Great Western Railway has been awarded a National Rail Contract to continue operating the GWR network until at least June 21 2025.
It also has the potential to run for a further three years at the Secretary of State for Transport’s discretion.
Under the terms of the NRC, the operator will continue to invest in developing digital, smartcard and mobile phone ticketing, with paperless ticketing sales having reached 85% of all transactions following the pandemic.
A smartcard system is expected to go live in the wider Bristol area later this year, while GWR is working with Transport for Wales on a similar scheme for South Wales.
GWR will also develop its Greater Experience Makers training programme for all customer-facing staff, and will commit more than £1 million to increasing accessibility of its services.
For its fleet, GWR will continue with an interior refresh of its Class 16x Turbos, having already completed 14 two-car sets.
A comprehensive review of the operator’s diesel fleet will also get under way, to reduce the cost of a mixed fleet and to cut carbon emissions by bringing in greener units such as battery-only trains. This includes the ongoing trial of new battery-charging technology supplied by Vivarail on the Greenford branch.
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