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News 2017

Electrification - Further Delays Possible

We have learnt that electric services to Maidenhead might not begin in May after all because the overhead line equipment may not be ready in time. GWR is still, publicly at least, aiming for the May timetable change. For Network Rail the planned date in the Hendy Report of the end of June.
[20170317]

Update: the overhead line equipment was energised on Sunday 26th March. This paves the way for testing and driver training with the new trains.
[20170327]

Major Disruption This Sunday A.M.

Additional engineering work will take place between Reading and Paddington this Sunday, 26 March. This will allow Network Rail to complete a key piece of work for the electrification of the Great Western mainline. This means significant changes to London Paddington rail services throughout Sunday morning. Services will operate normally after 13:00 and GWR is encouraging customers to switch to later journeys. To help with that GWR will accept fixed train tickets on services running later in the day.

Full details of the changes are on the GWR website here.

In The Thames Valley rail replacement bus services will operate between:

  • Reading and Hayes & Harlington
  • Reading and Hillingdon (Piccadilly & Metropolitan Lines)
  • Reading and Heathrow
  • Twyford and High Wycombe via the Marlow Branch
  • Slough and Hates & Harlington
  • Slough and Windsor & Eton Riverside

Electric Services Update

GWR informs us that there will be a phased introduction of Class 387 Electrostar trains on services to Maidenhead.

  • May 21: electrics replace diesels on peak services starting from or terminating at Maidenhead, but running to diesel timings. Through trains from Bourne End to London cease.
  • July: enhanced electric service to Maidenhead replacing Reading locals. This means 2tph at Twyford which should connect with 2tph service to Henley-on-Thames (1tph calling at Wargrave unless a connection is missed).
  • December 2017: electrics operating through to Twyford and Reading.
[20170304]

Maidenhead Station Toilets

This is a subject that’s been causing a bit of a stink for some time and we've been trying to get to the bottom of it. Well now we have thanks to our contacts at GWR, and guess what, it's all down to piles. I mean the sort Network Rail (NR) has been banging into the ground to support the overhead line equipment (OLE).

“The platform 4/5 toilet drainage has recently suffered a blockage that closed the toilets for use by our customers. The blockage was eventually found to be OLE piling damage and NR is now planning to divert the drainage pipework. The drainage pipework was pumped out, blockage removed and the toilets re-opened for use. The toilets are currently open for use.

“NR’s OLE team is monitoring the situation and will pump out the drainage system whenever required, until the drainage pipe is successfully diverted.” So now you know.
[20170225]

Going Live!

Update: The date has now been put back to 5th March. GWR is still confident that it can start electric services to Maidenhead on 21st May.
[20170212]

Wheelchair Incident at Twyford

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has issued its report on an incident which occurred at Twyford on 7th April 2016 in which an occupied wheelchair came into contact with a passing freight train.

A teenage girl in her wheelchair was parked parallel to the track and well back from the yellow line on platform 4. The brakes were not fully applied and the girl’s mother was looking the other way. The train passed at 45mph but its slipstream was sufficient to move the wheelchair. Because the brakes were uneven the chair turned towards the train where it came into contact with waggons three times. The third impact knocked the wheelchair away from the train. The girl sustained a minor injury to a toe and slight damage to her chair.

The report stresses the following learning point:

Wheelchair users and other vulnerable station users should be aware that trains passing platforms, particularly freight trains, can generate slipstreams which are strong enough to move wheelchairs and pushchairs even if the brakes are on, especially if the effectiveness of the brakes has deteriorated with age or wear. It is always better to park well away from the platform edge and to hold onto the wheelchair or pushchair when a train passes by, even if the brakes or wheel locks have been applied.

The report notes the lack of an appropriate warning notice on platform 4 and criticised the use of automatic announcements of passing trains on platforms not accessible to the public. These reduce the effectiveness of announcements on platforms that are in use.
[20170122]

Delay Compensation Delay

It appears that, unsurprisingly, GWR has a huge backlog of compensation claims mostly due to infrastructure faults, exacerbated by a change of system. If you've submitted a claim it will be dealt with but it may take a while.
[20170105]

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Last updated 4th April, 2017