The Department for Transport has launched a consultation seeking views on the future of the Great Western franchise. A copy of the consultation document can be found here. In particular the consultation asks questions about how services can be improved, and the priorities for a future franchise.
One of the options under consideration is to begin discussions with Great Western Railway, the current operator, about the option for it to continue to operate the franchise until 2022. The document also explores the possibility of splitting the current franchise area into two separate franchise areas.
The ALRUG response to this consultation is our key priority for the next couple of months (the consultation closes on 21st February 2018). To that end we have organised a Members Meeting on Wednesday 7th February so that members have a chance to discuss our proposed response. The guest speaker at the meeting will be Christopher Irwin, a Director of TravelWatch SouthWest. We hope as many members as possible will be able to attend to make their voice heard. The meeting will take place at the Globe Hotel in Topsham, and start at 19.00.
The Department for Transport has also published its Strategic Vision for Rail. This document sets out the Department’s vision for the railways, including a new way of operating train and track, and changes to the franchise system.