Rail commuters' timetable fears
BBC News: 8 March 2006
Commuters are angry about proposed changes to a rail timetable that could see early-morning fast services into London Paddington reduced.
MPs have backed passengers from Berkshire and Oxfordshire who are concerned about possible changes to First Great Western's timetable.
Consultation on the timetable ends on Wednesday and it is due to come into effect in December.
Bosses said no firm decisions had yet been made on the new-look services.
"We recognise that feelings are running high in the regions" - Adrian Ruck, First Great Western
Martin Salter, Labour MP for Reading West, said he was worried that the number of peak time trains running from Pangbourne and Tilehurst would be "considerably" reduced.
In a letter to First Great Western, he said: "At a time when the government are trying to get more people off the roads and onto the trains, it is highly worrying that these vital services, on which my constituents rely, are being cut."
Commuter Maurice Taylor, 52, is concerned that fast trains from Didcot and Oxford will be reduced and replaced by an early morning stopping service.
Mr Taylor, of Woodstock, Oxfordshire, said: "Already people waiting at Slough never get a seat and have to stand in the passageways. With four trains being reduced into one it's going to be murder."
First Great Western is drawing up the new timetable as it is due to expand its services when it begins running the Greater Western franchise in April.
The company will continue to run its own high-speed and Link services and will take over Wessex Trains' routes.
Company spokesman Adrian Ruck said no firm decisions would be made for at least three months.
He said: "It is a draft timetable that we have been consulting on and we welcome these comments as part of that process.
"If people have contacted us about these issues they will be considered by our timetable experts as they go through all the suggestions and complaints.
"We recognise that feelings are running high in the regions about some of these changes."