First Great Western Farce

26 June 2014

Mick Whelan said: ‘While we support many of the objectives of the DfT in terms of infrastructure investment in the Great Western region we find it hard to see how creating a short term direct award will deliver these important and much needed upgrades including electrification and the IEP rolling stock roll out.’

The award of a six month extension and then a two year extension means First Group has got the franchise for an annual sum of £32 million rather than £800m which was due to the government in 2011 which the company opted not to pay.

Mick added: ‘I find it incredible that the Secretary of State for Transport can say this represents a good value for money for passengers and taxpayers. First Group had his department over a barrel on this and named its price. He should have given the Great Western franchise to Directly Operated Railways. Then we might have seen some returns to the taxpayer rather than to First Group’s shareholders.’

Great Western specification consultation

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