Monday, 23 July 2018

Don’t forget us, say rail travellers

NEW rail services between Henley and Twyford should not miss out Wargrave, say travellers.

NEW rail services between Henley and Twyford should not miss out Wargrave, say travellers.

More than 20 villagers attended the first meeting of the Wargrave Users’ Group, where they called for more support from their counterparts in Henley.

The meeting at the Bull pub was led by Philip Meadowcroft, who founded the group in November, claiming that the Henley Branch User Group was “Henley-centric” and didn’t take into account the concerns of Wargrave  residents.

Train operator First Great Western is proposing to run half-hour shuttle trains between Henley and Twyford, via Shiplake, all day, whereas currently the off-peak service is every 45 minutes.

This would result in only an hourly off-peak service to and from Wargrave.

Mr Meadowcroft, of Watermans Way, Wargrave, said: “The excessive Henley-user weighting to HBUG’s committee does seem to be inappropriate since it regards Shiplake, Wargrave and Twyford as ’outreach’ places, giving the perception that they are subordinate to Henley’s interests.

“This goes to the heart of why I founded WUG and why our MP Theresa May has backed us up so resolutely to ensure Wargrave suffers no loss of service at any time.

“Until HBUG shows it wholeheartedly supports Wargrave users in avoiding any loss of service, WUG will continue to develop its separate existence and its recognition by Network Rail and First Great Western as a valid stakeholder.

“My thanks to all those ’Wuggers’ who came to the meeting. I believe they left the HBUG committee members present in no doubt of the depth of concern they have about possible future timetable changes as well as the absolute need for HBUG to decide and make it abundantly clear that it considers and represents the needs of all branch line users equally.”

Patrick Fleming, deputy chairman of Henley Branch Users Group, says his group has held meetings in Henley, Shiplake and Wargrave in order to get the views of passengers along the branch line.

He said: “We were very pleased to meet up before our meeting in Wargrave with local rail users. We heard their views and it has reinforced our view that we must represent all the users of the branch line.

“Following a very informative meeting with Network Rail in December to discuss electrification, we will be meeting them again in July and will follow up with a report on progress. We continue to work with FGW on day-to-day issues.”

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