England

First Great Western submits rail franchise bid

Train operator First Great Western has submitted its bid to extend its current contract by more than two years.

It follows a request by the government earlier in the year asking if it could operate trains on the Great Western line for another 33 months.

It followed the collapse of the West Coast Mainline deal.

The First Great Western franchise includes services from London Paddington to South Wales, the Cotswolds and the West of England.

Ten of the country's 16 rail franchises are due for renewal before the general election, expected in 2015.

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