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Author Topic: Thames Valley services from December 2019 - GWR press release  (Read 19203 times)
grahame
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« on: July 26, 2019, 03:49:52 pm »

Press release from GWR (Great Western Railway) Media Centre

Quote
Friday 26th July 2019

Train services in the Thames Valley will be transformed from December as GWR speeds up its timetable offering faster journey times, more seats and more frequent services.

In the biggest timetable change on the network since 1976, 50% of GWR’s stopping services between Reading and London Paddington will be transferred to MTR Crossrail. GWR will continue to operate services between Reading and London Paddington calling at intermediate station stops, with many extending to Didcot and being formed of 12 carriage Class 387 electric trains in the evening peak where they are needed most.

These will dovetail with MTR Crossrail’s stopping services to provide an improved overall service with significant extra capacity on the Reading to Paddington corridor.

On the popular Reading to Newbury route, passengers will benefit from an increase to three trains an hour, journey time improvements of around five minutes, and a more consistent service throughout the day with up to two fast services an hour running through to London Paddington.

New Intercity Express Trains already operating between Reading and London Paddington will also see journey time improvements; average direct journey times will consistently be 22 mins, compared to between 25 and 30 minutes today.

[continues]

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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2019, 04:05:37 pm »

Cue complaints from branch lines in trhe Thames Valley about connections not being made between MTR/Crossrail & GWR (Great Western Railway) services....
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2019, 04:32:57 pm »

The existing 30-minute interval during the peaks of Paddington<>Maidenhead<>Twyford<>Reading and beyond to/from Didcot GWR (Great Western Railway) services continues.  They should all be 12-car 387s, providing (arguably) the best ever service to/from Maidenhead and Twyford.  It will be interesting to see what happens to them after The Elizabeth Line commences running through London and what commuters from Maidenhead and Twyford get in terms of fast services.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2019, 04:44:35 pm »

ooh, 6 hours out of 24. Then there are the other 18....
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eightonedee
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2019, 10:46:16 pm »

Quote
The existing 30-minute interval during the peaks of Paddington<>Maidenhead<>Twyford<>Reading and beyond to/from Didcot GWR (Great Western Railway) services continues.

Really? Currently on Reading to Didcot it's still the same inconveniently irregularly spaced service - arrival times at Goring spaced as follows from 17-06 to 20-06 as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

10-21-32-12-17-31-25-8-24.

And of course most of my North Downs connections at Reading seem to dump me there to catch the longest gaps. Six in two hours - is it too much to suggest one every 20 minutes might make a much better and more convenient service?



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martyjon
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2019, 01:36:39 am »

Quote
The existing 30-minute interval during the peaks of Paddington<>Maidenhead<>Twyford<>Reading and beyond to/from Didcot GWR (Great Western Railway) services continues.
Really? Currently on Reading to Didcot it's still the same inconveniently irregularly spaced service - arrival times at Goring spaced as follows from 17-06 to 20-06 as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

10-21-32-12-17-31-25-8-24.

And of course most of my North Downs connections at Reading seem to dump me there to catch the longest gaps. Six in two hours - is it too much to suggest one every 20 minutes might make a much better and more convenient service?

Stop b????y grumbling, my  inconveniently irregularly spaced service from Bristol evenings arrival times at my station are spaced as follows from 17-01 to 20-01 is as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

60-56-64-60

and if Grahame were to post his *?*?*?*
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2019, 07:02:12 am »

.... inconveniently irregularly spaced service - arrival times at Goring spaced as follows from 17-06 to 20-06 as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

10-21-32-12-17-31-25-8-24.

Stop b????y grumbling, my  inconveniently irregularly spaced service from Bristol evenings arrival times at my station are spaced as follows from 17-01 to 20-01 is as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

60-56-64-60

and if Grahame were to post his *?*?*?*

Invited to compare ... gaps off Swindon (15:18 to 20:08) as follows

138-72-80

We are very grateful for "Train 2000" - the previously parly Cheltenham Spa to Southampton via Swindon service which leaves Swindon at 18:48.  One of the three 'desparate' needs to bring us up to a proper service is one at around 16:30 (making it 72-76-72-80) and another is a later train - the 20:08 currently being the final service; 22:30 needed, one more round trip of the shuttle train.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2019, 02:23:55 pm »

Quote
The existing 30-minute interval during the peaks of Paddington<>Maidenhead<>Twyford<>Reading and beyond to/from Didcot GWR (Great Western Railway) services continues.

Really? Currently on Reading to Didcot it's still the same inconveniently irregularly spaced service - arrival times at Goring spaced as follows from 17-06 to 20-06 as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

10-21-32-12-17-31-25-8-24.

I was more focussing on the Paddington-Maidenhead-Twyford-Reading part than onwards to Didcot.  A 20-minute even interval service would be very nice to have, but of course several factors make that very difficult, namely the way frequent and robust freight paths have to be provided so freight trains can stand the best chance of presenting themselves at Oxford Road Junction or Didcot North Junction on time.  The one (or sometimes two) fast XC services per hour that use the relief lines, and also that some 12-car 387s drop off the rear four carriages at Reading and for operational reasons which obviously takes a few minutes.

I don't know how the Reading<>Oxford Turbos will slot in come December, but of the 17:20, 17:50, 18:20 and 18:49 services from Paddington after December, the 17:20 and 18:20 will detach 4 at Reading and the others will run through as 12 to Didcot, so I would expect a certain amount of unevenness to continue.

If we go back ten years then your:
10-21-32-12-17-31-25-8-24
were (including a 20:09 arrival at Goring):
30-32-23-9-28-26-5-29

So, one less train and a very similar lack of a pattern!
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eightonedee
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2019, 04:47:27 pm »

Quote
Stop b????y grumbling

Sorry - I will not - let me explain why.

I appreciate that someone from my part of the world with 3 trains an hour looks like someone with a "first world problem" to those of you in less densely populated areas, or who struggle with a much less frequent service. I wholeheartedly support your calls for more frequent services, with better connections at the interchange points and better early and late start and finish times. All these are improvements that should help what I hope is our common goal of increasing the use of rail travel by offering a better service.

In my case I commute now four days a week between Goring and Guildford. On the second leg I appreciate that it is very difficult to have a clock face service. The North Downs service is really two services - a semi-fast Reading-Gatwick and a stopping Reading-Guildford, Shalford or Redhill. These services have to dovetail into the Reigate and Victoria-Gatwick and Brighton services at the east end, the SWT (South West Trains) services between Shalford Junction and Ash junction (including the bottleneck that is the tunnel south of Guildford Station) and the SWT services between Reading and Wokingham.

However on the Reading-Didcot leg the Thames Valley stopping services are surely the main event on the relief lines, serving four intermediate stations with an aggregate footfall of over 1,500,000. At Reading there is one of the countries busiest interchange stations, with connections for services in most directions. However I find myself probably once or twice a week on average falling into one of those larger timetable "holes", and spending an unwanted 25 - 30 minutes stranded at Reading on a journey that need not take more than an hour to 1hr 10 minutes on average, and that's assuming that the service I have to wait for arrives and leaves on time (hence my recent grumble about the length of time it takes to divide the 18-57 ex-Reading, which falls at the end of a 31 minute gap). Multiply that by (say) 46 working weeks in the year and you will see that the total time spent over a year mounts up. A regular evenly spaced stopping service would considerably mitigate this.

There are a number of us who travel from stations between Tilehurst and Cholsey and stations between Wokingham and Gatwick (mostly Guildford) who face the same issues. Perhaps we are not a substantial proportion of overall traffic, but I know of fellow travelers who have changed jobs because of the shortcomings, and others who drive rather than use the train. I would guess that the number of us coping with this might be at least comparable (for example) with the number of Trans-Wilts passengers who like to travel to London to go to the theatre for the evening and get back to their home station after the performance but cannot do so. I think we (like them) have good reason to seek something better.

I thought one of the underlying principles of this forum was to highlight where things could be improved and support moves to do so.  This might seem a moan from a privileged member of the Thames Valley commuting fraternity who hog all your inter-city seats between Paddington and Reading, but it's something that could (and should) be better, and if it was would encourage more off the roads and onto trains if it were addressed. So I hope this gets support out there, just as I would support a better service on whatever line MartyJ uses regularly.

PS - In response to II's comments - while I do not spend all day watching Real Train Times, the impression I have is that during peak periods the Cross Country services run on the main line, not the reliefs, as indeed they should as a non-stop service between Reading and Oxford. They also seem now mainly to use Platforms 7 and 8 at Reading and the flyover. As regards freight services, I'm pretty certain that I see less of these at peak time than I used to, but they still seem to come off the Reading West curve and occasionally delay Reading-Didcot stopping services whatever the gap after the last such service. I assume that a modern fitted freight train must keep up a steady 40 mph, so will take just over 25 minutes to do Reading-Didcot, a little less than a stopping service (mostly timetabled for 27 minutes), so surely there's at least one freight slot with a decent 10 minute headway between each peak time passenger train, and more between off-peak half-hourly services. Off course I realise that there's likely to be other factors I am not aware of too!
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Reading General
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2019, 05:50:20 pm »

Indeed. Plenty of journeys in our region are not london-centric, many people have been using trains for local journeys to work for years because of service frequencies. The assumption that everyone is going to london is one that the government, media and operators themselves make a lot. Journeys to london take priority perhaps but the difference operators could make to local road traffic in the Thames Valley, or anywhere else with similar frequencies and a hub to change at, should be appreciated. The more people that leave places like Goring by train to wherever they are travelling to, work or leisure, the better. I appreciate that it isn't possible from some parts of the network with a limited service to travel to anywhere but where the service is going within one day, but we shouldn't stifle opportunities in places where the infrastructure can handle better services and people have already made the better choice of rail travel daily, because the option was already there. The network around Reading operates as a regional metro because of frequencies like those between Reading and Didcot and it thankfully takes a wonderful amount of potential car journeys away from an area already heaving with them. So timetable changes will have an effect on many jorneys that might not  be obvious to those on a Swindon to london fast service everyday. It is possible to chose rail living somewhere like Twyford and work in Bracknell, or live in Basingstoke and work in Maidenhead, and the network around Reading makes it possible for people to make those choices.
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2019, 06:10:20 pm »

PS - In response to II's comments - while I do not spend all day watching Real Train Times, the impression I have is that during peak periods the Cross Country services run on the main line, not the reliefs, as indeed they should as a non-stop service between Reading and Oxford.

The 16:45, 17:45 and 19:45 CrossCountry services from Reading are booked on the relief lines, the others (the xx:15s, and also the 18:45 York) on the main lines - though if delayed it's an option to stick them onto the reliefs, or vice-versa stick the Newcastle's on the mains.  Mind you, main line paths will become ever thinner on the ground come December.

There are also seven freight paths through Goring heading towards Didcot during the times you specified (at least there are Monday coming).  Now, it might well be the case that only a few of those are used every day, but they are paths in the system that have to be accommodated whether they run or not.  A couple of years ago, Network Rail announced that they were going to remove thousands of unused or very rarely used freight paths from the schedules so other trains could be pathed where they once existed.  I'm not sure whether any of those through Goring have been removed, or will be removed, but that might possibly pave the way for improvements in the future.

Anyway, it works out at about 18 paths in total over the three hours, or an average of one every 10 minutes, which, with a mixture of train performance, calling patterns and so on is pretty much maxing it out. 

One relatively minor infrastructure change that would help is to provide an extra signal or two between Tilehurst and Pangbourne on the relief lines as it is a very long section which impacts on capacity.  Two more signals with the area changed from three to four aspect would help.
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grahame
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2019, 07:38:02 pm »

Indeed. Plenty of journeys in our region are not london-centric, many people have been using trains for local journeys to work for years because of service frequencies. The assumption that everyone is going to london is one that the government, media and operators themselves make a lot. Journeys to london take priority ...

Although I followed up earlier with a confirmation that the inter-train gap and irregularity from Swindon to Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury makes Reading to Goring look wonderful, I do note that many long established none-London journeys, especially those involving connections, are set to take a step backwards in December.

It's not just a Thames Valley "problem" ... from Chippenham to Swindon in the peak commuter hour, the 23 minute gap goes up to 41 minutes - no less trains in fact more, just that the train that replaces the 08:25 no longer calls at Swindon in its race for the capital, and an extra train starts at Swindon to pick up the traffic the 08:25 would have picked up at 08:41.

Are we seeing the same thing in Boris Johnson's announcement of a higher speed (none stop?) service from Manchester to Leeds ... as a commuter asks on Northern Resist "what about the people who live between - what are you doing for their service?
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2019, 06:37:45 pm »

Quote
The existing 30-minute interval during the peaks of Paddington<>Maidenhead<>Twyford<>Reading and beyond to/from Didcot GWR (Great Western Railway) services continues.

Really? Currently on Reading to Didcot it's still the same inconveniently irregularly spaced service - arrival times at Goring spaced as follows from 17-06 to 20-06 as follows- all being gaps in minutes-

10-21-32-12-17-31-25-8-24.

And of course most of my North Downs connections at Reading seem to dump me there to catch the longest gaps. Six in two hours - is it too much to suggest one every 20 minutes might make a much better and more convenient service?



The Reading to Didcot timetable in the evening peak is made up of 2 services, the 2 services per hour Paddington to Didcot at 30 mins intervals and an hourly Reading to Oxford service. The only way to get an even 20 min service Reading to Didcot would be to change the Paddington to Didcot service to a 20 and 40 min interval which would look a bit like a tail wagging dog situation.
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2019, 09:16:49 am »

Mr Hopwood was on BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) Berks this morning, talking about the improvements that can be expected from December.

The one of interest to me was the extra service per hour to and from Newbury. He suggested this will be a through service to PAD» (Paddington (London) - next trains) and fast between there and RDG(resolve).

Is this new service to be in addition to the current "Bedwyns" - which of course do the same, and generally only stop and Thatcham and Theale between Reading and Newbury? Will it be on 387's?
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2019, 12:46:09 pm »

Yes, it'll be in addition to the Bedwyn's.  It'll be an IET (Intercity Express Train) every other hour (and run through to Exeter and beyond), and on the alternating hours it'll be a Class 387 just running Paddington<>Reading<>Newbury.  I can pretty much guarantee that it will be the first service to be canned when there's disruption!
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