Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Wargrave passengers failed by rail service

TRAIN company chiefs have admitted that they failed to communicate properly with passengers from Wargrave during this year’s Henley Royal Regatta

TRAIN company chiefs have admitted that they failed to communicate properly with passengers from Wargrave during this year’s Henley Royal Regatta.

Last month, the Wargrave Users’ Group criticised a lack of information from Great Western Railway on services to and from the village during the five-day regatta in June and July.

It complained that trains failed to stop at Wargrave station during peak times on the first three days of the event and that none was available on the Saturday.

The group also said the replacement bus service from Station Road was poorly communicated to residents and it only turned up three times during the day on both the Wednesday and Thursday of the regatta.

Now GWR has apologised for the lack of information and admitted that it “made a mistake”. The apology was given at a meeting between group members Gill van Zwanenberg, Joy Haynes, Tim Hodges and Philip and Jill Meadowcroft and GWR’s head of public policy Jane Jones, special events manager Phil West, Twyford station manager David Pinder and Mr Pinder’s successor Alison Hanscomb.

Mr Meadowcroft said the officials acknowledged that the regatta timetable, designed by Mr West, had not been its “finest hour” and the company was keen to improve its relationship with rail passengers from the village.

He said the members of the group replied that they would like to see a return to the timetable used for the 2015 regatta, which required no replacement buses.

Mr Meadowcroft said: “We stressed to GWR that the withdrawal of Wargrave services on regatta Saturday was a serious and totally avoidable blunder.

“WUG suggested that instead of the bus only operating every hour, GWR should consider a half-hourly off- peak service between Twyford and Wargrave.”

A spokesman for GWR said: “We fully accept that the information provided for Wargrave customers about revised services for the regatta was not good enough.

“If we make a mistake we will say so and we have apologised to the Wargrave Users’ Group.

“We know how important good information is to our customers and we are sorry. For this year’s regatta we operated bus services for Wargrave on the Saturday and during off-peak on other regatta days. This helped us to manage the enhanced timetable for the branch line.”

GWR also asked for passengers’ views on posters warning of disruption on the Henley branch line next week.

From Monday to Friday, the direct service from Henley to Paddington at 7.42am and from Paddington to Henley at 5.12pm will end at Twyford, so passengers will have to get a connection from there.

This is because GWR will be carrying out flood prevention work between Didcot and Oxford.

The group suggested the poster could be put on the rain shelter at Wargrave station where it would be most visible.

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