stakeholders in the West Country, who pointed to improvements made by the unified Great Western franchise since it was created in 2006.

At the time, the greater efficiency of a larger franchise was given as the main justification for combining First Great Western with Thames Trains and Wessex Trains, the latter of which was similar to the proposed Devon & Cornwall franchise.

Read more in January’s issue of The RM – on sale now!

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