Commute by train to university? Or maybe you just use the trains to escape to home for the odd weekend. Either way, as the Christmas holidays approach, students should be aware of the big changes to train services between Reading and London Paddington. The train company follows with further warnings of altered timetables between these stations as the services changes. Operations director of Transport for London (TfL) Rail, Howard Smith said, “Starting TfL Rail services to Reading is another step towards opening London’s new railway, the Elizabeth line.
“Customers will see staff at every station, and improvements being made to stations along the route including the installation of lifts to provide step-free access. They will also be able to enjoy the convenience of pay as you go contactless payments all the way to Reading.”
Passengers will see huge impacts on how the trains are run, from new timetables and contactless payments to more frequent trains and extra seating.
The shakeup is being billed as the biggest timetable change on the network since 1976. Although all trains are currently run by Great Western Railway (GWR), soon TfL will be taking control of over half of trains running between Reading and London Paddington before the Crossrail’s Elizabeth line extending to the town.
GWR will keep operating stopping services between Reading and London Paddington calling at intermediate stations, with some reaching Didcot and lengthening trains to 12 carriages during peak hours. GWR will maintain the fast-direct trains to London Paddington. These services will merge with TfL’s stopping services to provide an improved overall service able to carry more passengers, especially during the company’s busiest hours.
Ultimately inter–city route trains will become more frequent, however not all of them will continue to stop at Reading. Also, not all city-to-city trains will stop at Reading or Swindon – so you’ll need to make sure you’re on the right train.
Chief executive of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Paul Britton said: “An extra 10,000 seats in the morning peak into London Paddington is great news for businesses in the Thames Valley and London.”. Promises of extra seats and increased frequency of services during rush hours met commuters with an air of approval, as previously passengers had bottlenecked around these peak times, causing further delays. Yet new Intercity Express trains already operating between Reading and London Paddington will be faster with journey times reduced by up to eight minutes to 22 minutes.
The changes will be introduced on Sunday, December 15th. Be sure to check timetables and the GWR website for more information if you rely on these services to travel over the Christmas break.