|MARLOW - MAIDENHEAD PASSENGERS' ASSOCIATION|
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Firast Great Western Apologises for Reading Chaos
MMPA has received an apology to all members from FGW Performance Manager, Andy Penrose, for the disruption to serices after the Easter shutdown. Network Rail's engineering work to connect the new platforms overran and only four through platforms are available this week. To make matters worse, units that were outstationed during the shutdown were delayed getting back to the depot, and turbos coming out of the depot have to reverse at Reading West and Tilehurst in order to get into Reading Station. This in turn delayed incoming services.
We also heard that the branch unit ran out of diesel over the weekend, leading to a bus replacement between Marlow and Bourne End.
FGW has introduced a thinned-out timetable until the end of the week. The full service should be resumed on April 8th. Please check your journey before travelling.
MMPA would like to express its appreciation to the staff on the ground who have had to deal with this difficult situation.
Free Fares Database Access
ATOC’s Fares Data are now freely available here.
Real Time Bus Information at Bourne End
Real-time bus information display is at long last operational at Bourne End Station. It is only provided on the south side of the road, for buses
towards High Wycombe.
Enabling Work for Crossrail
Network Rail has advised that it is conducting enabling works between Stockley Junction and Twyford for the new Crossrail signalling
system from 15th October until May 2013. This involves access to a number of points including Cannon Lane, Maidenhead for the delivery of materials.
More information can be found in
this letter (PDF).
Crossrail Works over Easter Weekend
Network Rail will be installing signalling equipment in preparation for Crossrail from 07:00 on Good Friday, 29th March and 07:00 on Easter Monday, 1st April between West Drayton and Maidenhead, including around Coalman's Way, Taplow and two miles either side of Maidenhead Station. The work will include drilling rails and sleepers, excavating soil and using screw piling to construct concrete bases. Some disturbance may be noticed.
There is a 24-hour helpline on 08457 114141 or you can email enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FGW has confirmed that the 23:18 Mon-Fri from Paddington to Oxford is still the connecting service for the 23:50 Maidenhead to Marlow.
The printed timetable booklets show the 23:00 as the connection from Paddington.
Bourne End Bridge
Progress at last! We understand that the contractors hope to start work on the bridge on 15th January, subject to reaching agreement with loacl authorities and landowners regarding logistics and environmental issues. The work will involve grit blasting and measures will need to be taken to avoid detritus falling into the river. This will inevitably cause some noise intrusion for nearby residents.
Update: We notice that work is now proceeding on the bridge deck,
Royal Borough Bus Changes
Revised routes and timetables for RBWM services operated by Courtney buses came into force last week.
FGW Ran Most Overcrowded Train in 2011
DfT figures based on peak hour arrivals in major cities show that the most overcrowded train in 2011 was the 07:44 Henley-on-Thames to Paddington
which carried 179 passengers in excess of capacity (PIXC), a load factor of 180%. This was a three car train which FGW has subsequently strengthened
to four cars. After sweeping the board in 2010, FGW has only two trains in the 2011 top ten, the other being the 06:30 Banbury to Paddington in 5th
place with 158%.
The new timetables are in force from 9th December. Marlow and Henley branch timetables are unchanged. There are some changes to
connecting services mostly after 22:00 on weekdays.
RH Transport Cewases Operation
We understand that RH Transport, also known as Hutt of Flintstock, ceased trading at lunchtime today. The company is a major bus operator in
South Oxfordshire. All services have ceased and no buses and Oxfordshire County Council is trying to arrange replacement services and has reached
agreement with Stagecoach to run some services tomorrow. More information.
GW Franchise Renewal On Pause Following WCML Débacle
The government has put the Great Western franchise renewal process on hold following the West Coast Main Line fiasco which resulted in
the government cancelling the award of the franchise to First Group at one minute past midnight this morning. The DfT's franchising process
is now in disarray following its admission of serious flaws in the way in which the bids were evaluated, specifically in the areas of inflation
and risk assessment.
Our long time booking clerk at Bourne End, Bernie Wheeler retired on July 3rd. He will certainly be missed at the station but we wish him a long and happy retirement. Click on the image for a larger photo. (Mike Walker)
Thames Valley Punctuality Falls to 82.4%
According to an itv.com report “almost one in
five services on Great Western Routes in the Thames valley have been late according to official figures”. The worst delays have been on the
Reading to Bedwyn and Basingstoke routes. Some delays were caused by infrastructure problems and other operators, but there have also been failures
with FGW’s trains. Season ticket holders can get a 5% discount when renewing their tickets if average punctuality over the preceding twelve
months falls below 89%. It is currently 88.2%.
Thames Valley Branches to be Electrified?
The Secretary of State for Transport has stated in her High Level output Specification (HLOS) for Control Period 5 (2014-19) that she "wishes to extend the scope of electrification of the Great Western Main Line" to include the branch lines from Slough to Windsor, Maidenhead to Marlow and Twyford to Henley-on-Thames as well as the freight line from Acton to Willesden. She believes that the industry should be able to deliver these schemes concurrent with Main Line electrification.
In typical government style the DfT has reannounced many schemes which are already underway or are committed or are operator initiatives. Of the roughly £9bn cost of the listed schemes only £4.1bn is actually new. The investment funds listed total £905M.
Other schemes of local interest are the Heathrow Western Access link form Terminal 5 to the Relief lines near Langley, and electrification of
the Reading to Basingstoke line at 25kV AC as part of the Southampton to Nuneaton freight route. The East-West route from Oxford to Bedford will be
electrified as it is reopened but Chiltern’s proposed service from Oxford to High Wycombe and Marylebone will be diesel operated.
Great Marlow Line - it’s Official!
That's the name chosen by FGW’s publicity department, and promotional brochures are being distributed to FGW stations in the London & Thames Valley area. The brochure can be downloaded here (PDF 2.23MB).
Derailment at Reading Depot
A derailment at Reading depot this morning trapped a third of FGW’s Turbo units in the depot, leading to many cancellations and short trains.
Services are not expected to return to normal until 16:00. Check your journey before travelling. Off-peak branch line services appear to be operating
normally. Update: most services were back to normal by mid afternoon, and Reading-Basingstoke by 16:00.
New Timetables from 14th May 2012
First Great Western timetables are available
Update: We have now sent out the pocket timetables and newsletters to members in the area. The Marlow line timetable has some discrepancies
between the connecting times shown for the branch line services and the arrival times at Paddington shown in the Paddington-Maidenhead summary table.
Please check connections against booklet 8 or the Network Rail timetable.
A 7.5 tonne weight limit has been imposed on the bridge on the Old Bath Road (A3032) between Sonning and Twyford and is likely to remain for 18 months. As a result, buses on Service 850 are unable to serve Charvil and are being diverted via New Bath Road (A4) and Wargrave Road (A321) with a temporary bus stop located at Park View Drive on the diversion route.
This also affects routes 127 and 128. There is a temporary bus stop at the side of the Wee Waif next to the petrol station served by
west bound buses on route 127/128. More information.
Four Bidders Short-listed for GW Franchise
First Group, Arriva (DB), National Express and Stagecoach have been shortlisted as bidders for the Great Western franchise. It is anticipated
that the Invitations to Tender will be issued in May, with the successful bidder being announced in December. The new franchise will run for 15
years from April 2013.
Download MMPA’s response to the Great Western Franchise Consultation (PDF).
Please be aware that the FGW timetable booklets do not show the correct times for Sunday services after 12th February. This is because the services for the Cotswold line are changing three times during the period of the timetable owing to engineering work on that line. Also FGW trimetables do not show all high speed services calling at Maidenhead. Please refer to Table 116 (see above) for more complete information. Several pocket timetables have been reissued with suffic "a" after the number for Sunday services from 19th February.
The RMT union has confirmed that a 72-hour strike of Tube Lines staff in support of a dispute over pensions and benefits (in particular parity
with former Metronet staff) will take place from 16:00 on 24th April to 16:00 on 27th April. Tube Lines staff are responsible for
maintenance and upgrade work on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines. We do not yet know what effect this will have on services.
Carousel Route 1 Withdrawn from 16th April
Carousel Buses Route 1 between Bourne End and High Wycombe is withdrawn as from 16th April 2012.
New services 155 (Marlow-Maidenhead) and 158 (Marlow-High Wycombe) have been operating since 1st April, albeit with very few journeys.
More on Extra Capacity
The new vehicles (see below) will be deployed as follows:
Two three-car Class 150 units will operate weekday commuter services between Reading and Basingstoke.
Other services will be strengthened as follows:
* We have asked FGW exactly which trains are being strengthened as the above details are far from clear. Ware awaiting a response.
Great Western Franchise Consultation
You can find MMPA’s proposed response to the consultation here (PDF 179kB).
Carousel Taken Over
Go-Ahead Group has announced the forthcoming acquisition of Carousel Buses Limited, based in High Wycombe. The acquisition will take
place on Saturday 3 March 2012. Carousel operates around 50 buses on commercial services and school contracts, including route 1 to Bourne End.
Cow Lane Bridge Replacement Time Lapse Video
The bridge carrying the GW Main Line over Cow Lane in Reading was replaced in five days over Christmas 2011. The new bridge was constructed on site beforehand. You can watch the Network Rail / Bam Nuttall time-lapse video here.
FGW Announces Extra Capacity
First Great Western has announced that it is investing in 46 extra carriages for London and Thames Valley, which will deliver
an extra 4,500 seats in the morning and evening peaks. Details on the News page.
Documentary Series looks at FGW
Century Films is currently making a documentary series for the BBC about the rail network. Told from the point-of-view of staff and passengers, it‘s exploring the upgrade of stations and tracks, the problems that bad weather can cause, the impact of crime ... just about every aspect of daily railway life! As part of this Rob McCabe is very keen to get in contact with people who regularly commute into Paddington (First Great Western trains). The upgrade work that‘s happening on this route is a big focus for the series, and he wants to include the experience of passengers as well. So if you travel in and out of London Paddington, be it from Reading or Bristol or somewhere in-between, do contact Rob on 07775 942866 or e-mail.
December 2011 Timetables
The new timetables commenced on 11th December. You can download the FGW leaflets from here.
Network Rail timetable links are on the home page. In particular, users may prefer Table 117 to the FGW booklet because it includes all trains calling at Slough and it mostly keeps trains in the correct sequence.
The new Chiltern timetable booklet is here (PDF 1.7MB).
FGW Announces Extra Capacity Across the Network
First Great Western (FGW) has announced that it will be investing in 46 additional carriages for London and the Thames Valley. This represents an extra 4,500 seats in the morning and evening peaks to and from London – an increase of around 9%. This will be delivered through:
Customers should see improvements from Spring 2012, with all the additional vehicles in service by the end of September.
FGW MD Mark Hopwood said “There will still be some very busy services at peak times. The agreement is however a further
very significant step forward and one that will improve the quality of service for many of our customers. It is also a practical
demonstration of our determination to continue to invest and develop services for London and the Thames Valley throughout this
franchise (and hopefully beyond!)”
Chiltern Mainline Timetable starts 5th September
The accelerated Chiltern Mainline timetable begins on September 5th. There are significant changes including loco hauled trains between
Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street. More information here.
Update: There were some teething troubles due to signalling problems but the timetable has now settled down. However there is overcrowding on peak services from High Wycombe, Beaconsfield and Gerards Cross. These should be alleviated when more refurbished Mk.III coaching stock arrives in the new year.
New Shelter at Marlow
We are very pleased to report that the new shelter has been installed at Marlow. We are told by FGW that new cycle storage facilities
at Marlow and Cookham should be completed this week.
Information System at Maidenhead
The new CIS at Maidenhead is now fully operational. This can't be said of the trains which often show the wrong next station.
CCTV for Marlow and Furze Platt
Closed circuit television supervision will soon be installed at Marlow and Furze Platt stations, thanks to much lobbying by MMPA and negotiation
between the parties concerned, in particular FGW and the local councils.
Bus Shelter for Bourne End
This project is now going ahead following the resolution of uncertainty over ownership of the land. We expect real time bus information to be provided
for buses in the High Wycombe direction only.
Last updated 19th April, 2013