Leader of Plymouth City Council, Tudor Evans has been to see for himself how work is progressing on the mammoth task of installing free Wi-Fi on every First Great Western Train in the region.
The works to make this happen has involved engineers installing a separate aerial on every single carriage across 53 sets of trains!
Councillor Evans along with Plymouth’s business community have been pressing for Wi-Fi to be installed on trains in the region, due to lack of signal coverage on the main routes. He said: “Laira is a fantastic depot and I wanted to see for myself just how much work has gone into making free Wi-Fi across a network of trains this large possible.
“Plymouth is the 15th largest city in the country with fantastic potential for business to continue investing in the city. If we want to encourage investment in the city then we have to have to make sure that people have access to Wi-Fi when travelling.
“First know business and this investment of free Wi-Fi on their trains in the region will certainly make doing business in and around Plymouth a lot easier.”
Councillor Evans was also keen to visit the depot and thank everyone for their hard work over the last 12 months. Particularly with the difficulties the city faced after the collapse of the line at Dawlish.
Councillor Evans continued: “The depot at Laira was absolutely crucial in keeping the rail network moving after the storms caused the collapse of the rail line at Dawlish.
“Some staff from this depot moved away from their families to work at other depots so they could continue to make sure trains were kept running while the line was closed. I want to personally thank all the staff at Laira for their hard work.”
Work on fitting the High Speed Trains with Wi-Fi started in the Summer of 2014, with full completion due this Spring. Wi-Fi on the two daily Night Riviera services will now available.
First Great Western General Manager, West, David Crome said: “We recognise the key role that rail travel has in supporting the local and national economy and I am delighted that we have been able to extend our free Wi-Fi service.
“Over the coming months all high speed train passengers will be able to read their emails, browse the web, or simply catch up with friends while on the move.”