This week I joined calls for Great Western Railway (GWR) to make further improvements to train services.
During a parliamentary debate on Tuesday 5th February about GWR’s delays and performances across the network, I raised frustrations with delays along the North Cotswold Line and how they impact my constituents. With Worcestershire Parkway station due to open later on this year, I pressed Transport Minister Andrew Jones on the importance of ensuring trains calling at the new station can run on time. The unreliability of services across the GWR network has led to an increasing number of my constituents choosing to drive up to 45 minutes away to Warwick Parkway station which they believe provides a more reliable service. I pointed out that not only is this inconvenient for my constituents but it makes little sense for GWR too, as it is driving customers away to other railway companies.
Following the debate, I attended a meeting of the North Cotswold Line Task Force about proposals for further improving performance along the line. The Task Force brings together Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships, and receives active support and advice from local parliamentarians, the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the Great Western Railway. During the meeting, the Task Force discussed plans for a twice-hourly service to London and faster journey times as well as prospective funding models for future infrastructure investment across the network.
Frustration with train services is one of the most common themes in my inbox and commuters across Worcestershire have been suffering for far too long with inadequate performance along the North Cotswold line. To its credit, GWR’s performance has improved noticeably in recent months but the company cannot afford to be complacent. As I said in the debate, GWR has lost the confidence of many commuters in the region who are now choosing to travel on alternative lines and it needs to do much more to demonstrate that it is providing a good service that people can rely on.