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Multi-million pound rail investment to ease overcrowding

£50m investment to ease overcrowding Credit: ITV

It's been described as the biggest investment in rail services for a generation. Today millions of pounds worth of improvements have been announced in the Thames Valley to help provide a solution to daily overcrowded commutes.

200 First Great Western trains will be renewed or refurbished. More carriages and services will also be added to provide an extra three million seats a year. And stations in Berkshire, Surrey, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire will benefit from a £50 million upgrade scheme.

It's all part of the company's new three and a half year contract to operate the service. Rachel Hepworth was in Reading to hear the announcement.

Multi-million pound investment in trains goes ahead

A multimillion pound investment in trains in east Kent gets the go-ahead today.

Network Rail are to upgrade the line between Ashford and Thanet to improve journey times for High Speed trains.

A new station's already been earmarked for Manston Parkway near Ramsgate.

"This upgrade to our high-speed service is of enormous importance to Thanet, opening up a whole new range of economic opportunities for our area. Before my election, local residents told me that they felt left at the end of the line. We have fought tirelessly to change this and worked hard to secure Government funding for Thanet. I am absolutely thrilled that with this, journey times are now being reduced which will open the doors to more investment and more visitors. This is a huge win for Thanet."

– Laura Sandys, MP for Thanet South

TRAVEL - TRAINS: Landslip causes delays - Banbury

There is disruption for rail passengers after a landslip between Leamington Spa and Banbury. A limited bus service is running between the stations. Buses are also running between Banbury and oxford.

Chiltern Railways and Crosscountry passengers can use both services during the disruption.

The National Rail Enquiries Service is advising that passengers can follow the incident by using the hashtag #BanburyTrains on social media.


Higher parking charges for commuters

Commuters will have to pay higher parking charges Credit: ITV

Rail passengers in the South are facing big rises in the cost of parking at stations.

From next week Southern will put up prices by five per cent which is twice the amount fares were increased at the start of the year.

Passengers at Brighton, for example, will have to pay 60p a day more. Southern says that, compared to other local car parks, they offer good value.

'Catalogue of failings' led to Xmas rail chaos

Passengers were left stranded Credit: ITV

The report into the chaos at Christmas when engineering works ran late has identified a 'catalogue of failings'.

Passengers were left stranded as no trains ran between Reading and Paddington on December 27th.

The report just made public by Network Rail reveals that engineering work near Heathrow did in fact end on time but safety checks to declare signals safe took ten hours which is five times longer than it should have.

There was confusion over when services would run, leaving passengers not knowing when they could travel.

Now the amount of time engineering works take will be reviewed and in future they may be carried out in the summer when there is better weather allowing for less chance of overruns.

MPs will question Network Rail Chief Executive Mark Carne on the report on Wednesday.

Passengers complain as Reading is hit by more delays

Rail services have been disrupted again today by overrunning engineering works on the line between Reading and Paddington.

Trains have been running with delays for a second day but the problems were due to ease as the day goes on.

Yesterday there was chaos as no services ran between the two stations for most of the day.

Passengers told ITV News Meridian it was the third year of overruns and was nothing short of "pathetic".

Watchdogs and politicians are demanding an inquiry and Network Rail has said it is "deeply sorry" that so many people were affected. The company say it has a record 11,000 staff working over the holiday with most works ending on time.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "It is extremely disappointing that Network Rail's engineering works have overrun and will affect travellers during this festive season. Passengers will be rightly annoyed.

"This was essential work, but passengers need to be able to plan and rely on Network Rail meeting its deadlines for having the network back in service.

"The Department is in contact with Network Rail to understand what went wrong and if lessons can be learned for the future."

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