02:00PM, Friday 24 January 2020
Royal Borough leader Cllr Andrew Johnson has launched an attack on the new train timetable, calling it ‘atrocious’.
From December 15, Transport for London (TfL) started operating stopping services to and from Paddington ahead of it becoming part of the Elizabeth Line from 2022.
The Great Western Railway (GWR) timetable changed on the same day and it continues to operate some fast services from Maidenhead to London – but evening peak fast trains to the capital have been scrapped.
Cllr Johnson expressed his disapproval on Twitter, saying: “The service provided by [GWR] between Maidenhead and Paddington has been nothing short of atrocious since the start of the year. Passengers deserve better and I shall be writing to express my concerns.”
He later tweeted to say ‘the early morning fast trains have been very poor with numerous cancellations or late running’.
The first off-peak train from Maidenhead in the morning is at 09:35, while in the evening, the 16:50, 17:19, 17:37, 17:51 and 18:20 services from Paddington to Maidenhead are all peak.
A GWR spokesman said the time of the morning and evening peak has not altered, but the company had been ‘effectively discounting’ the cost of travelling on peak services prior to December.
He said: “These have always been peak-time trains and we need to manage expected heavier loadings on our fast and semi-fast trains, protecting the services for season and peak-ticket holders.
“If we did not, we run a greater risk of crowded trains, where season and peak-ticket holders would be less likely to get a seat.
“When Thames Trains operated local stopping services, they removed the peak restriction to differentiate from what was then First Great Western fast trains.
“This helped to spread customer loadings so fast trains did not become overcrowded. From [December 15] we returned to this differ-entiation limiting off-peak travel to stopping services.”
On cancellations, GWR added: “While the new timetable is clearly good news for customers, it does not insulate us from day-to-day isolated issues that any train operator has to manage.
“There has been a number of unrelated infrastructure challenges in recent weeks including points failures, fatalities and flooding on our network which have all affected our ability to deliver the service level our customers expect.”
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