An application from open access operator Grand Union to run five return services per day between London Paddington and Carmarthen has been approved by the Office of Rail and Road.
Commencing December 2024, the ten-year track access contract permits GU to run a new fleet of bi-mode trains calling at Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel Junction, Newport, Cardiff Central, Gowerton and Llanelli.
According to the application, GU plans to enter a strategic partnership with Spanish national operator Renfe to operate the services. It will have financial backing from Spanish private equity firm Serena Industrial Partners.
The ORR said its decision would open the Great Western Main Line to competition for the first time, with potential benefits including lower fares, improved service quality, and “innovation for all passengers using the route”.
It follows an application that was rejected by the ORR in February 2021 to run seven services a day from London to south-west Wales.
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