Rail Minister welcomes First Great Western improvements

Monday 15th December 2014
Rail Minister Claire Perry has welcomed the first major redesign of First Great Western’s mainline timetable in Devon and Cornwall for seven years by waving off the first new 0706 retimed service. 

The changes launched today see an improved service for the South West, providing an earlier morning direct service from London to Plymouth and Cornwall and shaving over 30 minutes off the current quickest journey time. 

Key improvements include: 

  • The 0706 Paddington-Paignton service will now also call at Plymouth, and retimed to arrive 40 minutes earlier into Totnes, Plymouth and stations to Penzance
  • Additional capacity for summer travellers on the late morning (1039) service from Plymouth through Cornwall by using an eight carriage High Speed Train rather than a smaller local one
  • Faster mid-morning service between Paddington and Plymouth
  • Improved connections between Paddington and Torbay
  • Faster return service between London and Paignton
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: 

“We are committed to providing more capacity and better journeys for passengers across the UK, and we are transforming the railways with record levels of investment as part of our long-term economic plan. 

“The new early-morning service, along with the other improvements by First Great Western, are a real boost for commuters and businesses in the South West, and I am looking forward to seeing further improvements.” 

Answering the calls of local business, the proposals deliver a vastly improved service for the region, supporting the generation of economic growth through improved connectivity between major centres. 

First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: 

“We have been able to make important changes that have gone a long way to support the communities we serve, increasing the number of services in the south west by 143% since 2007. 

"The South West is a key region for First Great Western and one which we are proud to serve. We know the needs of the region are changing and we need to make sure our timetable reflects the requirements of passengers and communities. In particular, these changes we are planning reflect the long standing aspirations of customers across the South West. 

“It is something we have wanted to do for some time and I am delighted that the Department for Transport and the responses to the local consultation have allowed us to launch this new timetable today.” 

The Leader of Plymouth City Council Tudor Evans said: 

“I’m really pleased that we are finally seeing this significant step forward for rail links between Plymouth and London. 

“As a city we’ve campaigned long and hard for this. The service will be faster, more direct and arrive earlier into Plymouth. It’s good for business as it means clients and contacts can do a day’s business here and get back to London in a reasonable time. 

“People will no longer have to hang around for a train from Newton Abbot to be here in the morning, which sends out a much better impression of Plymouth and our friends further along the track in Cornwall. 

“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes at First Great Western to make this happen.”