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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Commuter plans own train service
Great Western train
First says its journey numbers have increased
A commuter plans to run his own rail service to London - so he can catch an earlier train.

Entrepreneur Rory Webster, 56, says First Great Western's trains cannot take him from Wiltshire to London early enough.

The first service to depart from his local station is at 0724 BST.

From January, Trotter Trains plans to run from Westbury to Paddington twice each morning and evening, with a return ticket priced at 33.

Mr Webster says he will hire the trains he needs - from the continent if necessary - and then try and lease them on to First for their use during the day.

We might as well be meat
Rory Webster
Mr Webster, who is married with four children, said: "I'm just an ordinary man in the street with a desire to see things work better.

"There's no consideration for the traveller at the moment. We might as well be meat.

"Even if all this comes to nothing more than waking First Great Western up to the fact that there's a demand for earlier trains, then I will have achieved something."

Trotter Trains hopes to run its services at 5am and 6am, calling at Mr Webster's closest station of Pewsey before stopping at Reading and London Paddington.

'Good ideas'

Two return services are expected at 7pm and either 9 or 9.30pm.

Mr Webster added that he would look at running links from Reading to Heathrow once Trotter Trains was up and running.

First Great Western told BBC News that Mr Webster has not yet contacted them about his proposals.

"He would have to get operating and track licences from the rail regulator and then go to a company called Open Access from which he could lease the track, a spokesman said.

"Then he could rent the stock from us, but we do not have enough to do this - although we are always interested in good ideas.

"We are pleased Mr Webster recognises train travel as the best way to get to London.

"Our customers chose to make a million more journeys with us last year because of our commitment to running services where and when people want to travel.

"However, we're sorry that our timetable doesn't suit Mr Webster's particular needs," he added.

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