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Peter Luff has welcomed an invitation from the new chief operating officer of First Great Western, Andrew Haines, to ride the Cotswold line with senior management "in about three months" to see how things had improved.

At a briefing meeting in Westminster this week, Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff set out to First Great Western's new management team his detailed concerns about the inadequate rail services between the county and London.

Peter said,

"First Great Western offers literally the worst rail service in the country - but in other parts of the country, the same parent company offers some of the best. The new team I met this week accepted how bad things were and showed a real determination to put them right. I welcome their self-imposed challenge to show me their success.

"I complained to the team about the poor reliability and punctuality of services, but I understand that most of these problems are caused by Network Rail, the company created by the government to maintain the track and signals and whose performance recently has been lamentable.

"However, FGW is also failing - and especially in the provision of enough trains of the right standard to take people the 100 mile plus journey to London. Too often we are forced on to two or three carriage multiple units, completely unsuited to journeys of such length without even an explanation, never mind an apology.

"The new team understands the size of the mountain they have to climb - and they're not being helped by the threat of industrial action. At least they are now not totally tied down by the timetable imposed on them by the government when they won the franchise - I hope the new timetable proves more robust than the one ministers foolishly dictated to them in May last year!"

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