15th December sees the introduction of Crossrail trains on some suburban services between Paddington Mainline Station and Reading, taking over the services terminating at Reading that were previously run by Great Western Railway.
This will change the service pattern on suburban trains, with Crossrail services becoming all stops, and the alternating GWR services (to/from Didcot or Oxford) becoming limited stop from Reading (Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, West Drayton, Hayes and Paddington only).
For more context go to the GWR timetable change website.
Henley Trains (firstname.lastname@example.org) have been involved in the planning and provide an update below:
Firstly, it should be noted that Crossrail services will be run by trains more like tube trains, as they will eventually run right through Central London. They do have wifi but they do not have toilets, tables, hat-racks and power like the GWR trains. The GWR services are undeniably more suited to our length of service to and from London, and for this and speed purposes, we have done our best to ensure that branch connections to and from London are to GWR services.
As a result, local passengers travelling to and from London will not see much change – but beware of slightly changed times on the Henley branch and connecting trains.
From a London commuter perspective, all of the existing morning rush hour trains will run as now, although most are scheduled to run slightly faster. Evening rush hour connections are also broadly the same (1650, 1719, 1751, 1820, 1849, 1920). Twyford connections from those services will be slightly longer to ensure better resilience than now, but overall journey times are about the same.
From a London off-peak perspective, the first two connecting trains off the Henley branch will be slower Crossrail services, and the first arrival into Paddington will be 1017 instead of 1008. However, in the longer term, if the schedule sticks when the tunnel opens, that train will run straight through into Central London. This may be ideal for both off-peak business and leisure travellers. Another benefit is for families – Crossrail trains allow accompanied children under 12 to travel free, where on GWR it’s under 5. So families planning to go into London, if you stick to Crossrail between Twyford and London and back, you’ll only need tickets to Twyford and back for your children aged between 5 and 11.
Going INTO London, all other services during the daytime and evening off-peak and evening will be limited stop GWR services, with Crossrail connections during the evening peak being all stops (helpful for local commuters).
Coming OUT of London, connections to the branch after the morning peak will be on faster, GWR trains, for the whole of the rest of the day. In addition there will be a new fast service from Paddington at 2115, giving hourly fast service throughout the evening (connecting trains at 1920, 2018, 2115, 2220, 2250 and the last, slightly earlier train at 2315).
Unfortunately, connections TO Reading off-peak during the day at Twyford will be extended. This is because the Crossrail services stop at all stops while the GWR services are limited stop, and bunching (and thus a gap) happens by Twyford, westbound and it’s just not possible to make perfect connections in every direction. HOWEVER, peak travellers to and from Reading will be served by some good connections. The 0837 from Henley getting passengers to Reading for 0900 and the 0911 by 0941 as examples. In the evening, the Reading departure at 1706 will have people into Henley by 1733, the 1741 by 1804, the 1809 by 1839.
Please note that ALL branch train times after 0845 will be slightly different – in some cases earlier.
You can send your questions to us at email@example.com and we will be happy to help.
Or you can make a personal timetable for your journey by going to the national rail pocket timetable site. Note that two of the time option allows a midnight to midday, or midday to midnight period rather than just four hours. We recommend you choose 16 Dec – 20 Dec for a weekday timetable so as to catch a standard week before Christmas.
We will continue to update you as the time gets closer.