At the weekend Great Western Railway’s first new InterCity trains were launched, marking a significant step in the investment of local transport links, writes JUSTIN TOMLINSON.

Swindon has a proud heritage as a railway town, ever since Sir Daniel Gooch wrote to Brunel in 1840 putting Swindon forward as the ideal location for the GWR’s new engine works.

Great Western Railway’s seven year upgrade programme is the biggest since Brunel built the line two centuries ago.

As a fast growing town, it is vital that Swindon has reliable transport links to support this growth.

Swindon is a town on the up which continues to expand and attract more investment, and I am hopeful that the new trains will result in greater connections to London and the south west, helping to facilitate the growing town.

The new ten-car trains will aim to provide an additional 130 seats, with more legroom, and improved wifi.

Once the work is complete and the initial issues have been sorted, the number of seats between London and Wales will increase by 40 per cent at peak times.

I have worked closely with Great Western Railway and the Department Of Transport to support these upgrades to the railway, and improvements to Swindon station itself.

These improvements include new disabled parking bays, lifts and ramps to make the travelling experience more comfortable for disabled users and people with less mobility.

In March I was delighted to be able to show Rail Minister Paul Maynard the improvements and champion the Access for All project.

In addition to the upgrades, Great Western Railway has also brought the multi-million pound Electrification Training Centre to Swindon, which will enable Network Rail’s engineering ‘orange army’ to learn how to install and maintain the new system in a safe environment.

I am very proud that, two centuries after Gooch and Brunel brought the railway to Swindon, the town still has an important role to play in rail services in the area.

I welcomed the Government’s announcement earlier this week that it would be proceeding with its plans to introduce a new driving offence and increase penalties for dangerous and careless driving.

The proposals include creating the new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, as well as increasing the maximum jail time for dangerous driving and careless driving from 14 years to life.

Since being elected in 2010 I have worked hard to improve road safety both nationally and locally.

I supported the campaign which led to an increased punishment for using a mobile phone while driving, an offence which causes unnecessary misery and destruction on our roads.

And I have previously been given a national road safety award for campaigning to reform the way young people learn to drive, helping to prevent accidents in the early years of driving.

So I am pleased to see the Government is taking steps to improve road safety and reduce the number of accidents that happen each day.

These new laws will hopefully act as a deterrent and make people more conscious of the implication of driving recklessly.

Finally, today I am hosting a CPR training event which is open to the public at my community office. All are welcome and it starts at noon. Tomorrow I am also hosting the second annual Jobs Fair in partnership with the Orbital. This is on from 9am till 1pm with a number of local employers attending.