First Great Western welcome calls to extend electrification to Bedwyn

Wednesday 05th February 2014
First Great Western has welcomed calls to extend the electrification of the mainline beyond Newbury to Bedwyn, when the line is electrified in 2016. 

The comments, from FGW Manager Director Mark Hopwood, come after a meeting between local MPs and the Rail Minister Stephen Hammond. 

Mark said: “The Government’s commitment to invest in the rail network and in new trains is an essential piece of the jigsaw in improving passenger journeys, and reliability, across our network. 

“The extension of electrification as far as Bedwyn during the initial first phase, and prior to the 2019-2024 period, makes good economic sense – supporting the communities we serve by delivering another revolution in passenger travel.” 

Claire Perry MP for Devizes and Richard Benyon MP for Newbury met with the Rail Minister, Stephen Hammond MP to put the case for bringing forward rail electrification to Bedwyn so that the project simply continues to Bedwyn when it reaches Newbury in 2016.

The 2013 Arup Review showed that there is a very strong business case for extending electrification to Bedwyn, but the MPs had been informed that the investment required was unlikely to be available in the 2014-2019 period, and therefore the Newbury to Bedwyn Project would be considered for the 2019-2024 period. 

Claire Perry MP said: “The Minister agreed that there are very strong economic and operational reasons for the Newbury-Bedwyn project to be brought forward and the opportunity will now be discussed in more detail with Network Rail. Richard Benyon and I are determined to ensure that the numbers of through trains and the frequency of services at Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury Stations are secured.”