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News Archive 2022

Martin Coker

Martin Coker

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of our Cookham representative, Cllr Martin Coker, on Thursday morning. We send our deepest condolences to his wife Jackie and the family.

More Strikes

The RMT union has called 1-day strikes of Network Rail workers on 18th August and 20th August, whilst on 30th July ASLEF (the train drivers’s union) has called its members out in eight operators including Great Western, Chiltern and Arriva Rail London which holds the concession to operate the London Overground.

TSSA, the Transport Salaried Staff Association has a mandate for strike action but has not set set a date.

Update: ASLEF has withdrawn its strike action on Chiltern Railways set for 30th July. [20220726]

Update: RMT has called a 1-day strike on 19th August on London Underground and Overground over pay and pensions. Please note that the Elizabeth Line is not part of either body.


More Strikes

The RMT union has called 1-day strikes of Network Rail workers on 27th July, 18th August and 20th August, whilst on 30th July ASLEF (the train drivers’s union) has called its members out in eight operators including Great Western, Chiltern and Arriva Rail London which holds the concession to operate the London Overground.

TSSA, the Transport Salaried Staff Association has a mandate for strike action but has not set set a date.

Update: ASLEF has withdrawn its strike action on Chiltern Railways set for 30th July. [20220726]

Elizabeth Line Roundel

Fare Capping on Elizabeth Line

TfL has provided the following daily and weekly capping information for our local stations. These prices apply when using TfL’s pay-as-you-go ”contactless” payment system (CPay) even if travelling on GWR trains (but not beyond Reading). Oyster is not valid between West Drayton and Reading.

StationDaily AnytimeDaily Off-peakWeekly
Bourne End36.3021.40119.50
Furze Platt33.5019.00114.80

It will be noted that the daily caps are the same price as travelcards. Weekly caps apply from Monday to Sunday only, so if you're starting mid-week it may be cheaper to get a travelcard.

GWR Awarded New Rail Contract

First Group has been awarded a new National Rail Contract to run Great Western Railway, starting on 26th June. More details here.


Please read this letter from GWR and Network Rail. Please do not travel on Monday or Tuesday (18th-19th) unless you absolutely have to.

Theresa May Joins GWR Advisory Board

Maidenhead MP and former Prime Minister Theresa May has joined GWR’s 12-strong Independent Stakeholder Advisory Board. GWR has had a Stakeholder Advisory Board since its conception in 2015, bringing forward the idea from First Great Western. Set up to offer a sounding board and critical, informed advice the Advisory Board includes representatives from all the routes served by GWR, covering the fields of business, academia, the voluntary sector and the Houses of Parliament.

Rt Hon Theresa May MP takes the vacancy created when Ranil Jayawardena MP joined the Government. Mrs May will receive no payment and no complimentary travel but will attend up to six meetings a year with the GWR senior team.

RMT Strike

The strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union is going ahead on June 21st, 23rd and 25th. There will also be a strike on London Underground on Tuesday 21st. This means that there will be massive disruption throughout the week, with large parts of the network shut down.

Great Western Railway

On strike days GWR hopes to run a service on the Thames Valley branches, but at one train per hour (1tph). The Marlow branch service is subject to confirmation. A stopping service between Reading and Paddington will be provided by MTR Elizabeth Line only - no fast peak services.

On intermediate days most of the network will be operating from around 07:00 at 1tph or better. No peak shuttle to Bourne End. Services will shut down early. Expect some disruption on Sunday Morning, 26th June as trains may be in the wrong places overnight.

For more details see

Chiltern Railways

On strike days Chiltern will be running 1tph Banbury to Marylebone and 1tph Aylesbury - High Wycombe - Marylebone and 1tph Aylesbury to Amersham. (No Metropolitan service on Tuesday 21st). There will be no services to Oxford or Birmingham. Up services (towards London) will start from around 07:30.

For more information see

Crossrail to Open on 24 May

Crossrail has announced that the Elizabeth Line core from Paddington to Abbey Wood will open to the public on Tuesday 24th May. A 12 trains per hour (tph) service will operate from 06:30 to 23:00 Monday to Saturday. It will also run on the Sunday of the Jubilee bank holiday weekend. Trains will not stop at Bond Street to start with.

Platforms in the core section are labelled “A” for Eastbound trains and “R” for Westbound trains. TfL-Rail trains are being rebranded Elizabeth Line.

The outer sections from Reading/Heathrow to Paddington and Liverpool Street to Shenfield will continue to operate as at present for the time being. Crossrail expects that through services will be in operation this Autumn, and that the full 24 tph timetable will commence in May 2023.

May Timetable Preview


  • No change to Thames Valley branches
  • No change to fast services to Paddington
  • Most 12-car Class 387 Didcot - London electric services reduced to 8-cars
  • Three Oxford - Didcot/Reading morning peak services deleted
  • Didcot/Reading - Paddington relief line timings adjusted (GWR and TFL-RAIL).


  • No changes for Thames Valley branches.

There will be other changes around the network, most notably:

  • Class 387 electrics to Newbury with a diesel shuttle from there to Bedwyn.
  • Class 802 Intercity Express Trains which now serve Bedwyn replace “Castle Class” shortened High Speed Trains in the West. The HSTs are the most polluting trains on GWR so this cascade saves CO2 emissions.

Update: in the event it turns out that there are some changes in the off-peak service.


Great British Rail Sale Now On

Over a million rail tickets will be reduced by up to 50% as the Government and the rail industry launch the Great British Rail Sale.

Tickets can be purchased online from participating retailers with the up to half-price rate applying to range of off-peak tickets. Discounted tickets are available for selected journeys from 25th April to 27th May. The Government looks like it’s reacting to people’s concerns about rising rail costs, but this gesture, though welcome, won’t last long so make the most of it!

CPay Update

The DfT has funded the extension of TfL’s CPay contactless payment system to the Thames Valley branches. Windsor & Eton Central and Henley-on-Thames will be done first, with a launch date of 28th March, and Marlow will follow on in April. Enabling works are being undertaken.

At the same time a ticket vending machine will be installed at Furze Platt, and an additional two at Bourne End.

IT Problems at Bourne End

We are aware of IT issues at Bourne End which have been affecting ticket issuing and customer information for some time. MMPA, our booking clerk Tony and our Duty Station Manager have been pressing GWR to sort the problem out. We fully sympathise with Tony who has been bearing the brunt of your frustration. We are awaiting action from GWR’s IT department but don’t yet have a date for resolution.

Crossrail Core Looking Good for June

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed it will soon apply to the British regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) for authorisation to begin commercial operation of the 21km Abbey Wood - Paddington section of Crossrail. Crossrail chief executive Mr Mark Wild told IRJ on March 7, during a press visit to the railway, that the opening date remains the first half of 2022. However, he said that other than start the official authorisation process, all that was left was to complete one final evacuation exercise at Paddington on March 13, and to ensure the operational staff are ready for the line to open.

Trial operations are currently underway replicating the initial service. Wild said that the ORR process is expected to be complete by the end of April. He said that would mean that the central section of Crossrail, which was due to begin commercial operation in December 2018, could open before than the end of June.

International Railway Journal [20220308]

Patronage Plummets in Pandemic

Estimated entry and exit figures for UK stations have been released by the Office of Rail and Road. The right hand column shows the percentage change since 2019-20. These figures are for the year ending 31st March. Our local stations look like this:

Bourne End61,366261,122-76.5
Furze Platt39,580183,252-78.40
High Wycombe542,8402,857,444-81.00


Update: GWR estimates that passenger numbers are up to around 70% of pre-pandemic levels, with leisure travel doing better than commuting.

Book With Confidence Scheme Extended

The Book with Confidence scheme has been extended, meaning that until March 31st, 2022 passengers can change their travel plans up until the evening before departure without being charged a fee, or cancel their trains completely and receive refunds in the form of rail vouchers.

Storm Eunice

Branch trains were running nearly to time this morning (18th) but GWR suspended all services at about 13:30 because of “excess wind”. Chiltern then did the same because of trees on the line. Trains were parked wherever they could be so they won't be in the right position for the start of the service on Saturday. Also, Network Rail will need to check all the routes in daylight for debris, mangled trampolines, etc.

Tickets for travel on Saturday can now also be used on Sunday or Monday, and GWR will refund any tickets where customers cannot travel.

GWR hopes that by Sunday services will be fully restored, but please do double check before you set out if you are travelling. Journey check

GWR Introduces Temporary Timetable

Owing to the number of train crew self-isolating GWR has introduced a temporary timetable from Saturday 8th January until Saturday 15th January. You can find a list of changes here.

There are hardly any changes affecting the Thames Valley area but ad hoc cancellations could still occur. Please check your journey before setting off. On twitter follow @GWRhelp.

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Last updated 9th August, 2022