The Great Western Railway

I attended a meeting today with the management of Great Western at the Commons. In a general presentation they said they wished to consult widely and to listen to passengers and taxpayer representatives. They favour “partnership” working with us.

I said they ( and more especially Network Rail) had often in the past ignored good advice and passenger complaints. My constituents want more seating capacity out of Reading in the morning, and more out of Paddington back home in the evening. We want more reliable trains. We want better road crossings over or under the railway to reduce the danger to trains and delays to cars.We want more and cheaper car parkign at stations and better road access to stations.

Taxpayers want to pay less in subsidy. That means selling more seats on the many little used trains. It means running shorter trains to cut the costs in off peak services. It means better signals and braking system and lighter trains so more trains can run per hour at busy times, and to cut the huge energy bills of the present railway.

They know they have a captive customer base for commuting, and successive governments which will subsidise the railway if it carries on losing money. Let’s hope this time they mean it when they say they are listening and wish to improve the service.


  1. Simon Cutler
    December 5, 2013

    Please also don’t forget those of us who commute Westwards, John. Whilst I remain hopeful that investment in Wokingham and Reading stations will ultimately make a difference, having commuted to Swindon for the past 13 years, I see little difference so far after nearly £1Bn investment. I miss so many connections waiting for a platform outside Reading, despite 10 empty tracks and platforms either side of me, and struggle daily with others to force my way past the constant building work; oddly enough, I have not seen a reduction in my season ticket during the past 2 years when performance and customer experience have been badly affected – something worth investigating? A few other gripes now you have got me started: (1) Why do I have to pay to pee at Wokingham station, I thought the £5k I paid p.a. might cover that cost? (2) Why are toilets on trains generally disgraceful, often without running water and filthy? (3) Why are the electronic signs installed at Reading station so small that they are impossible to read from a distance? (4) Why was Reading station designed with too few escalators in the main hall? (5) Why are trains that are 5 mins late e.g. regularly the 0717 from Wokingham to Reading not (as defined by the rail operators) actually, erm, late? I could go on, but it is Christmas and, despite my commute, I am feeling more jolly than usual. Grateful, as always, for your championing of this cause.

  2. Roger Bacon
    December 13, 2013

    Very glad to see these issues are being taken to FGW. Let’s hope something comes out of it. I take the 7:17 via Reading to Paddington every day and it can be a miserable experience. Most of the issues are outlined above but their latest tactic, which I have encountered on the way home three times in the last month, is not to stop at any stations until Guildford to catch up with the timetable. Thanks FGW – and keep the money I paid for my season ticket, why don’t you!

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