SWINDON train company First Great Western has been forced to make £29m worth of improvements.

First Great Western (FGW) says it will now take action to ensure cancellations and delays are lowered for customers.

The company was ordered to make the changes by the Department for Transport.

The rail firm has admitted that performance has fallen short of its own standards and passenger expectations, after consistently rating at the bottom of performance league tables.

Some of the investment includes £7m worth of customer service information improvements at stations, £5m on upgrading the London and Thames Valley fleet and £4m spent on FGW's customer service training.

TravelWatch SouthWest, a public transport watchdog, said the investment was great news for rail travellers.

"We welcome today's announcement of a programme to improve the reliability and capacity of First Great Western rail services," said a spokesman.

"The company has provided the most unreliable, overcrowded and expensive services since it won the franchise two years ago. At last someone appears to be listening to passenger complaints."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus said that it was high time the FGW franchise addressed unacceptably high levels of train cancellations.

"Passengers have, for some time, been telling us about the consistent failure of First Great Western to deliver and our National Passenger Survey showed them as the worst performing train company," he said.

"We welcome the action being taken by the Department of Transport and we will be watching First Great Western's progress very closely."

Moir Lockhead, FirstGroup chief executive said: "This additional investment of £29m will directly benefit FGW passengers and underpins our plans to improve the quality and reliability of services we provide.

"We are encouraged that during January 2008 performance improved and cancellations were at their lowest level for 18 months and this trend has continued during February."

The company has make available a further 500,000 off-peak travel tickets for passengers and will recruit new drivers, guards and technicians.