Faster trains from Weymouth to London

SW Trains 2

Published at 10:13am 27th March 2017.

From August the South West Trains franchise will be run by Chinese company MTR and First Group

We're being promised faster trains from Weymouth to London.

From August the South West Trains franchise will be run by Chinese company MTR and First Group - who'll take over from Stagecoach for the next 7 years.

The new operators say they'll make lots of improvements.

Through services between Portsmouth, Southampton Bournemouth and Weymouth will also be reintroduced.

The RMT union wants to know exactly what the change means for jobs and safety.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

"Following on from the announcement on the start of the South Eastern Franchise consultation, this deal is more great news for rail passengers.

"First MTR South Western Trains Limited will deliver the improvements that people tell us they want right across the South Western franchise area, from Bristol and Exeter, to Southampton, Weymouth, Portsmouth and London.   

"We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century and this franchise will deliver real changes for passengers, who can look forward to modern trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service."

First MTR South Western Trains Limited will oversee a £1.2 billion investment that will improve journeys for millions of train passengers, and provide a boost for the communities served. The next franchise will see:

Faster journeys across the network. Journeys to London will be 8 minutes faster from Southampton, 14 minutes faster from Weymouth, 9 minutes faster from Bournemouth and 10 minutes faster from Exeter.

Stagecoach Group is disappointed that it has been unsuccessful in its bid for the new South Western rail franchise, which is due to commence in summer 2017.

Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: "We are proud to have operated the network under the South West Trains brand for more than 20 years and we are disappointed that we have been unsuccessful in our bid for the new franchise.

"Over the past two decades, we have delivered real improvements for our customers right across the network. That success has been built on fantastic people, detailed knowledge of the business and strong relationships with our stakeholders and railway partners. But we have never thought our job was finished.

"We believe we submitted a strong bid for the new South Western franchise. It offered a transformation in the travel experience for our customers, more investment to help the railway support the communities and economy of the south-west, as well as a substantial and deliverable financial benefit to taxpayers to help fund better public services.   

"We will be seeking detailed feedback from the Department for Transport on the various elements of our bid.

"I would like to thank all of our employees and partners who have been involved in delivering our vision for the railway in the south-west over the past two decades as well as those who contributed to our strong bid for the new franchise. I know they share our disappointment in the result. Nevertheless, we will continue to work hard on our part to deliver a professional service and meet our obligations in the final months of our current franchise."

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