First Great Western franchise extended by direct award
The Department for Transport is to extend First Great Western’s franchise by three-and-a-half years to March 2019 upon expiry of the current franchise in September 2015. The extension is by direct award and the DfT has discretionary powers to extend it for an additional 12 months.
The move was made without an announcement by the DfT and only came to light following republication of the Rail Executive’s Rail franchise schedule.
First Great Western has welcomed the news saying: “This will ensure stability during a period when a substantial programme of infrastructure upgrades -including electrification of the GW main line to Bristol and south Wales –will take place on the network and new trains are being introduced.”