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Monday, 22 January 2018
PASSENGERS on the Henley branch line now have more time to get connecting train services from Twyford.
On Monday, train operator Great Western Railway introduced a six-minute cushion before the mainline service leaves the station, which it says will reduce missed connections.
It follows the decision to extend a new shuttle service to Wargrave, which began stopping there every 30 minutes from Tuesday last week.
There was widespread disruption on the first day, so the train operator revised the timetable to ensure passengers aren’t stranded when trains are late.
In a letter to commuter groups, GWR chief executive Mark Hopwood said: “I am sorry that there have been delays and cancellations on your new train services. It is very clear that we need to allow a greater connection time between the mainline service and the branch shuttle.
“This will give customers the additional time they need to make the connection. We need to check the implications for other connections, but we are working on it now and I will make sure you are updated.”
Philip Meadowcroft, who founded the Wargrave User Group and was one of those to campaign for the shuttle service to be extended to Wargrave, said: “The change will benefit a considerably larger number of people coming back to Wargrave at that time.” Previously, every other off-peak service had missed Wargrave, meaning the village only had an hourly service compared with the more regular service for passengers from Henley and Shiplake.
GWR said the half-hourly shuttle service would operate along the whole line when the track was electrified but this has been deferred indefinitely.
In October, the company announced that all services would stop at Wargrave from the new year after Network Rail agreed to amend its timetable rules. This coincided with the launch of another new timetable in which direct trains from Henley to London were scrapped.
GWR says the change will benefit most passengers using the line and services lost during the day have been replaced by extra trains in the evenings.
The Wargrave stop was then reinstated on every branch line service following changes to timetable rules.
The previous rules stated that journey times should be rounded up to the nearest minute, meaning that the 11 minutes and 30 seconds it takes each train to travel from Henley to Twyford was recorded as 12 minutes.
This left just three minutes at each terminal for a turnaround in order to stick to the half-hourly schedule but no service was permitted more than three consecutive three-minute turnarounds as it would leave no room for unexpected delays. Network Rail agreed to alter the rules.
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