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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 16:59 GMT
Calls to change train franchise
Rail passengers on a First Great Western train
First Great Western have responded with new adjustments to timetables
MPs from across the Thames Valley have joined forces to call for a train franchise to be revoked after "devastating" changes to services.

The group met with Transport Minister Douglas Alexander MP, after passengers labelled First Great Western's (FGW) service "commuter chaos".

Passengers across the region complained of overcrowding and a cut in services.

FGW, which introduced new timetables in December, has vowed to tackle problems and apologised for its performance.

Ahead of Wednesday's meeting, Martin Salter, Labour MP for Reading West, told BBC News: "It's about really drawing to his attention the complete chaos that has been created by the revised timetable and the real problems that a lot of the travelling public have had with FGW.

'Unmitigated disaster'

"I don't particularly want FGW to lose their franchise, what I want them to do is up their game - if they're not able to up their game, then what we're saying to the secretary of state for transport is find a company who can deliver."

Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, criticised FGW for making large profits calling it a "slap in the face" for customers when service had been poor.

The meeting followed Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council holding talks with rail bosses about residents' complaints and commuters signing an online petition over service.

Last month, FGW's new timetable was heavily criticised by passengers and local MPs who described it as "an unmitigated disaster" at a summit.

This week the train franchise announced plans to re-instate a late night train service to Newbury.

A FGW spokesman told BBC News the company had listened to a number of complaints from customers and made adjustments.

He added: "We've made a large number of adjustments, back in January additional services to Oxford, and re-introducing late night trains."




SEE ALSO
Late night trains back on track
26 Feb 07 |  Berkshire
Council slams FGW train services
25 Jan 07 |  Berkshire
PM petitioned over rail services
23 Jan 07 |  England
Rail users vote for fare strike
17 Jan 07 |  Bristol
Lords slam 'poor rail services'
15 Jan 07 |  Wiltshire

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