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Winter 2004

Times are changing!

December 12th 2004 - this is the date of the introduction of new schedules.

Most of you will be aware that over the last few months there has been a major exercise on recasting of the railway timetables for the Thames Valley routes, as well as wider consideration of other services out of Paddington station. This has generated hours of discussion, argument and variants of draft timetables. Many concerns were expressed about the loss of fast commuter trains from Maidenhead - many of these have been reinstated (albeit with some differing timings). The evening peak shuttle services on the branch-line are retimed. Off-peak services will take 3-4 minutes longer to / from Paddington, and Kennet valley trains now only call at Maidenhead on Sundays. Due to engineering needs of Network Rail, there is a different late evening timetable Mon-Thurs when compared to that offered on Friday evenings.

We advise everyone to check their travel times. Some people will notice little or no difference - but most travellers will be affected in some way or other, mostly by longer journey times, caused by local trains stopping at more stations.

We expect to distribute copies of the new local timetables with this newsletter. The booklet is code 'E' and covers Reading to Paddington, plus the branch-lines which feed services into Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough and Ealing Broadway. The comprehensive booklet containing all local 'Thames' routes has not been not produced this time - we think this is not helpful, as travellers going beyond Reading will need additional First Great Western / Link timetables, which we have asked be made available at local stations.

Chiltern Railways also has revised timetables - with extra trains to Birmingham (Snow Hill), In addition, Chiltern now provides services to Stratford-on-Avon, services which were formerly run by Thames Trains / First Great Western Link. Chiltern continues to look into ways of best utilising its capacity, both rail and train, to best advantage. If you have any suggestions for amending / improving the service please let us know.

Community Railways

Many of you will have seen in the local press comment regarding the Strategic Railway's consultation on the concept of Community Railways. Some of you were at the MMPA meeting at which the subject was discussed. Following that meeting a report was formulated and sent for inclusion in the wider discussion. Our report was submitted through the RPC network, but we have not received a specific response. As this newsletter was being completed news was announced that the Secretary of State for Transport had issued a follow-up to the consultation exercise, with further ideas regarding Community Railways. We have yet to see that report and work out the implications for Marlow and Henley lines. Since our meeting it has been announced that the SRA is to be disbanded in its current form - but that the concept of Community Railways will continue to be on the industry's agenda as part of the reforms to be considered under the latest government transport strategy reviews. We will continue to monitor the situation and make representations where and when appropriate.

Number one priority is to keep the line open!

BBC Radio Berkshire Travel News

BBC Radio Berkshire staff have put more effort into their Travel News in recent months. They say it's a high priority for them. BBC RADIO BERKSHIRE broadcasts on 95.4, 104.1 and 104.4 MHz FM.

The travel hotline number is 01189 311333.

Membership Matters

I am pleased to say that almost all members have now renewed their subscriptions for the current year, which runs from 1st April 2004 to 31st March 2005. If you have not renewed by now, then regrettably this will probably be your last communication from us. Sorry to lose you!

You may be surprised to receive a December Newsletter, but with the timetables changing on 12th December, your committee thought you may appreciate copies of the new timetables. I am pleased to say that we are still working hard to establish good working relations with First Great Western (who took over Thames Trains and called us First Great Western Link) and these efforts are paying dividends. They do listen to what we have to say and that is very encouraging. We have had several meetings to date and have another scheduled for late November.

As we previously announced at the 2004 AGM, your committee have reluctantly had to increase subscriptions when renewals take place in April 2005. I believe I am correct in saying that this is the first increase in 7 years, so I suppose we have done well to keep costs down for so long considering the rises in the cost of postage and stationery. The new rates will be £4 ordinary membership, £5 family membership and £3 for concessions, but more of this in the Spring newsletter.

As we near the end of another year, I would like to take the opportunity of thanking you all for your support for the Association. We do get some complimentary comments about the work we do, and a large number of members add a donation to their subscriptions which does help defray costs. Thank you. Now is the time to wish you all a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and all best wishes for 2005.

Finally, thanks to our member Richard Porter, we now have our own MMPA website! Well worth a look -

The printed version of this newsletter included a copy of our home page.

A Microsoft Word version of this Newsletter can be downloaded here (since removed).

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Last updated 20th December, 2006