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First Great Western details service plan during strike

Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

First Great Western (FGW) has issued details of disruption to its services if planned strikes by workers go ahead in the coming weeks.

It says long distance and local services will be reduced on August 23 and over the bank holiday weekend.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are due to take industrial action in a row over new trains, which they say threaten jobs and services.

These brand new trains will deliver more seats, faster journey times and more frequent journeys for our passengers. Our plans mean more train managers on board our trains, not less. The key issue remains that we want the driver to close the doors - which is fundamental to our ability to run the faster, more frequent services customers should expect from a 21st century railway. This method has been used safely across the UK rail industry for decades

– Mark Hopwood, Managing Director, First Great Western

FGW says services including those between South Wales and London, Plymouth and London, Cardiff and Portsmouth, Bristol and Taunton and Bristol and Gloucester will be affected.

The RMT Union says it disputes the level of services the company could run on strike days.

  1. Nick Powell

Great Western electrification "top priority"

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs that the electrification of the Great Western main line will be prioritised over other projects in the midlands and north of England as part of a crackdown on delays and rising costs at Network Rail. The state-owned company which controls the railway tracks is due to electrify the line from London to Swansea.

Electrification of the Great Western Line is a top priority and I want Network Rail to concentrate its efforts on getting that right.

On the Midland mainline better services can be delivered on that line before electrification. With things such as speed improvement works. So work on electrification will be paused.

The next franchise for the Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester will bring modern trains and additional capacity. Current work on electrification will be paused because we need to be much more ambitious for that route.

– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP

The minister told Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards that the government remained committed to electrifying through to Swansea on schedule, though he couldn't confirm that meant by 2018. He did not mention the electrification of the Valley Lines, which will largely be funded through the Welsh Government.


Trains: South Wales - Paddington

There's disruption on First Great Western services between South Wales and London Paddington because of a signalling problem at Slough.

London Underground are accepting tickets for reasonable routes.

Tickets being accepted on via reasonable routes on other National Rail operator services.

Passengers are advised not to attempt to travel via this route. Disruption is likely to continue until around 10:00am.

First Great Western franchise extended

The franchise will run until September 2015 Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

First Great Western, which runs services between South Wales and London, is promising improvements after it was given a 23-month extension to its franchise.

The UK Government says it'll carry on running the Great Western main line until September 2015 before bidding starts for a new long-term franchise.

Greater wifi coverage and additional sleep carriages are among the improvements announced.


First Great Western 'disappointed' at planned strike

A spokesperson for First Great Western says the company is 'extremely disappointed' that union workers are planning industrial action later this morning.

Even though the strike action is going ahead, we are planning to run a normal service on Friday and Saturday to make sure that our customers are unaffected by this action.

– First Great Western spokesperson

The planned industrial action follows a dispute over a colleague's dismissal from the company.

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