Told you he was a gentleman!
Thank you for your email.
It was good to meet you yesterday, and for Sue and I to be able to talk to you about some of the challenges we face. We hope you enjoyed, or will enjoy - as you mentioned it would be a late one with your Sun magazine deadline last night - a good birthday celebration.
As you know, when we travelled together on the 0806 from Oxford yesterday, the train left on time. Subsequently, our service was held up by a signal problem at Southall, arriving into Paddington 9 minutes behind schedule. There was also a problem with the signalling system that controls the route into Paddington. Network Rail informed us of these problems during the morning peak and their engineers worked very hard throughout the morning to keep delays to an absolute minimum.
This delay highlights one of the issues we discussed yesterday, the Oxford to London route is an intensively used section of the network, which we share with freight and other train operators' services. Any problem, such as the signalling, has a knock on effect resulting in some of the delays you have recently experienced. I mentioned the upcoming re-doubling of the Cotswolds line. This won't be complete for another 6 weeks, but the benefit will be improved punctuality for services on the route and fewer delays for you. We have other projects in hand to achieve the improvements we both want to see.
Getting you to your destination on time is our priority. Sue and I will continue to work hard to achieve that with the First Great Western and Network Rail teams.