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Future services The Greater Western franchise runs until 2016 and during its lifetime additional services will be required to meet forecast growth on some parts of the route.

It is anticipated that by 2016 the service requirement for the route will increase to three trains per hour between London and the west of England to meet forecast demand.

Figure 11 indicates the forecast percentage change in tonnage to 2016.

Future capability Our strategy to improve the capability and performance of the route is to develop it as a core high speed route which will also facilitate the introduction of the High Speed Train replacement around 2015.

Network Rail is developing a national programme for station improvements and car park expansion, which will include a number of stations on the route.

Fragile routes Network Rail engineers have identified a set of ‘Fragile routes’ across the country where the addition of any further loco hauled traffic would have a significant impact on the residual life of track and/or structures.

the main lines for uninterrupted high speed service provision. Whilst this would be predominantly off the route (across the greater Bristol area and through Reading and the Thames Valley to London) it would have a beneficial impact on services to and from the south west.

On the route itself we believe that the solution to passenger growth and future capacity requirements could be met by a combination of initiatives. These include train lengthening on cross country services supported by platform lengthening; changes to the timetable structure to reduce the mix of different train types and the number of conflicting moves; increasing linespeeds between Reading and Taunton; and reducing the signalling headways between Newton Abbot and Plymouth.

Future performance In addition to continued improvement in asset reliability, a major focus of attention going forward is the work necessary to devise more robust train timetables. The creation of the new Greater Western franchise, from three separate TOCs, provides the opportunity for Network Rail to work more closely with one train operator to encourage the development of timetables and resource plans that are more robust in terms of recovery from incidents.

The key route sections that have been identified as fragile routes and have clearly defined additional tonnage/train numbers projected by the industry are the Barnstaple, Exmouth, Paignton, Gunnislake, Falmouth, Newquay and St Ives branches, as well as the route from Plymouth to Penzance.

The introduction of a new signalling control centre for the Thames Valley in mid-2009 will deliver greater operational and performance management benefits for all our customers.

Figure 12 shows the forecast reduction in Network Rail delay minutes compared with 2006/07.

Future capacity In order to deliver our strategy of developing core high speed routes it will be necessary to provide additional capacity for slower moving traffic. This would be achieved by expanding the relief line network by linking existing goods and relief lines and upgrading them to passenger status, freeing up

Figure 13 shows the forecast PPM for the main TOCs running along the route.

Figure 12 Forecast reduction in delay minutes

% reduction in delay minutes







86.2% 91.2% 85.1%

86.7% 91.8%

Figure 13 Forecast PPM MAA


First Great Western South West Trains Virgin Cross Country

Network Rail Route Plans 2007

Route 12 Reading to Penzance


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