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Tuesday, 24 April 2018
PASSENGERS are benefiting from a new train timetable on the Henley branch line, say rail campaigners.
The timetable came into effect on Sunday, with a half-hourly off-peak service replacing the previous 45-minute shuttle service.
This offers faster travel for residents of Henley, Shiplake and Twyford but it also means Wargrave has only an hourly service during those times.
Neil Gunnell, of Henley Trains, said the early feedback from passengers had been positive.
He said: “The rush-hour timings haven’t changed but the new off-peak service is a good sign for the vitality of the line and good for business in Henley.
“The half-hourly service means trains leave at the same time each hour and make the same connections, which is much easier to follow.
“We are really pleased to see that the half-hourly service also applies on Saturdays and Sundays.
“It’s not perfect for everyone but Great Western Railway has ensured that all trains up to 11am and from 3.30pm onwards stop at all stations. People worried when electrification was delayed but they’ve actually put more services in.”
Mr Gunnell also said the 7.09am service from Twyford to London, which is caught by connecting commuters from Henley, no longer stopped at Maidenhead.
“It’s less full of standing people and provides a more comfortable journey,” he said. “Electric trains are also now running to Maidenhead and travellers have commented on the improvement in space.”
Philip Meadowcroft, of the Wargrave User Group, said: “It’s too early to make any sensible conclusions, although there were delays on Monday and Wednesday.
“We need to have more experiences of what’s going on because it may be that these are just normal delays.”
GWR says the change will benefit the majority of passengers using the line and any services lost during the day will be replaced by extra trains in the evenings.
It has also said the half-hourly service would be expanded to the whole line when the track is electrified but this project was deferred indefinitely in November.
GWR is also planning to scrap through trains to London in December, meaning all passengers will have to change at Twyford.
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