RAIL passengers are being asked for their views on the future management of the Great Western line that runs through Swindon.

The Government has launched a consultation to give people the opportunity to air their views on how the line should be run.

A significant amount of investment is planned for the network in this region over the coming years, and so the Government wants to gather views before the franchise, currently held by First Great Western, expires in 2015.

Network Rail is in the process of electrifying the line from London Paddington to Wales in a project costing about £7.5bn.

The Crossrail project is also expected to increase the number of trains that can run between Swindon and Paddington, while a fleet of electric trains for the line is also being purchased.

The Government says the consultation is to show a commitment to putting the views of passengers first.

The Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said: “These are exciting times for the Great Western franchise. “Extensive electrification, new state-of-the-art trains and the introduction of Crossrail services will deliver a world-class railway that improves services for passengers and drives economic growth.

“To make sure we make the most of this massive investment we want to hear from anyone who has an interest in these vital routes. This is further proof of our commitment to put passengers at the heart of our franchising system.”

Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson echoed this sentiment.

He said: “We have seen record levels of investment into our railway network not seen since the time of Brunel .

“It is vital that, through this consultation, we as a local community and local economy help to shape the future priorities for our vital railway network.

“We have growing demand and customer expectations so it is important any future investment matches this.

“I am confident that with all this significant investment we will continue to see marked improvements in our service.”

Work is continuing on the electrification of the line, which recently saw the Dauntsey Bridge replaced as part of the project.

l To comment on the consultation visit www.gov.uk/government/news/ have-your-say-on-the-great-western-rail-franchise. The deadline for comments is June 26.