First keeps train franchise
FirstGroup has retained the right to run Charlbury's trains for the next 10 years. The train and bus company has won the 'Greater Western' franchise (combining the Great Western inter-city operation, the ex-Thames Trains local fleet, and regional trains in the south-west) against competition from National Express and Stagecoach.
First Great Western's announcement (click here) promises improvements in many places but relatively few on the Cotswold Line. Those changes which might be relevant include:
- Refurbishing the High Speed Trains ('Inter-City 125's)
- Off-peak trains from the Cotswold Line will call at Slough
- All evening peak trains will call at Honeybourne and Pershore
- A new waiting facility at Oxford including new toilets, waiting areas and refreshment facilities. Additionally, waterproof cycle storage, a combined ticket office and travel centre, improved helpdesk and refurbishment of the subway
There will also be 124 new ticket machines... perhaps we might get one in Charlbury?
FirstGroup will be paying the Government £1,131m for the right to run the region's trains.