As a result of autumn bus cut announcements and franchise consultations, mid-winter 2015/2016 has been an active period for stakeholder engagement including, the XC Direct Award, a Bus Workshop and the South Western Franchise Consultation.
Our Bus Workshop in Taunton on January 21st 2016 generated a high level of discussion and a number of issues were raised which we will pursue at a national level, some of which will be highlighted at our late winter meeting with MPs. Our thanks to our speakers: Derek Beer, Transport Focus; Richard Gamble, Wiltshire County Council and TWSW; John Burch, CPT; Mike Watson, Stagecoach; and Damien Jones, Devon County Council. Stakeholder engagement was very strong and many ideas where expanded upon which may enable some to steer an easier course through these turbulant times. Links to presentations can be found on our Meetings Page.
We have digested a large number of written and oral responses to the Department for Transport Rail Executive’s Consultation on the new South Western Franchise to produce a forty-eight page booklet titled, “Specifying the new South Western Railway Franchise: THE OTHER HALF”. Digital copies are be available from February 3rd.
November 11 2015
In response to the news that Network Rail will not complete the Great Western Electrification Project as planned, we are demanding that the Government takes special measures to acquire additional carriages for GWR’s hard-pressed rail passengers. The call comes following the revelation by ITV today that Network Rail won’t be completing the Great Western electrification project as planned.
The cost of completing modernisation of the Great Western main line from Paddington through Reading to Bristol, South Wales, and the branches to Basingstoke, Oxford and Newbury is now expected to be around three times the original budget and has slipped years behind schedule. Network Rail’s recovery plan for the project means that work on the lines to Oxford, Newbury and Basingstoke will be stopped while effort is concentrated on completing the main line.
This will have a big impact on passengers throughout the region. Great Western Railway, which operates passenger services throughout the south west, had planned to cascade the diesel trains released by electrification to enhance services, adding more seats in the rapidly growing Bristol and Exeter travel-to-work areas and on the busy routes between South Wales and the south coast.
March 7 2015 TravelWatch SouthWest announce the appointment of VInita Nawathe as new Chair at a vibrant meeting.
Oct 13th 2014 Western Route Study Draft for Consultation has been published
Western Route Study. Draft for Consultation. Responses must be received by close of business on Friday 9 January 2015.
Feb 7th 2014 – CrossCountry confirms cut price rail travel after recent storms
From Monday10 February, any customer purchasing an Advance ticket for a journey with CrossCountry to or from any station west of Exeter, needs only buy a ticket to or from Exeter St Davids station. This would mean someone travelling from Penzance to Manchester could purchase an Advance ticket for as little as £53 for their 350 mile journey. See: Changes to Fares – crosscountry
Feb 7th 2014 – FGW confirms 25% discount on walk-up fares for services affected by Dawlish line closure
First Great Western has confirmed it will be offering discounted fares to customers travelling on its services affected by the closure of the railway at Dawlish.
Yesterday, Network Rail confirmed that the damage to the track will take at least six weeks to fix, and trains will not be able to run between Exeter and Plymouth during that time. Instead, First Great Western has ordered hundreds of buses to provide alternative transport between the two cities while the track is repaired.
Volunteers from other areas of the business, who have been supporting our efforts to keep customers moving in the area are expected to be joined by colleagues from other FirstGroup rail companies throughout the UK over the weekend.
A 25 per cent discount will apply to all walk-up fares – including Any time, Off-Peak and Super Off-Peak tickets – for journeys that pass through the affected area, and will remain in place until the line reopens.
Advance Purchase fares will also be reintroduced on the route for combined bus and rail fares from Wednesday next week. The company has been unable to offer Advance Purchase tickets – which are tied to specific trains – since Wednesday, as we were unable to guarantee which trains would be running.
First Great Western Managing Director, Mark Hopwood said: “We recognise that this work will mean customers are inconvenienced, and journey times are likely to take longer than normal as we look at alternative ways of getting customers to where they need to go. We want our prices to reflect that.
“No-one should lose out because of this. FGW’s promise is that anyone who has been unable to purchase an Advance Purchase ticket because they were removed from the system and paid more than they would have done normally, will be reimbursed the difference.”
Feb 6th 2014 – Railway line sea at Dawlish breached
A 30 metre section of the wall supporting the track at Dawlish has collapsed as result of heavy seas during the current spell of bad weather affecting the South West. This has left the line suspended in mid air. See our media section for updates and news.