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Wednesday, March 4, 1998 Published at 13:13 GMT



UK

Rail service criticised for 'massive' delays
image: [ Managers have admitted to what has been called a
Managers have admitted to what has been called a "massive programme of service recovery."

The Welsh Transport Minister, Peter Hain, is calling managers from Great Western and Railtrack for urgent talks about the standard of service between South Wales and London.

Great Western, has recently been strongly criticised over severe delays and managers have admitted to what has been called a "massive programme of service recovery."

The criticism comes as the company prepares to sell off its franchise for the first time since privatisation.

Employees then bought shares, now worth £30, for 50p each.

The train and bus company, FirstGroup, is thought to interested in the take-over, but the Government has been urged to block the sale.

The campaign director of the pressure group, Save Our Railways, who has written to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott in an attempt to avert the bid, said: "Under private management, Great Western has deteriorated from being one of Britain's premier lines to one of its worst.

"Trains are now slower, later and more [passengers] complain [about the service] than under public ownership."

Earlier this week, the Labour MP Dr Doug Naysmith, criticised the possible sale of Great Western and described its service in recent weeks as "utterly appalling".

Government figures recently showed that the punctuality of Great Western's service for the last three months of 1997 had fallen below its Passenger's Charter target figure.








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