West of England – Potential improvements to services

Friday 14th March 2014
First Great Western has announced that it will begin a formal timetable consultation on proposed changes to its West of England services in response to customer and stakeholder demand.

First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: 

“After the tough times the West of England has faced in recent weeks, First Great Western has been considering how it can improve the train service between London and key destinations in Devon and Cornwall. Working with Network Rail and the Department for Transport we have developed proposals that could deliver improvements from December 2014 onwards.”

The current 0706 Paddington to Paignton service would run to Plymouth and key stations in Cornwall; achieving around a 40 minute earlier arrival than today’s first London train at Totnes (1007), Plymouth (1035) and through to Penzance (1237).

The present 0730 service from London Paddington to Penzance would run to Paignton via Bristol, retaining London connectivity, but with the added advantage of improved connectivity from South Wales and Bristol to Torbay. Torbay and Exeter would gain a 19 minute journey time improvement, with the present 1106 Paignton-London train leaving later and still arriving in London Paddington at 1454.

From Cornwall high speed services to London would be more evenly spread through the day. New journey opportunities would be created by the introduction of a 1133 Paddington to Exeter service and a 1453 Exeter to London service. 

There would be a number of consequential changes to local services in Devon and Cornwall and along the Berks and Hants route.

In advance of this consultation FGW is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement with DfT on a number of timetable changes that it will be introducing in May. These changes will provide for additional strengthening of services across the West of England in the summer. 

Features include the use of a High Speed Train on the Bristol-Weymouth route on summer Saturdays to provide more capacity to and from the coast; more capacity on the Cornish and Devon branches; use of a loco-hauled train between Par and Exeter on summer Saturdays and the extension of a high speed London service to/from Weston-super-Mare on summer Sundays.