South west train services will be transformed from December, when Great Western Railway will introduce faster journey times and more frequent services to key locations. 

Train services between Devon and Cornwall and London will be restructured to deliver a more consistent pattern throughout the day, offering faster journey times and more frequent services to key locations from December this year. 

It is the biggest timetable change on the network since 1976, with GWR’s Intercity Express Trains (IETs) taking advantage of recent infrastructure improvements.

Richard Burningham, from the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership said: “This is great news for the local and regional economies of Devon and Cornwall, for the environment, and for rail customers.

"More seats, more trains and faster journeys will help with inward investment, with the switch from cars to public transport and will be a great support for visitors and commuters alike. 

“It is not just the journey time savings in long distance journeys to London, it is also about the significant improvement to many local trains across the two counties. 

"It is no exaggeration to say that Devon and Cornwall local services will be the best they have ever been and it is great to see that we will now see the full benefit of the investment in both track and train by Christmas.”

Three more services a day will run between Paddington and the south west, running non-stop between Reading and Taunton. Customers will see journey times reduce by up to 14 minutes on journeys between Penzance and the capital.

A two-hourly semi-fast service between Paddington and Exeter St Davids will call at Reading, Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, Taunton and Tiverton Parkway.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “While December may seem a long time away for many, we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to implement the biggest timetable change on this network since 1976, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains are bringing.

“In providing more frequent and quicker journeys our new timetable will for the vast majority of users quite literally mean ‘all change please’ and we are looking forward to publishing further details soon.”

Changes will also take place to branch line services, designed to improve capacity at the busiest times of the day and provide a more consistent service throughout the day.

Timetables to Barnstaple, the Devon Metro and Looe will all be "recast".

Mike Gallop, interim route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The timetable change this December will be the biggest since 1976 and will mean faster journeys and more frequent services for passengers.

“It follows unprecedented investment in railway infrastructure including electrification, improved signalling, upgraded stations and much more which together with the introduction of new trains will transform rail travel.”

The timetable is expected to come into effect on December 15, and the plans are subject to final industry approval including from Network Rail. It is expected to be published on September 15.