Monday, 23 July 2018

Train users angry at woeful service

TRAIN users in Wargrave have branded services during the Henley Royal Regatta as “the worst possible”

TRAIN users in Wargrave have branded services during the Henley Royal Regatta as “the worst possible” for passengers.

The Wargrave Users’ Group, which was set up in November 2014 to represent commuters in the village, says trains failed to stop at the village’s station during peak times on the first three days of the annual event held two weeks ago, and none at all were available on Saturday.

The group added that a replacement bus service from Station Road was poorly communicated to residents and only turned up three times during the day on both Wednesday and Thursday.

Users’ group founder Philip Meadowcroft, of Watermans Way, criticised Great Western Railway for the regatta programme.

He says the regular half-hourly train service to Twyford ran as usual in the early morning from Wednesday, June 29 to Friday, July 1 but stopped from 8am to 4.30pm on all three days. It then resumed until about 7.45pm, when there were no trains until after 10pm.

Mr Meadowcroft said: “On Regatta Saturday, not one single service in either direction stopped at Wargrave. On Sunday, there was no bus service and only every other train stopped at Wargrave.

“The return from Henley would speed you through Wargrave, emptying out at Twyford and then needing one to catch, or wait, for the two-hourly bus service to somewhere in Wargrave. That was absurd, woeful, and in total disregard for Wargrave users.”

Mr Meadowcroft says posters put up at Twyford station by GWR said a bus service in Wargrave would run from “Wargrave Road”, even though there is no street by that name in the village.

He added: “On Wednesday and Thursday, the shuttle service between Twyford and Henley comprised only three coaches instead of six. That was an unforgivable blunder by GWR.”

One couple from Wargrave had to cancel a planned lunch with friends in London on the Friday of the regatta because of the confusion over train travel.

Austin and Felicity O’Malley, of Watermans Way, said: “We met many disappointed people who had come down to the station expecting to board a train to Henley.

“There was neither shuttle bus nor information concerning the likelihood of one. Some had walked down from the High Street and were desperately phoning for taxis.”

Mr Meadowcroft says GWR apologised and offered to meet with the users’ group to discuss how the service can be improved for next year’s regatta.

Neil Gunnell, of Henley Trains, says the timetable for the regatta week was published on posters in advance of the event and that the group advised Wargrave passengers on the rush hour trains to catch to make connections.

He said: “GWR did fail to make a timetable leaflet available this year but all online sources for the revised schedule, as happens every year, were up to date for people to check.”

GWR did not respond to requests for comment.

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