News Story


A local MP is calling on county people, business and councils to respond to a vital consultation of the future of the Great Western railway.

Mid Worcestershire MP Sir Peter Luff says the Department for Transport's consultation is a “one-off opportunity” to make a real difference to the quality of local train services to Oxford and London.

The aim of the consultation is to seek views on how the franchise should serve the region in the five year period from September 2015 onwards. First Great Western’s current two year contract expires in September 2015.

This consultation will run until 26 June 2014. The DfT will make a decision this year about what is the best approach for the franchise, the region and the communities it serves.

Sir Peter said,

“It is vital for our county’s economy that we make the case for a step-change in the quality – both speed and frequency – of the local train service to to the capital.

The consultation document is bizarre in at least one respect, when it claims that “The current weekday off-peak service pattern, in each direction, is broadly the following:
…Hourly services to Worcester with five daily extensions to Hereford.”

“We all know the current service interval is wildly erratic and contains gaps of up to two hours and an average of 75 minutes. To get to an hourly service would in fact be a great improvement!

“And it does not promise the new InterCity Express Programme (“IEP”) rolling stock for the Great Western will be used on the North Cotswold line, saying simply, “These trains could be deployed [my emphasis] on services between London, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare (via Bath and via Parkway), Cheltenham, Worcester/Hereford and South Wales with the full service in place from the December 2018 timetable change date.”

“It adds, “The indicative IEP service pattern described … is a model only and the department will be looking to rail operators to propose their preferred solutions.”

“We need to move as one to argue now for two trains an hour to Oxford and an hourly train to London from Worcestershire, using the new IEP rolling stock and taking less than two hours from Worcester.

“Other areas will argue for their services – we must be loud in demanding a major improvement to what is probably the worst rail service in the country for a county of our size and importance.”

Back to News