Video. There was some first class news for rail passengers today. First Great Western has had its franchise secured for two more years, until September 2015. Our Transport Correspondent, Mike Pearse, reports.
Passengers are being promised a series of improvements from First Great Western during the franchise extension, including better wifi and additional sleep carriages:
– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary
I am also determined that we see further improvements during the lifetime of this contract; more standard class and fewer first class seats on key services and the delivery of more electric trains for the Thames Valley.
This agreement provides further proof that the Government's new franchising schedule is on track, delivering value for money for the taxpayer and supporting the ongoing multibillion-pound investment programme in our railways.
First Great Western has been given a 23-month extension to its franchise. The company will carry on running the Great Western main line until September 2015 before bidding starts for a new long-term franchise.
Olympic and Tour de France champion Sir Bradley Wiggins has been honoured with a blue plaque at the place where he first learnt to ride a bike as a boy.
His proud grandmother, Maureen Cousins, unveiled the tribute at the Paddington Recreation Ground close to where the cycling hero grew up in Kilburn.
His family joined forces with local councillor Jan Prendergast (pictured on the right) to get Westminster Council's approval for a permanent reminder of Sir Bradley's immense sporting achievements.
It sits alongside Sir Roger Bannister's who used the park to train before he became the first person to run the four-minute mile in 1954.
Sir Bradley couldn't be there in person as he is racing in Italy. He is said to be very pleased with the accolade.
A plaque to mark the spot where Tour de France winning cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins learnt to ride a bike is being unveilled today. His grandmother, Maureen Cousins, will be on hand to do the honours at Paddington recreation ground, not far from where he grew up in Kilburn.
The event follows a successful week at the world time trial championship in Florence, where he won silver and his Tour of Britain win last weekend.
Councillor Jan Prendergast says that having "worked to have a plaque put up to honour Sir Roger Bannister's connection with Paddington Rec over a decade ago, it became an ambition of mine to have a similar one put up for Sir Bradley Wiggins too."
Delays at London Paddington train station have now been cleared, following two days of disruption.
Services to Heathrow Airport were suspended and other services were cancelled on Thursday after two fires caused signalling problems.
Trains are now running normally to and from the station.
It was supposed to be the start of their great Christmas Getaway.
But travel plans for thousands of people have been wrecked by rail failures.
Signal problems hit services into and out of Paddington Station and near Gatwick Airport.
Meanwhile, the AA has reported a surge in breakdowns in the capital - many of them flat batteries - as people leave their lights on when they dash to go shopping.
Here's Ronke Phillips.
Services to and from Paddington are currently being severely disrupted following two separate signalling problems at Acton and Hayes in west London.
Engineers have been on site since the incidents occurred and have worked through the night to repair extensive damage to lineside equipment, some of which has been damaged by fire.
Until the repairs are complete, two of the four lines serving Paddington will remain closed with an amended timetable in place to many destinations.
– Network Rail spokesperson
We would like to offer our sincere apologies to anyone who has had their travel plans disrupted as a result of these problems, particularly at this very busy time of year.
We have diverted all available resources to fixing the problems and will do everything we can to get a full service running as quickly as possible.
Passengers are advised to check with their train operator or National Rail Enquiries for further details.