10:00AM, Thursday 13 February 2020
MP Theresa May has raised her constituents’ concerns over the loss of fast trains services to London in Westminster.
In November, the Advertiser reported on commuters’ fury over the loss of two direct evening trains to the capital – the 16.42 and 17.47 hours – which were abolished as part of the new Great Western Railway (GWR) timetable.
Some morning peak services to London have also been cancelled, leading to overcrowding.
From December 15, Transport for London (TfL) started operating stopping services to and from Paddington ahead of it becoming part of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) from 2022.
Speaking in Westminster Hall on Wednesday, February 5, Mrs May informed ministers of her constituents’ concerns.
She also wrote a letter ahead of her debate, saying she ‘does not agree that residents should have to use slow Crossrail services if they previously enjoyed fast and semi-fast services’.
Mrs May said: “GWR has looked at reinstating the two peak-hour morning services, but sadly it has told me that there is no readily available space for additional stops.
“It has looked at a number of options including sourcing extra rolling stock. Disappointingly, it has not been possible to find a timetable path that will work.”
She added: “On the evening services, GWR told me that it was in discussion with Network Rail [NR] about the possibility of introducing some additional services from Maidenhead to Paddington, which we might be able to operate from May or sooner.
“It is fair to say that NR are apprehensive about the performance ramifications of these trains.
“I can now tell the minister that this week Network Rail refused the application for those additional services.
“Maidenhead and Twyford are two of the top 10 busiest stations in the Thames Valley. They are not the backwater at the end of a metro service.”
A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “In recent years unprecedented investment has been spent improving rail services for passengers in Maidenhead.
“This has meant passengers are now benefitting from thousands of extra seats on new trains.
“We will continue to work with the Department for Transport and train operators to continue to improve rail journeys for passengers.”
GWR reiterated its previous statement that ‘while the new timetable is clearly good news for customers’, it does not insulate it from ‘day-to-day isolated issues that any train operator has to manage’.
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