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Author Topic: Saturday 8th November - dreadful Henley connections  (Read 3269 times)
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« on: November 09, 2014, 05:05:01 am »

There was a revised service running on Saturday 8th November between Reading and London which meant only 2 stopping trains an hour at Twyford instead of the usual 4. Nothing unusual about that - it has been happening reasonably frequently over the past few weeks, and will no doubt happen quite a bit more in the coming years for upgrade work.
Although posters said that the Henley branch was operating an amended timetable, there were only very minor tweaks - clearly nobody at FGW (First Great Western) had put any thought into it as the connections in both directions were awful!
Arrival from:
Reading xx27 -23 minute wait for Henley departure at xx50
London xx25 - 25 minute wait for Henley departure at xx50
Henley xx36 - 19 minute wait for London train at xx55 and a 21 minute wait for a Reading train at xx57

This is a situation that is could so easily be solved with a bit of simple retiming of the branch service and would dramatically reduce journey times. Let^s hope this is picked up on and doesn^t happen in the future when engineering works are taking place on Saturdays.

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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2014, 08:01:11 am »

This is a situation that is could so easily be solved with a bit of simple retiming of the branch service and would dramatically reduce journey times. Let^s hope this is picked up on and doesn^t happen in the future when engineering works are taking place on Saturdays.

Questions to be asked if you're suggesting going 13 minutes later ...

- what proportion of passengers arriving into Twyford from the north (i.e. Wargrave, Shiplake, Henley) change to other trains at Twyford - in other words, how many local passengers are there arriving at Tywford to do something there, or connecting onwards into buses, taxis, cars, etc?   And are there local passengers intermediate passengers connecting at branch stations / to or from buses (in particular) who's connections would be damaged?

- how is the local communications network to people in the area to let them know of changes?   Are people going to turn up at the branch line stations are start a bit miffed because they didn't know about the change and "feel" they are starting late?

- would the change have any effect of crew rotas / robustness of service (for example, is there an anticipation of erratic delays to trains arriving at Twyford due to short engineering stops anywhere which would break new connections)

My guess is that you'll come back with "not a problem on most of the above, but these are considerations needed.  A significant change of timetable for occasional / a few weekends really has negative vibes - on the TransWilts we've got some weekend passenger who are metaphorically pulling their hair out trying to find the right one of four different Sunday timetables over an 8 month period, and that's before a layer of engineering changes on specific / pairs / groups is added to make it all the more frustrating.  Yet ... we do understand why, we were warned well ahead of time (short notice changes still frustrate and we ain't got the comms totally right on that one yet).

There was talk for the Marlow and Henley branches of setting up a CRP (Community Rail Partnership) ... and indeed an increased passenger involvement, perhaps as an expansion of the user group but pulling in the local authorities too would help in poking into and informing people on things like this.  I know the local user groups has been looking at expanding in that way and it sounds to me, as an outsider to the area, sensible.  It also sounds like a challenge with (as I understand it) six local authorities involved.

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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