MP takes drive for better rail services to top
WESTON-super-Mare MP John Penrose has taken up the problem of local train services with the new Transport Secretary Justine Greening.
The intervention is timed to get the issue on the desk of the newly-appointed secretary immediately, and to ensure that the Invitations to Tender (ITTs) for the next Great Western mainline train franchise, which will define the type and quality of local train services to be provided by whichever company succeeds First Great Western, will deliver improved services for his constituents.
The new franchise begins in April 2013 and is likely to last for at least ten years. Mr Penrose has successfully campaigned for more frequent and bigger services during the morning and evening rush hour to reduce overcrowding for Weston's commuters and to provide attractive alternatives for residents who currently have to queue to get past junction 21 of the M5 in their cars.
In his letter Mr Penrose outlines the improvements local people want to see in their trains in future: better peak-time services, electrification of the line not just from Paddington to Bristol but also to Weston-super- Mare, and dualling of part or all of the Weston-super-Mare loop line.
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He said: "During the last franchise we worked with First Group and Network Rail to reduce overcrowding on rush-hour services by introducing more frequent and longer trains during the morning and evening peaks. The service is far better as a result but we need to make sure the new franchise locks in these gains so they can't be lost or eroded in future."