First Great Western statement on overcrowding
Wednesday 19 December
First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
"Despite the lack of availability of suitable additional trains in the UK, in the past three years we've been doing just what the minister suggests. We've worked with the DfT to secure 90 additional carriages, adding around 10 per cent more space on trains for customers in key areas of our network.
"We welcome Norman Baker's call for train operators to be more proactive in securing spare rolling stock to deal with rising customer demand.
"The latest survey figures show just how committed First Great Western is to tackling overcrowding. In 2010, unfortunately we operated all of the top ten services. By the 2011 survey we had reduced this number to five, and since this data was collected over a year ago we have continued to address the issue, adding over 4,500 seats to services into and out of London Paddington.
"Sometimes that has meant thinking a little differently. With no suitable carriages to strengthen our High Speed Train fleet, this year we worked with the DfT to completely overhaul disused buffet carriages to provide the extra capacity required.
"This approach has been particularly effective in tackling the capacity challenge, and should be embraced. We will continue to look for opportunities to add further carriages when they become available."
Notes to editors
First Great Western provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services, carrying more than 90 million passengers every year across the Greater Western rail franchise area, which includes South Wales, the Westcountry, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
The 07:44 service from Henley on Thames to London Paddington by adding an additional carriage, so that the number of standard class seats has increased to 340.
From September 2012, the 06:30 service from Banbury to London Paddington has started from Oxford not Banbury, leaving Oxford at 07:00. It is now operated by a refreshed Class 180 train which provides an increased standard class seating capacity.