Train service 'atrocious', says Royal Borough leader

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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  • Chris Bailey

    17:39, 27 January 2020

    As I have previously written Crossrail offers very little to the people of Maidenhead. Just when GWR had got its act together with new fast comfortable trains at regular intervals 7 days a week...we take a truly massive step backwards with far fewer fast trains and numerous new ticket restrictions on fewer fast rush hour evening services. TFL trains are indeed underground trains designed for short 15 to 20 minute journeys inside central London. They are not suitable for destinations that can be 25 to 35 miles outside of central London. They have far fewer seats, no toilet facilities and are significantly slower that the GWR services that they have replaced. The whole concept of Crossrail was wrong from the outset and has ended up costing the tax payer dearly. The service should have stopped at Ealing Broadway (where it could have interchanged with GWR) and not been extended to Slough, Maidenhead and Reading.

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    • rogersmith02

      13:31, 28 January 2020

      The underground has served places such as Amersham, Chesham, Epping and Upminster for years. It is not solely for a 15 / 20 minute central London journey.

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  • Pursuer

    12:04, 26 January 2020

    Before the wonderful Crossrail, now Elizabeth Line we had a 15 minute interval service from GWR for a large part of the day- with loos. As for those on stations- firstly try & find them,if you do they may well be locked or 'out of order'. Maidenhead is exceptional - mostly available & invariably clean. However jump off at Ealing Broadway for the Tube where, if the toilets are open, then they are just about usable, but a pair of 'wellies' is a good idea.

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  • Unhappy Commuter

    20:15, 24 January 2020

    Completely agree! Since the timetable change and the removal of the 08:06 fast service to Paddington the trains have been a nightmare! The remaining 8:02 service is now extremely over crowded and sometimes can’t even fit everyone trying to get on at maidenhead. Don’t think any of the journeys I’ve made in 2020 have arrived on time either - Sort it out GWR!

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