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Thames Trains – filling in the gaps
Member Name: libertybell
Date: 18/08/00, updated on 18/08/00 (166 review reads)
Advantages: Clean, modern, fills in the gaps, goes to Stratford
Disadvantages: safety, not a great deal of comfort
Thames Trains operate a fleet of Diesel Multiple Units between London Paddington, Reading, Malvern, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon. The main work is providing a stopping service between London and Oxford.
The trains are reasonably comfortable but you can get a little squashed on a crowded one. Unlike First Great Western, a trolley service is provided which just about squeezes up the aisle dispensing beers, hot drinks and other edibles.
The interior of each carriage is neutral with illustrations of the places serves on the front and rear panels of each carriage. There is also an electronic indicator which shows the ultimate destination and all stops in between. This is a nice touch and allows you to count the number of stops before you need to get off.
Thames Trains have been quite clever in expanding upon the routes once served by their British rail predecessor. It is now possible to catch through trains between Paddington and Stratford-upon-Avon serving Reading, Oxford and Warwick. This saves the need to wait for a connection at Leamington Spa. There is a late evening return service, which leaves after the play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
The trains are reasonably clean and free from litter. They are pretty modern with a form of ‘air conditioning’ and push button doors. On a good run, they can get up to about 90-100 mph though at this speed they do vibrate a bit !
An advantage of using a Thames Train service to London is that there are fewer ticket restrictions. You cannot travel from Paddington on a 125 between approximately 1630 and 1930 on a cheap day return during the week. You can on a Thames Turbo – hence they tend to be pretty crowded. This can be made even worse if a fast 125 to Reading has been cancelled or is running late.
My only criticism of the service is the design of the trains themselves. Unfortunately one was involved in the Ladbroke Grove crash and very little was left o
Sometimes the trains are late or cancelled, but this is to be expected in an industry with rising passenger numbers and limited room for expansion.
Overall, they are not a bad company and are a big improvement on the British Rail service.