Sir George attended a presentation at Charing Cross Hotel by GNER of their plans for the South West Trains franchise, to be awarded later this year.
“The quality of the train service from Basingstoke to Waterloo is of great importance to hundreds of my constituents who commute daily to London. GNER is one of three bidders for the franchise – along with Stagecoach, who run the service at the moment, and the Go Ahead group."
“GNER have some ambitious plans, based on investing in their own staff in order to improve the quality of the service. They want to invest in Basingstoke station, to make it a more secure and welcoming environment and also to include a First Class Lounge. They want to run more trains late in the evening – particularly on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays. They plan to run 25% more trains and invest up to £4.5 billion in new trains, track, stations and jobs. In particular, they plan to have 2000 new coaches by 2005 and build a new link to Heathrow from the south.”
"Others are also bidding; one of the benefits of privatising the railways is that competitions like this are now possible, driving up standards in a way not possible with a public monopoly. May the best bidder win!"