Find out more about First Great Western’s vision: putting customers first; and how we work to achieve it.
Putting customers first
At First Great Western, we work to achieve our vision of putting customers first by exceeding your expectations of journeys by train.
From our welcome at the station, to the service you can expect on-board our trains, right through to your arrival at your destination, we make sure that your journeys with us are safe, comfortable, convenient and enjoyable, and that you always feel welcomed and valued.
More about First Great Western
The current First Great Western franchise started in April 2006 and comprises the former First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains businesses. Our franchise is contracted to run until April 2019.
Our services stretch from London in the east to Brighton and Gatwick in the south, Carmarthen, Pembroke Dock and Penzance in the west and Banbury, Hereford and Worcester in the north.
We have one of the largest and most complex rail networks in the UK, carrying one and a half million passengers every week on 9,000 services, and calling at 276 stations. We are the only UK rail company to operate High Speed Inter-city, commuter, regional and sleeper services.
Our High Speed Inter-city services link South Wales, the Cotswolds and the South West with London.
We provide fast and frequent commuter services for the M4 corridor, the Thames Valley and Newbury and Oxford routes and operate services in the South West, providing local commuter and leisure services and the key longer distance routes from Cardiff to Portsmouth.
Our sleeper service links the South West to London. We operate direct to Gatwick Airport and, as part of the Heathrow Connect operation, to the heart of Heathrow Airport.
How the franchising system works
The Department for Transport (DfT) runs competitions for the award of new franchises, having consulted with stakeholders, specifying the passenger rail services to be run and the operating standards (such as punctuality and reliability) which have to be met. The franchise is awarded to the bidder who offers the best and most robust proposition in terms of deliverability and price. The DfT then monitors and enforces performance.
As part of our agreement, First Great Western committed to paying the DfT a premium of £1.13 billion during the franchise and to delivering a £200 million investment programme for our customers. The infrastructure the franchise operates on is separately owned and managed by Network Rail. We are entirely dependant on them to ensure that track and signalling operates smoothly. We work closely with them to minimise potential delays for our customers.
First Great Western is part of FirstGroup plc (First), the country’s largest train operator and the UK’s biggest bus operator .
Find out more about First Group.