Direct services to Bedwyn and Frome to continue as work begins on new fleet of trains

Friday 24th February 2017

Great Western Railway says it will be able to continue to operate direct services to Bedwyn and Frome next year, as work on its new fleet of Intercity Express Trains begins in Italy.

With electrification of the line extending as far as Newbury the new trains, capable of running on both diesel and electric, will mean that GWR is able to continue to operate direct services to Bedwyn, Hungerford and Kintbury, promising more seats on bigger, better, brand new trains for customers.

Bedwyn was to lose its direct services to London because the line beyond Newbury is not being electrified and the future of the direct services to Frome was not assured

GWR has taken the opportunity of the delay in the electrification programme to invest in a number of additional bi-mode trains that will run on both diesel and electric. Local MPs Claire Perry and Richard Benyon have worked very closely with the Department for Transport to secure agreement for these new trains. This investment will enable GWR to deploy brand new bi-mode trains on Frome and Bedwyn, Hungerford, Kintbury direct London services. 

The trains are longer than the current turbo fleet and the services to and from Bedwyn will require a small extension of a siding in Bedwyn to be able to operate.

The siding extension requires the diversion of an existing footpath and the rail company and Network Rail are seeking views from Great Bedwyn Parish Council before approaching Wiltshire Council for planning approval.
GWR Regional Development Manager Tom Pierpoint said:

“We at GWR are only too aware of the value that rail plays in the local and national economy. 

“We are really excited about the opportunity to be able to run direct services between Frome and London, and Bedwyn and London, with bigger, better trains providing more seats – helping the community to thrive both now and into the future.”

Cllr Horace Prickett, Passenger Transport Portfolio Holder comments: 

“Wiltshire Council is extremely pleased with this news and I will be giving all possible support to the application in due course.  This ensures that the Bedwyn to London service will continue and thus preserve the vital link to the capital which the east of the county currently enjoys. Wiltshire also sees this as a first step in upgrading the services west of Bedwyn to Westbury via Pewsey.”  

The new Hitachi trains which GWR has ordered, took a step closer last week as the first body shells arrived at Hitachi Rail’s Italian factory, where they are being built prior to be shipped to the United Kingdom.

Hitachi’s UK manufacturing facility in County Durham has already built its first train for Great Western Railway (GWR), as part of a previous order placed by the DfT, which is due into passenger service later this year.

The delivery of InterCity Express Trains to GWR will transform passenger experience for routes connecting London to Wales, the Cotswolds and the South West of England. 

Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England. 
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.