|MARLOW - MAIDENHEAD PASSENGERS' ASSOCIATION|
We have a number of concerns about the Crossrail project.
A temporary bridge was installed at the London end of the station. The two spans of the old bridge have been lifted and taken to the Network Rail compound at Stockley. We understand that they will be repaired as an insurance job, as the bridge was damaged by a contractor’s rail crane. We are unclear at present how lifts will be provided but we are pressing for a lift to be installed on the south side, otherwise people with reduced mobility will have to make a hazardous detour from the north side to the Bishops Centre and bus stops.
Bourne End - High Wycombe
We have strongly objected to planning applications to build more houses on the trackbed. There is growing pressure for the line to be reopened as it will provide an essential link between the Chiltern Line and Heathrow Airport when the western link to Heathrow is built. The connection is also seen as an extension to the Windsor Link Railway project to join up the two railways into Windsor.
Twyford Car Park
We are concerned about several aspects of the station car park at Twyford.
Update: GWR is developing plans to double-deck the car park at Twyford to provide more capacity.
Taplow Bus Stops
The bus stops on Bath Road have been relocated closer to Tesco and are less convenient for the station. One stop (westbound) appears to be in use but is being ignored by First Group drivers. We are trying to get the stops for the station reinstated.
CIS on Trains
There are still plenty of reports of CIS not working at all or giving a default welcome message or failing to respond to GPS information.
Passengers on the through Paddington-Bourne End trains were invited to change at Maidenhead for connecting services to Marlow! We are not aware that the was corrected before through services ceased in May 2017.
Update: On some services passengers are being given the message: “We apologise but this service is running approximately [delay_mins] minutes late.” when the train is on time or has not yet left its starting point.
Another classic was: "First Great Western welcomes you to this service to Not in service calling at Not in service and Not in Service". The train was on a Maidenhead to Bourne End service. See our facebook page for a video.
CIS at Stations
When a train is late the information displays can move on before it arrives. So for example, a Maidenhead train pulls into the station and the matrix display is showing the next train to Marlow. The system is incapable of working out that it a train that turns back at Bourne End is ten minutes late leaving Maidenhead and has a four minute turnround at Bourne End, it cannot possibly be on time on the way back.
The CIS has been showing “Train information not currently available”, mobile diagnostice or complete garbage. GWR is aware that there have been problems with the mobile data connection to the display units. This particular fault is now less common.
Cycle hoops have been provided at Cookham but not where we agreed. They are positionned such that any bikes chained to them will obstruct pedestrian flow along the platform.
The help points on the Marlow branch are operational. However pressing the middle button initiates a mobile call which is forwarded to a call centre in India, and the agent answering it does not have accurate information about the location of trains.
Tickets Failing to Operate Barriers
We still receive reports of tickets sold on trains not operating the barriers at stations for which they are valid. Please report occurrences to GWR Customer Services or send the tickets to us.
There are occasional reports of tickets from local booking offices failing, but this could be due to other factors. Please take care not to place your tickets next to mobile phones, headphones or any magnetised materials.
Overcrowding on First Great Western
Overcrowding on peak Maidenhead - London trains remains an issue and is unlikely to be resolved before the start of Crossrail services (or afterwards because of the appallingly uncomfortable Crossrail trains).
Sunday Service at Taplow
Housing and retail developments at Taplow station have increased the footfall at the station and will continue to do so. There is already a demand for Sunday services. The only reason why GWR will not provide them is that it would cost more to provide a replacement bus service when local trains are running on the Main lines. We think this is unacceptable.
Paddington Interchange with Hammersmith & City Line
A lot of complaints have been received about the new Circle/H & C station at Paddington. Whereas it used to be possible to cross between Platforms 13/14 (GWR suburban) and platforms 15/16 (Underground) in under a minute it now takes at least five minutes by a long circuitous route passing through two gatelines to get from one side of a locked passage to the other side. This can result in missed connections at other main line stations because the extra time has not been allowed for. What is needed is a new transfer deck connecting all the platforms, and complete removal of the redundant Victorian cab ramps.
Although some improvements have been made there are still some near misses resulting in long waits for branch line trains. This is particularly bad in the Reading direction. It is bad public relations for branch line trains to be pulling out just as potential connecting trains arrive at the adjacent platform, or vice-versa.
The current timetable continues the misconnect between the GWR off-peak trains connecting with the branch trains and Heathrow Connect trains to Heathrow at Hayes & Harlington. It is quicker and cheaper to catch the 140 bus from Hayes to the airport. If travelling to Terminal 5 catch the 77 bus from Slough.
We welcome electrification of the Thames Valley services between Paddington and Didcot / Newbury, and the Great Western Main Line to Cardiff (electrification from Appleford to Oxford has been shelved pending four-tracking of the railway). We are disappointed that after the sensible decision had been taken to extend electrification to the Thams Valley branches, Basingstoke and Swansea, it was reversed by the government. Electrification to Bath and Bristol TM was also curtailed at Thingley Junction.
High Speed Two
MMPA believes that HS2 must be built, but does not express a view on routeing through the Chilterns. We note the proposals for an interchange with the Great Western lines, Crossrail, Chiltern (possibly) and Heathrow Express at Old Oak Common. This also offers opportunities for interchange with the London Overground and Underground lines through Willesden Junction if a connection is put in. The additional stop for Thames Valley passengers will increase journey times but this will be offset by the improved connectivity. We believe that the interchange should also be provided with the West Coast Main Line at Willesden.
Western Rail Link to Heathrow
Network Rail is now actively considering a scheme to build a new line from Heathrow Terminal 5 passing over the GW Main Line on a flyover to join the Relief Lines between Iver and Langley. This is not likely to materialise before 2024.
Penalty Fares Notices
We were alarmed at the aggressive wording of penalty fare notices which had been displayed at some stations, threatening penalty fares for passengers who did not purchase a ticket in advance of travel and advising them to go to a staffed station if necessary. The branch line is a paytrain service and the booking offices are only open for a few hours in the morning. Only Bourne End has a ticket vending machine. The notices were clearly in breach of the penalty fare regulations and have now been taken down.
Thanks to former committee member Peter Danniels for his persistent efforts in getting the offending notice at Cookham removed.
A new shelter at Marlow has now been installed. We understand that secure hoops will be installed in the existing cycle shed.
We are pleased thet acryllic panels have now been fitted to the shelter at Cookham.
Step-free Access at Taplow
We believe that there is now a committment to provide lifts at Taplow, Iver and Langley. At Taplow this is likely to mean a new footbridge with lifts connecting platform 4 to platforms 2 and 3 only. There will be no step-free access to or from the south car park (see above). We are working on this.
We had an issue because short trains still stop at the country end of the station near the old footbridge, so it was a long walk for passengers to get to the temporary bridge. We are pleased that Network Rail has now relocated the stop board for shorter trains.
CIS is now installed along the branch. There are some concerns about its operation (see above).
Help poins are operational at branch stations but cannot necessarily provide accurate information (see above).
Bourne End Bridge
After a prolonged campaign we finally convinced Network Rail to refurbish the bridge across the Thames at Bourne End. This turned out to require a lot more extensive structural repairs than Network Rail had previously admitted were necessary.
Last updated 5th October, 2017