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Rail passengers hit out at overcrowding despite new timetable

Commuters have responded with scepticism to claims by rail bosses that capacity on busy services has been increased since Christmas.

A new timetable by Great Western Railway (GWR) was rolled out in January promising more trains between Maidenhead and London Paddington.

But passengers are still reporting overcrowding and that fewer services are running at the busiest times.

Colin Ede, from Maidenhead, contacted the Advertiser with a complaint he sent to GWR claiming that last year there had been three trains from London to Maidenhead during the week between 5.36-5.49pm offering a total of 24 carriages, but since Christmas this had been slashed to just one eight-carriage service.

Nick Schultz, of Station Road, Wargrave, who launched the GrumpNow app in October to make complaining about rail issues easier, said he had also seen an increase in problems since the start of the year.

He said: “The timing for the app’s launch was fortuitous – it has got worse, there’s always problems.

“But since they’ve rolled out the new timetables and rolling stock, which are very nice, scheduling seems to be quite squeezed.

“They’ve talked about extra capacity, but that’s not necessarily seats.”

He added the 7.33am weekday service was the single most complained about service on the app.

According to GWR’s timetables, since Christmas two extra trains now run from Maidenhead to London between 6.30-9.30am on weekday mornings and one extra has been added for commuters returning from London between 4.30-7pm.

However, GWR was unable to provide any figures relating to capacity on these services.

In a statement, a spokesman for the firm said: "The current train timetable is providing increased capacity, improved journey times and an extra evening peak service between Maidenhead and London."

It added: “The new trains, and better timetable have improved service, but we acknowledge there is still work to do; we have had some challenges shortly after the New Year [including power cuts on January 9].”

“There have been other incidents recently, which have caused crew and trains to be displaced.

“This has impacted our ability to run the timetabled service as we would like.

“Instead of cancelling a service outright we will run it albeit with fewer carriages than scheduled where necessary.”

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