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Issues

High Wycombe P1 Stop Boards

The footbridge obscures the starting signal for platform 1 (on the left of the track) if a short train goes right up to the buffers. Therefore there are stop boards for all length trains from 2 to 6 cars, so that the rear cab (on arrival) is in sight of the signal. This results in passengers having a long walk to get to platform 2, the footbridge to platform 3 or the station exit.

We have been badgering Chiltern and Network Rail to install a banner repeater beyond the footbridge, or an "OFF" box on the platform, so that the driver (or guard in the case an "OFF" box) can see if the signal is off (showing a proceed aspect) before departing.

Result! Chiltern have told us that the equipment is due to be installed in time for the timetable change on 16th May 2021.

Update: the signal modifications were completed as promised.

Crossrail / Elizabeth Line

We have a number of concerns about the Elizabeth Line.

  • 9-car trains with fewer seats than a 5-car Networker Turbo formation, and most back to the window.
  • No toilets on trains. We understand that the carriage design does allow for accessible, controlled emission toilets but TfL has no intention to install them.
  • Calling at all stations except Hanwell, West Ealing and Acton Main Line, so longer journeys.
  • This could lead to overcrowding on GWR services.

Taplow’s Fourth Bridge

The new footbridge and lifts are now open. We are concerned about the gateline proposals which would stop non-passengers using the bridge to cross the line when the roadway is flooded.

The gateline on the south side is often unstaffed and therefore open.

Bourne End - High Wycombe

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. Unfortunately the trackbed has been built over in a few places.

HS2

We note the proposals for an interchange with the Great Western lines, Crossrail, Chiltern (probably) 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 include reopening the West Coast Main Line platforms at Willesden Junction.

The building of Old Oak Common station involves slewing the relief lines to make room for the new platforms, and this will cause considerable disruption to services.

Ticket Vending Machines

Customers trying to buy off-peak tickets from the self-service machines at Cookham (and possibly other stations) in time for the 09:11 departure for Maidenhead (but after 09:00) are unable to use Senior Railcards. This train is designated as off-peak. We have reported this to GWR.

Sunday Service at Taplow

We are pleased that TFL-Rail is now providing two trains per hour each way on Sundays.

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 12/14 (GWR suburban) and platforms 15/16 (Underground) in under a minute it now takes at least five minutes by a 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 on the paid side, and complete removal of the redundant Victorian cab ramps.

The same applies to the Bakerloo Line entrance which has been permanently closed and the gateline has been removed. Passengers arriving on platfrom 14 now have to walk to the other side of the concourse to use the main entrance to the District and Circle Lines entrance, and then half way back to reach the escalators to the Bakerloo Line.

Electrification

We welcome electrification of the Thames Valley services between Paddington and Didcot Parkway / Newbury, and to Cardiff via Bristol Parkway (electrification from Appleford to Oxford has been shelved pending a decision on four-tracking 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 Bristol TM via Bath was also curtailed at Thingley Junction (before Chippenham).

GWR has signed an agreement with VivaRail to trial a battery powered Class 320 train (formerly District Line D-stock) on the Greenford branch, with rapid charging at West Ealing. If successful these trains could be deployed on the other Thames Valley branches.

Western Rail Link to Heathrow

Network Rail had been 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 now seems to have been shelved for the time being. Likewise, the Southern connection to Heathrow via Staines also seems to be making little progress.

Help Points

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. If you can’t get a sensible answer use the phone at the level crossing to contact the signaller. Please don’t abuse this facility.


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Last updated 23rd September, 2022