Posted 10th October 2014 | 4 Comments

Network Rail says 'sorry' for Great Western delays

[story updated 11.48 10/10/2014]

REPEATED disruption on the Great Western Main Line through the Thames Valley this week has prompted Network Rail to apologise, after signal failures at Slough were blamed for the difficulties. First Great Western said the disruptions had been 'frustrating'.

Scores of trains were cancelled, while many others were curtailed or delayed. One Railnews reader commented: "I have been delayed twice this week at Paddington waiting for a non-existing train to appear."

Network Rail said: “We are sorry for the problems that have affected train services on the Great Western Main Line this week. Performance has been well below the standards passengers deserve and expect.

“We are acutely aware of the frustration and inconvenience felt by passengers when things go wrong. We are working constantly across the rail network to improve the reliability of train services, investing billions over the next five years across the West's rail network to improve signalling, replace old equipment and bring in new modern technology and new trains to provide more reliable train services."

First Great Western said it welcomed the apology, after the problems had spilled into a third day in what had been 'a frustrating week for passengers'.

Network Rail had first reported problems with signalling and related equipment in the Slough area early on Monday 6 October, blocking all lines. The result was that only 25 per cent of booked services could run.

Another problem occurred yesterday (Thursday), which again meant that a full timetable could not be provided. The fault was eventually repaired at 07.00 this morning, but not before it had again had a significant effect on the morning rush hour. FGW lifted ticket restrictions and offered refunds to passengers.

Network Rail is still investigating exactly what caused the fault. A spokesman added: "This week we have not been able to provide the reliability passengers expect for which we apologise. We are wholly focused on delivering a new, modern, reliable rail network for London and the West."

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • jak jaye, leamington spa

    Same old lame excuses from Notwork Fail they should change the record
    its getting tiresome,when will people wake up and smell the coffee? rail privatisation is and has been a disaster,to private contractors NR is an open cheque book,FGW are a disgrace to their long suffering customers putting up with cattle style HSTs and woefully short set DMUs and whatever happened to the 180s that were supposed to free up so many extra trains yep just another empty promise to hng on to their franchise

  • les burge, leicester

    Thats good for sleeper services Ed. But the only thing you mentioned that will help the public is the signalling improvements.Not much compared to London End of the Line.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Having recently been the guest at our local Thames Valley Signalling Centre, I am well aware now how the slightest fault can bring chaos to a route that is 'full' with very few options to re-route trains in the event of any Signalling Failure. I'm guessing here as to the cause but I'm aware that all the signal wiring is being replaced out of Paddington by Fibre-Optic Cable to avoid any influence or effect by the Electrification of the Western Main Line. It also has the benefit of not being worth anything to thieves although they still are digging up cable thinking its made of Copper. But replacing anything always brings risks of mistakes and problems.

  • Tim, Devon

    "investing billions over the next five years across the West's rail network to improve signalling, replace old equipment and bring in new modern technology and new trains to provide more reliable train services."
    None of it is being invested in the real South West (Devon and Cornwall). It's all being spent on London and Bristol areas

    (On 3 July this year, the DfT announced that 146.6 million was being invested in infrastructure and services. Quote: "the interior of the Night Riviera Sleeper trains will be completely overhauled, the Long Rock train maintenance site at Penzance will be expanded [and] a major programme of signalling improvements will start five years earlier than planned, providing faster journeys between Penzance and Totnes and paving the way for the potential introduction of half-hourly services on the Cornish main line".--Editor.)