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News Archive 2021

Track Maintenance Work

Network Rail will be carrying out rail improvement work on the Marlow branch line beginning on Wednesday 7th July.

They will be completing track maintenance on the branch line, and this means that on Wednesdays only from 7th July to 4th August inclusive, the 1134 Maidenhead to Marlow service and the 1200 Marlow to Maidenhead service will be operated by buses instead of trains.
[20210702]

Crossrail Starts Trial Running

Crossrail has commenced trial running at four trains per hour through the central section to prove that the railway is safe and reliable. The frequency will be stepped up during the year. Meanwhile three stations have been handed over the TfL: Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road, and Crossrail is now fully integrated with the Great Western Main Line at Portobello. However, service trains from the west will continue to terminate at Paddington high level for some time. The latest target we have for the opening of Elizabeth Line is “the first half of 2022”. (DHYB)
[20210515]

New Timetables Start Sunday 16 May

The branch timetable is unchanged on weekdays daytime and at weekends. However there are some significant changes on weekday evenings starting with the 20:27 from Maidenhead and 21:01 from Marlow.
[20210510]

Face Covering Still Compulsory

Just a reminder that you still need to wear face covering when travelling by public transport unless you are exempt. Travelling by train is extremely safe but it’s best to avoid crowded services. Hand sanitiser is available at many stations.
[20210508]

Courtney Buses Becomes Thames Valley

As of 7th April Courtney Buses has been rebranded Thames Valley Buses. This follows the acquisition of Courtney’s by Reading Buses in 2019. More information here.
[20210407]

Some IETs Return to Service

All Intercity Express Trains have now been examined and a number are fit to return safely to service. For more details please read the letter from Mark Hopwood which includes the press release issued jointly by Hitachi Rail, Rail Delivery Group, ORR, HM Railway Inspectorate, GWR and LNER.
[20210513]

Update: Hitachi is working on a solution to the problem which involves taking the trains up to their factory at Newton Aycliffe. It is expected to take at least two years for both fleets (GWR and LNER) to be modified. Without attention it is virtually certain that all the IETs will suffer the cracks at some point. In the mean time GWR is able to operate about two thirds of the fleet, which means that some services that are scheduled for ten car trains will only have a single 5-car unit, the 9-car units will be concentrated on the South-West and the Cotswold services will be handled by Class 165/6 turbos.
[20210610]

IETs recalled to depot for checks

All Hitachi Class 80x Intercity Express Trains (IETs) have been withdrawn for precautionary inspection after hairline cracks were found where the yaw damper brackets attach to the coach body. The yaw dampers prevent the bogies hunting from side to side. This affects all operators of these trains including GWR, LNER, Trans-Pennine Express and First Hull Trains. As a result there is severe disruption on the whole of the network. Local and branch line services are unaffected.

TFL-RAIL and local services are running but are busier than normal. More information.
[20210508]

Update: later reports from Hitachi cite the lifting points on the coaches as the location of the cracks. In fact the problems apply to both sites which are fairly close together over the bogies. The cracks under the lifting points were not noticed at first because the paint stretched over them. However it transpires that one unit was stopped back in April. Meanwhile GWR is trying to hire in alternative rolling stock from other parts of the country, including some Class 387s (like the Thames Valley Electrostars) from c-2-c. Also some Class 387s are running as far as Swindon, connecting with Cross Country services to Bristol Temple Meads and the South West.

Face Covering Compulsory

The message from Government remains that public transport should be avoided if possible, and from Monday (15th), a face covering has been compulsory when travelling by train. Although a three layer mask is recommended it doesn’t need to be surgical grade.
[20200613]

Elizabeth Smith 1937-2021

We are sorry to report the passing of one of our honorary life members and former member of the Rail Users Consultative Committee, Elizabeth Smith, on 20th January. We send our condolences to her family.
[20210126]

Engineering Work, Sunday March 7

Rail improvement works will betaking place on Sunday 7th March, when Network Rail will be working on the overhead line equipment between London Paddington and Acton Main Line. Completion of the work will help to reduce the impact on services in the event of an incident that requires the power to be turned off.

No trains will be able to run to/from London Paddington on this day. Most long-distance services from across the network will terminate at Reading. Limited local services will run between Reading and Ealing Broadway, operated by GWR and TfL Rail.

Our advice to customers is to travel on an alternative day if possible for a faster and smoother journey. A web page containing more information is available here.
[20210126]

Maidenhead Station Improvement Works

Improvement works on the forecourt of Maidenhead Station get underway this month, as part of the council’s commitment to a programme of improvements in the town. To minimise disruption to residents and passengers, the work will be completed in two phases so that half the forecourt always remains open.

Phase one, which will run from 15th January 2021 until February 2021, will concentrate on the northern half of the station’s forecourt, while phase two will see work being carried out on the southern half, in March and April 2021.

While the work is being carried out, there will be some necessary changes to the area, including:

  • all parking on the forecourt will move to the Stafferton Way multi-storey car park where Great Western Railway (GWR) parking bays will be available to for use on the ground floor (normal parking charges apply)
  • additional set-down and pick-up zones will be available at Stafferton Way multi-storey car park

Throughout both phases of the works, disabled bays will still be available on the station forecourt and the ticket hall and entrance will remain open. Taxis will also still be able to operate from the station forecourt. 

The overall improvement works programme, including the work on the forecourt, was largely paid for with £3.75M in funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, through its Local Growth Deal with Government, with the original business case having been approved by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Transport Body on in November 2017.

The full plans can be seen here (PDF).
[20210108]

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Last updated 10th August 2021