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Train operator to cut number of announcements on trains

First Great Western is to cut the number of announcements on its trains. The company is the main rail operator in the Westcountry.

By the end of this month, it will have re-trained one thousand staff to keep announcements relevant and to the point. Passengers have said many are annoying, pointless and repetitive.

Even Transport Minister Norman Baker has urged train operators to curb "excessive" announcements.

West Country (E)

First Group keeps hold of Great Western Rail Service

First Group will keep the franchise for a further three years. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive

First Group, which runs the Great Western Rail Service, will keep the franchise for a further three years.

The new timetable for rail franchise bids was announced by the Transport Secretary this morning.

First Group was due to bid again this October for the service operating trains from the West Country to London Paddington. This has now been delayed and they won't have to bid again until July 2016.

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Rail fare hikes come into effect

Tickets are going up by an average of 3.9% Credit: PA

The mid-winter will be bleaker for millions of rail travellers today as inflation-busting fare rises take effect.

Fares are increasing by an average of 3.9%.

The rise follows a miserable few weeks for many commuters in the Westcountry who have had to contend with long delays caused by flooding and signal failures.

Last week, over-running engineering work led to serious over-crowding on some trains.

New routes expected to attract 20,000 new passengers

New routes from Newquay to London Southend and Liverpool's John Lennon Airport have been announced by easyJet.

The airline will operate six services per week to Liverpool and London Southend starting in June 2013 and tickets are now on sale.

The new routes are expected to attract around 20,000 passengers to and from Cornwall.

Today’s announcement that easyJet will be operating fromNewquay Cornwall Airport is great news for local residents, Cornish businesses andholidaymakers. These new routes will make accessibility to and from Cornwall easierthan ever and open up new areas for travellers. This not only gives local businessesthe opportunity to attract new visitors and drive additional revenue during thesummer months but will also help people within the region to visit friends and familyout of the county more conveniently

– Cllr Stephen Rushworth, Cornwall Council

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Airport welcomes new routes

Following the news that easyJet will begin operating new routes from Liverpool and London Southend to Newquay, Al Titterington, Managing Director of the airport commented:

This is fantastic news for the airport and Cornwall to attract an airline of easyJetstature. The North West and London areas are key business and tourism marketsand the addition of Liverpool and London Southend will compliment our routenetwork. We have been in discussions with easyJet for a number of months and we arelooking forward to working with them in developing services to and from Cornwall.Discussions are ongoing for new easyJet destinations to Europe and in particular tothe Mediterranean being introduced in 2014

– Al Titterington, Managing Director of the airport

Full report: Brittany Ferries back up and running

There's relief on both sides of the Channel tonight, and especially in Plymouth, after Brittany ferries resumed their crossings. An industrial dispute, lasting ten days, brought services between Plymouth and Europe, to a halt.

It's thought to have cost local businesses up to twenty million pounds. Our Plymouth Correspondent Jonathan Gibson was at Millbay Docks last night, talking to those caught up in the chaos.

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