We’re committed to improving line

PUBLISHED: 07:10 25 April 2014

The piece “Further delays on the line!” (Journal, April 3, page 19) does not fully take into account service demand across Devon or on other branch line services operated by First Great Western in the South West.

The extra Sunday services we have run in the recent past, including Christmas specials, and will run again this summer in partnership with Devon County Council, demonstrates our commitment to making incremental improvements on the line before longer term improvements can be brought in.

We will run a total of seven journeys each way on a Sunday this year between May and September – providing a two trains per hour frequency, and a higher frequency service than other lines in Devon on a Sunday.

Services will be semi-fast, with some additional calls at Polsloe Bridge. While most services run to/from Exeter Central, a few will be extended to St Davids.

In the longer term we are actively working with Devon County Council to bring forward plans for a ‘Devon Metro’ and a seven-day timetable, including two trains per hour between Paignton and Exmouth every day.

Furthermore, we will strengthen key peak hour trains across Devon this summer and we will also be increasing standard class seating and introducing WiFi on our High Speed Train fleet.

We have recently recruited more assistant ticket examiners to work on trains and are bringing forward improvements at a number of stations.

For example, we are looking at better information facilities for several stations, and are currently working with Devon County Council to deliver a new station at Newcourt from December.

Given our obligations to meet customer demand across all of our services in Devon, to run a half-hour Sunday service throughout the year is not possible with the availability of existing rolling stock.

We do however have a strong working relationship with ALRUG, value their engagement and support, and share Tony’s ambition.

We are working hard to secure enhanced services in the county.

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

First Great Western

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