FGW's Managing Director confirmed a number of measures to improve route capacity and services in South West England in an email to Lord Berkeley on 14 March.
Lord Berkeley has been working Cornwall Council and the local MP both to protect and improve services. Timetable changes later in 2014 will see the 7.06 am departure from Paddington arriving 40 minutes earlier in Penzance (12.03 rather than 12.43). There will also be an increase in standard class seating and more table seats. There will also be a upgrade/refreshment programme for carriages. See the FGW announcement here.
Lord Berkeley has also pressed FGW (in conjunction with IOSSCO) to pursue FRIST's agenda of timetable improvements to better coordinate train times with the ferry timetable. Specifically he has asked for:
- Retiming of the Monday morning London to Penzance sleeper (because it arrives 1 hr later than other mornings) to connect with the Scillonian departure time.
- Retime or provide an additional train on Saturday evenings as the last departure for London leaves Penzance at 17.30 and the 19.06 departure (for Exeter) leaves before passengers have disembarked from the ferry. There is later train (21.32) terminating at Plymouth.
Lord Berkeley mentioned to FGW the long term aspiration of a sleeper from Penzance on Saturday evening given that Saturday was changeover day for many self catering properties on Scilly (and properties elsewhere in the South West) and demand was unsatisfied.
Lord Berkeley lives in Polruan, is Chairman of the Rail Freight Group and is a member of FRIST's Advisory Group.