Thank you very much to everyone who contacted me about the Future of the Great Western Franchise Consultation through which the Department for Transport is gathering views from stakeholders on the planned approach for securing Great Western franchised services when the current direct award franchise ends in September 2015.
I am really pleased that whenever I discuss service levels and investment with the Rail Minister, the Secretary of State or indeed FGW the current franchise holder, everyone is fully aware of the importance of these services – and your communications can only help to reinforce that. Interestingly, the growth in passenger numbers using Pewsey station is higher than the average for the region, so there are sound commercial reasons to maintain service levels as well. I cannot conceive of any serious suggestion to downgrade the services from Pewsey and Bedwyn stations.
However, we cannot be at all complacent. There is constant pressure from towns further west for fewer stops en route, and I am absolutely determined to get a government and operator commitment to AT LEAST maintain the number and frequency of services. I am so pleased that the Bedwyn, Pewsey and Transition Marlborough rail groups are so active in communicating with rail users and helping me to draw all of the comments and reactions to any proposals together and I will do all I can to protect these vital services – not least because I use them too.
I have attached my response to the Consultation which I hope is of interest. www.claireperry.org.uk/downloads/hammond.pdf and I am continuing to monitor developments closely. I took the opportunity to meet Commuters at Pewsey station early last Friday morning and I will be at Bedwyn on Wednesday 23 July from 6.30am until 7.30am.
Claire Perry M.P.