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Whatever happened to South West Trains?!?! South West Trains have lost the franchise to run the South Western railway area (Waterloo to Exeter, Bristol, Southampton and Weymouth, and South-West London suburban services. This has been awarded to a consortium of Great Western Railway and Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (GWR/MTR). The existing SWT services run only until 4 August. The new franchise holders are presumably under an obligation to run services from the very next day, but whether that will include the modest service we now have through Bruton from SWT remains to be seen. Through our contacts with SWT staff at various levels we think it possible that the new grouping will take over SWT staff and trains, so we may still have good contacts with senior management. When we get any newswe’ll post it here.

Slow progress with the electrification of the line from Paddington to Bristol and South Wales. This work has proved far more complicated and expensive than expected, and the wires will go no further than Chippenham, 20 miles on the London side of Bath, for the next couple of years at least. It matters to us because London-Bristol trains will now have to be hauled by locomotives that have diesel as well as electric motors - and these are the ones that were supposed to be coming on our own (unelectrified) main line via Reading, Westbury and Castle Cary and on to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance. So we will still have the 45-year old HST 125s with their clunky slam doors on our Paddington service. It also means that on the Bristol-Weymouth line we will have to wait several more years before getting the faster diesel trains now running to Oxford and on the Thames Valley lines, where electrification is also postponed. We are used to waiting, a bit too much so in fact!

Waiting for the 1001 to Bath? You might find room to sit on our fine six-seater GWR-type bench on Platform 1 near the shelter, installed recently thanks to a grant from the Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership. But no fun on a wet day - sorry about that!.

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