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Train services to be transformed in GWR timetable shake-up

Train services in the Thames Valley will be ‘transformed’ when the biggest Great Western Rail (GWR) timetable change since 1976 comes into effect.

From mid-December 50 per cent of GWR’s stopping services between Reading and London Paddington will be transferred to Transport for London Rail (TfL Rail) – which MTR Crossrail will be operating on its behalf.

The shake-up will result in faster journey times, more seats and more frequent services.

GWR will continue to operate services between Reading and London Paddington, calling at intermediate station stops, with many extending to Didcot.

The service will be formed of 12 carriage Class 387 electric trains in the evening peak-time where they are needed most.

Paul Britton, chief executive of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce said: “An extra 10,000 seats in the morning peak into London Paddington is great news for businesses in the Thames Valley and London.

“Updated technology, new facilities and reduced journey times for business travellers and commuters will allow them to use their time more effectively.”

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “It’s a little over three months until Sunday December 15, and we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to implement the biggest timetable change on this network since 1976, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains are bringing.

“In providing more frequent and quicker journeys, our new timetable will for the vast majority of users quite literally mean ‘all change please’ and we are looking forward to publishing further details soon.”

The planned improvements are so significant, especially for those used to catching a particular service every day, that GWR has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the changes ahead.

The timetable will change on Sunday, December 15.

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Theresa May MP calls for fast trains

Theresa May MP has launched a campaign to keep fast and semi-fast train services to and from Maidenhead and Twyford stations.

The current GWR franchise comes to an end on March 31 next year, before which the future of fast and semi-fast services will be negotiated.

Mrs May has written to the Transport Secretary to highlight the importance of fast and semi-fast services to local residents.

In her letter she emphasised that removing these services would double the length of time it takes for commuters and leisure travellers to reach London Paddington.

Theresa May said: “I welcome the introduction of Crossrail which will be an important addition to local transport links however, this new service should complement existing Great Western services and not replace them.

“It is important that when the new franchise is agreed our fast and semi- fast train services from Maidenhead and Twyford are protected.”

A GWR spokesman said: “We are pleased that our customers, including the MP, are keen to retain GWR services. We want to keep running them too and are keen to make sure the fast and semi fast services are maintained beyond the end of our current franchise.”

To join Mrs May’s campaign email

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