I know how important our local rail services are to people and businesses across the Constituency and I have been working as your MP since my election in 2010 to ensure that our train services are protected at Pewsey and Bedwyn in the light of concerns that electrification only as far as Newbury might mean that through services to and from London would cease.
I was delighted therefore when in 2015 the Government announced that Pewsey would continue to be served by long-distance services to and from the South West, with new Hitachi bi-modal trains which are now replacing the 40-year-old High-Speed Trains, offering many more seats and a much better service. As your MP I also secured the investment needed to replace the old footbridge at Pewsey Station with a brand new bridge which it was a pleasure to formally open in 2016, together with stationmaster Trevor Beaven MBE.
The final part of the Pewsey and Bedwyn rail challenge was secured in 2017 when Great Western Railway announced that a package of investment was agreed with the Department for Transport that will also see new hybrid trains on the Bedwyn – Paddington stopping service, and thus confirmed the continuation of direct services for Bedwyn travellers. Work was required at the turnaround siding in Great Bedwyn to accommodate the longer 5 carriage trains, and It was a pleasure to visit the site finished site in late August 2018 along with representatives for the Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group.
On Monday 2 July GWR ran the 17:07 departure from Paddington to Bedwyn and Pewsey as an Intercity Express Train (IET)- the first IET on our route. GWR plans to run more services through Bedwyn and Pewsey as IETs over the next few months, and from May 2019, the new trains will also replace the current diesel multiple units on the Bedwyn services.
I am delighted that our vital local train services are secure and that we can look forward to further local improvements. Including the enhancements to pedestrian access at Pewsey where I have supported the work of Pewsey Parish Council to make improvements to the existing footpath directly from the Station Car Park to the Wilcot Road and I was delighted that Pewsey’s application to the GWR Customer and Communities Improvement Fund has been successful and that the Parish Council has been awarded £3,000 to make improvements to the signage and lighting to enable pedestrians to safely access the station.
Nationally, as you may know the Government has committed £48bn to improve the UK rail network and hugely important schemes such as Crossrail, which will provide more service options for us from Reading are well underway and from when complete, two Elizabeth line trains an hour (four an hour at peak times) will allow passengers to travel right through central London without having to change trains.