Rail service cuts plan criticised by Theresa May MP

Will Taylor

Will Taylor

Rail service cuts plan criticised by Theresa May MP

The controversial decision to reduce train services between Wargrave and Twyford on the Henley branch line has been branded ‘disappointing’ by Theresa May MP.

Great Western Railway announced last month it would reduce off-peak services for Wargrave to provide a faster service for Henley passengers.

Mrs May has now written to GWR asking for clarification on the number of passengers who will be affected by any reduction in off-peak services and how the decision has been justified.

She said: “It is very disappointing GWR intends to press ahead with cuts to the off-peak services at Wargrave.

“It is not acceptable for my constituents in Wargrave to be disadvantaged so passengers in Henley can get a faster service.”

GWR had previously suggested it would reverse the reduction and resume more services to Wargrave once electrification of the line is complete.

Mrs May continued: “GWR needs to explain why this won’t be subject to a formal consultation, and, if this goes ahead, they need to provide a firm commitment that half-hourly services will be provided from Wargrave as soon as possible once the line has been electrified.”

In 2014, proposals were put forward by the train company that off-peak services at Wargrave should be reduced to one train every hour, instead of one running every 45 minutes.

It was claimed at the time this would allow passengers at Henley to catch an improved service every half hour, and by improving the service at Henley, Wargrave services would suffer as a knock-on effect.

Last month, at a meeting with various passenger groups, including the Wargrave Users Group (WUG), in Windsor, GWR confirmed it would go ahead with plans to reduce Wargrave’s off-peak services to provide a faster service for Henley users, but did not commit to holding a public consultation on the issue.

Philip Meadowcroft, chairman of WUG, said: “It is fantastic to have a national politician on our side, of course. It does not make sense that they do not put it to a public consultation.”

He expressed hope Mrs May could pressure GWR managing director Mark Hopwood over the issue and the need to hold a public consultation.

GWR has been contacted for comment.

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