Timetable tweak ‘just spin’
Maidenhead Advertiser: 11th January 2007
COMMUTERS buoyed by a promise of extra London-bound train services from Maidenhead and Twyford have branded the planned timetable changes misleading and inadequate.
FGW said on Tuesday it will be adding one train and increasing the capacity on two others from Oxford by stopping at fewer stations en route to Twyford and Maidenhead.
But several commuters who have studied the changes – to be introduced on Monday – do not believe real improvements have been made. Adam Hale, from Hare Hatch, has been commuting from Maidenhead station for more than six years. “There is definitely some spin going on here,” he said.
“The 6.45am Oxford to Paddington service they mention is not a new service at all – I was on that train this morning. This train was something we campaigned for last year.
“The fact this train will make less stops before Twyford will not make that much difference as the majority of people board at Twyford and Maidenhead.” Mr Hale who forks out £3,200 a year on train travel, described the extra 6.33am stopping service from Didcot Parkway to Paddington as way off peak time and too early to ease overcrowding.
He added: “I’m not sure why First Great Western seem to be making such a song and dance about this. The changes are at best misleading and at worst shameful.”
Maurice Lawson, a Twyford commuter and station representative on the FGW customer panel, was also disappointed. “There seem to have been a few rather minor changes that may help Twyford and Maiden-head rather early in the morning,” he said. “The problems are not really addressed to any extent, this is just tinkering. The timetable started off very bad and they have tinkered with it and it remains very bad.” Both passengers were concerned trains from Twyford and Maiden-head will remain dangerously overcrowded and they were annoyed evening services were not mentioned.
Mr Lawson said: “As far as I can see there is nothing that deals with any of the problems on the evening services from Paddington. They have been getting worse over the past three years.” at Twyford and Maidenhead. By removing stops on several trains prior to their arrival at Twyford and Maidenhead, we have also increased the availability of seats at these two stations.”