First Group signs new deal for rail passenger transport in England and Wales

FirstGroupThe UK Government has reached an agreement with First Group plc for First Great Western (FGW) to continue to operate trains between London Paddington, the Cotswolds, South Wales and the south west until April 2019.
The new deal will include a host of extra benefits for passengers including, around 3,000,000 additional seats per year by 2018 across the franchise, proposals for a brand new fleet of privately funded trains, the introduction of 369 new carriages through the roll-out of new hi-tech Intercity Express Programme trains built by Hitachi, the introduction of 58, 4-car electric trains for Thames Valley services, a £30 million (EUR 40.1 million) investment to improve stations, a £3.5 million (EUR 4.8 million) station development match fund and a £2.5 million (EUR 3.4 million) accessibility fund.
We are delighted to be awarded the contract by the DfT to operate the Great Western franchise to at least 1 April 2019, in a deal that will deliver for passengers and taxpayers. As the proud operators of this important franchise, we will be using our unrivalled knowledge and experience of the network to help deliver significant upgrades over the next few years, in particular the introduction of new trains as the mainline is electrified,” FirstGroup Chief Executive Tim O’Toole said.

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