DIRECT rail services being introduced between the Westcountry and South Wales will help family and friends reconnect over the festive season – as well as providing useful links longer term.

From tomorrow (Monday 20 December) GWR will extend services between Cardiff and Taunton to Penzance, providing direct services between the two cities for the first time.

The trains will provide almost 700 extra seats every day between Taunton and Plymouth, with trains from Cardiff to Taunton being joined up with existing Cornish mainline services between Plymouth and Penzance.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “Good rail services are key to economic recovery and to decarbonisation.

“We believe that this new timetable, better linking services in Devon, will provide our communities with the help and support they need as together we rebuild and renew for the future.”

In line with the latest Government advice, GWR is encouraging customers to travel safely. People are reminded to:

• Wear a face covering

• Wash your hands more regularly

• Buy tickets online, on a smart card or by using the GWR app

GWR’s enhanced cleaning regime includes:

• A 24% increase in cleaning hours every week since March 2020

• Sanitising (fogging) of 1,120 vehicles every 4 weeks

• Carrying out 2,150 on board surface tests (ATP) every four weeks, to ensure the effectiveness of cleaning

• 272 train cleaning processes reviewed, and many adapted

• Hand sanitising facilities at key stations across its network.