Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Henley commuters grill rail chiefs

RAIL chiefs say tackling disruption and preventing missed connections are their priorities.

RAIL chiefs say tackling disruption and preventing missed connections are their priorities.

Mark Hopwood, managing director of Great Western Railway, and John Goldsmith, of Crossrail, made the pledge at the annual meeting of the Henley Branch Users? Group.

More than 50 people attended the meeting, including rail passengers from Wargrave, Charvil and Shiplake.

Both speakers were quizzed by members of the public who raised concerns about car parking in Twyford, overcrowding and failure of the last evening branch line train to connect with the 11.18pm service from Paddington on occasions.

Wargrave users raised the new half-hourly shuttle service from Twyford to Henley, which would miss out the village on every other train, leaving Wargrave with an hour between services rather than the current 45 minutes.

Mr Hopwood said the new service would need to miss one station to begin with and that whichever one was chosen would make some commuters unhappy.

He said: ?If we consulted along the line and they all said they were happy with the current 45-minute service then we would keep it but in Henley they are very happy with a new-30 minute service.?

Mr Hopwood said new high speed electric trains would be introduced between London and Bristol by 2017, alongside others on suburban services.

He also admitted that recent disruption on the line was due to signalling problems following engineering work but that Great Western Railway was working with Network Rail to resolve them.

He said that future engineering work could be done in the evenings rather than at weekends.

Mr Goldsmith outlined the timetable for the introduction of Crossrail services between 2017 and 2019, with trains set to run from Reading to London by December 2019.

He confirmed the service from Reading willl stop at most stations on the route into London and will be complemented by GWR services on the same route.

When asked why the new Crossrail trains would not have toilets, Mr Goldsmith said these were removed to allow more room for seating.

He said: ?The majority of people on Crossrail will only be on for a short time. There will be toilets in the station.?

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