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All group members may be interested in reading about the recent GWR franchise consultation meeting I attended in Bristol last week. The meeting was organised by the Department of Transport and it gave interested parties an opportunity to discover more about the consultation process, and to address questions to representatives of the department. The franchise consultation process is designed to help the Department to determine just what the terms of the next franchise should be, and it will publish its proposals in April. Managers from Network Rail and GWR were also in attendance.

The event was very interesting. I did not find the 30 minutes or so of presentations to be particularly informative, but the 2 hours of Q & A was excellent. Which is when it became abundantly clear that we may have a real chance here to influence future government policy with respect to how GWR develop their network. If enough of us complete the consultation document, we may influence the Department of Transport sufficiently to require GWR to engage with Network Rail, SCC and WSR to move towards restoring a community rail service in West Somerset. It will not happen tomorrow. But it may not happen at all unless enough of us actually do something to demonstrate this is needed. So, PLEASE follow the link below and complete this on-line form. It is 49 sections and many pages long, but note that there are only some 6 sections that need some reflection - sections 15, 18,19,33,35 and 36 are very important. Apart from the first 2 sections which require your e-mail and your postcode, most of the remainder can be largely ignored unless you have specific knowledge or a specific interest. You can also save the document and return to it when you like. All forms must be submitted by 21st February, and the more of us that do this the better.

Please note the two links here. The first is the actual consultation form itself, the second is the document that explains the process. The first is the most important, but the second is helpful if you would like to learn more.

http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/RJ00Y/

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/663801/great-western-rail-franchise-consultation-web.pdf 

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