Train operator First Great Western is seeing more people travelling on its London and Thames Valley services during the traditionally quieter period between Christmas and New Year.
One explanation is the closure of the Hammersmith Flyover, which has been closed since a series of inspections carried out by Transport for London (TfL) revealed a structural defect before Christmas. The road - a major arterial route into and out of London - is likely to remain closed until at least early January.
While diversions are in place, motorists can expect delays, particularly during peak periods. Due to the quieter Christmas period, car parks at stations near the M4 are less busy than usual, which means First Great Western has the space to accommodate commuters affected by the flyover closure who wish to take the train into London.
First Great Western operates four stations within 3.5 miles of the M4, all with car parking facilities and fast times into London Paddington:
Theale Station (Ideally situated off Junction 12 of the M4). Fastest Journey time during the morning peak is 43 minutes.
Slough Station (1.5 miles from junction 6 of the M4). Fastest Journey time during the morning peak is 19 minutes.
Reading Station (3.5 miles from Junction 11 of the M4). Fastest Journey time during the morning peak is 29 minutes.
Taplow Station (2 miles from junction 7 of the M4, via the A4). Fastest Journey time during the morning peak is 35 minutes.
FGW also operate:
Didcot Parkway (accessible from the M4, via the A34). Fastest Journey time during the morning peak is 43 minutes.
First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “Rail passengers numbers in the London Thames Valley are higher than the same time last year, and it looks like the closure of the Hammersmith Flyover is contributing to that.
“We’re pleased that we’re able to offer a fast, affordable and convenient alternative for journeys into London.”