British train operating company Great Western Railway (GWR) has received a new national rail contract (NRC) from the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT).

The new contract will enable GWR to run the Greater Western network until 21 June 2025. The contract also includes a three-year extension option that can be authorised following the approval of the Secretary of State.

The new NRC will commence after the current contractual agreement ends on 26 June 2022.

In a statement, GWR said that it will continue to focus on improving customer experience and delivering sustainable services.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a National Rail Contract by the Department for Transport, which is a sign of its confidence in GWR as a trusted operator, and means we can continue to build on welcoming more people back to the railway.

“We look forward to working with our rail partners to develop services designed to meet changing customer needs, and putting passengers at the heart of an updated, modern railway.”

GWR assumed the Great Western franchise in 2015.

The customer satisfaction levels have increased from 81% to 91% over this period, particularly due to the introduction of high-speed Intercity Express Trains and timetable changes in December 2019.

Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Great Western Railway, and excited by its plans to deliver more benefits for local communities.

“During the pandemic, GWR was instrumental in keeping critical services moving and this new contract will see it continue to deliver our ambitious Plan for Rail and provide a fantastic service for passengers.”

GWR is owned by transport company FirstGroup. Recently, FirstGroup turned down a £1.2bn takeover proposal from US private equity firm I Squared Capital.