Check Before You Travel by Train this Bank Holiday Weekend

Mark Hopwood, GWR’s Managing Director, advises:

Dear Henley Herald readers

I advised you recently about rail improvement works affecting trains to and from Paddington station over this weekend (5-7 May). Until this week there were still trains on the national journey planner system that were not displaying correctly. Although all trains have now been uploaded (as of Wednesday 2 May), I wanted to alert you and let you know why this happened and what we are doing about it.

Network Rail were late in validating and loading the revised timetable, which removed around 30 trains that were still shown as running. Usually this is completed twelve weeks before the journey. More recently the rail industry agreed to reduce this to six weeks as Network Rail timetable and data teams were struggling to keep on top of the volume of timetable changes being made to support rail improvement work across the UK.

However, the six week deadline has not been met in all cases, and we are now less than a week from the service changes and trains that will not be running have only recently been removed from the system.

We have made, and continue to make, robust representations about this and Network Rail assure us they understand the importance of the issue. We pressed for this to be given the highest priority, as we were very concerned that customers may have planned to use trains that were not running.

To help spread the message we have put the following measures into place:

  • Pop messages on our journey planners for customers booking tickets
  • Messages on our dedicated web page which is the page all our printed and digital communications highlight for customers
  • Emails to customers booking tickets through asking them to check their journey before travel; we will also be issuing a reminder to all customers who have booked to travel with us
  • Briefings for staff so that they can offer advice to customers booking at stations
  • Clear information on the National Rail Enquiries website
  • We have also contacted Trainline to ask them to alert customers, and we know that Transport Focus are also in touch with them about providing more by way of warnings about journeys impacted by upgrade work
  • Our Assisted Travel team are managing all customers who require assistance

We hope that this will mean customers are alerted to the need to check, but we know that incorrect information on the national system can be very confusing. Although the situation has now been resolved, I wanted you to be aware in case you know of others travelling or intend to travel yourself over the weekend.

Best wishes

Mark Hopwood | Managing Director | Great Western Railway

Local rail support group Henley Trains ( are happy to raise questions with GWR for any further information on this or any GWR matter and GWR will do their best to help.