This December will see the long arm of Transport for London (TfL) extending out to Reading as it takes over services from GWR between Paddington and Reading.

This is all part of the ramp-up for the delayed Elizabeth line, and TfL will run four trains per hour under the TfL Rail brand between Reading and Paddington from Sunday 15th December.

There’s no change to the service frequency though as this is a direct replacement of the existing GWR service with the TfL rail one — albeit with the new Elizabeth line trains.

Some fast services will continue to be operated by GWR from Reading, Twyford, Maidenhead and Slough to Paddington.

Although travelcard zones do not apply to stations beyond West Drayton, for the first time, customers will be able to use pay as you go with contactless across the route all the way from Paddington mainline to Reading.

However, contactless ticketing will not come into effect until the annual fares revision on 2nd January 2020, and Oyster pay as you go won’t be introduced at all beyond West Drayton, due to limitations with the system, which is now more than 15 years old.

Between 15 December 2019 and 2 January 2020, existing ticketing arrangements will apply and TfL Rail fares will remain at the same price as the current GWR fares. However, in line with TfL’s wider policies, children under 11 who are accompanied by an adult, as well as customers who are eligible for the Freedom Pass, will be able to travel for free to Reading on the new TfL service.

Once introduced, adult pay as you go fares to/from stations between Iver and Reading are anticipated to be cheaper or in line with standard single and return fares along the line. All fares will be set in line with Department for Transport policy and confirmed nearer the time.

TfL expects that GWR will also offer pay as you go with contactless on their services from 2 January 2020.

Station improvement work is being delivered by TfL and Network Rail at all stations between Paddington mainline and Reading including lifts providing step-free access, new station entrances, improved customer information systems, signage and waiting rooms. At Langley and Taplow stations, new passenger bridges across the tracks have been put in place, and, at Iver, all three lift shafts have now been installed, with the station on course to become step-free by March 2020. In the build-up to taking over services, platform lengths have also been extended along the line to cater for the new trains that will serve the line.

Network Rail will be undertaking some Christmas engineering work between Tuesday 24 December and Friday 27 December, a reduced service will run on the Tuesday and Friday with replacement buses between Slough and Hillingdon. There will be no service on the entire line on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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10 comments on “TfL rail to take over GWR services to Reading from December
  1. Sean O'Brien says:

    I didn’t realise Oyster wouldn’t be introduced beyond West Drayton. I wonder how TfL will explain this on their maps or if they won’t bother like with the Heathrow Tfl Rail ‘zone 6’ that doesn’t change regular PAYG rates.

    Are there any plans to add railcards to contactless cards? At least that would help alleviate a lack of Oyster on this part of the line.

    • MikeP says:

      I came here to say exactly that 🙂

      I’m increasingly annoyed by the constant exhortation to use contactless rather than Oyster PAYG with the false claim that it’ll cost the same.

      It won’t if you’re travelling off-peak and have a railcard loaded onto your Oyster.

      I’m presuming this will turn out to be the first step towards the abolition of railcards.

  2. Stephen says:

    what if you already have a Oyster travelcard covering (say) zones 1-2? travel from Canary Wharf to Iver (which I do 3 x a week)
    before Xrail opens proper then at Paddington one will have to come in and out of gates from LUL to the NR station. and be charged contactless from Zone 1 despite already having paid for inner zones annually in advance?!
    and after Xrail opens? are we expected to use contactless for the whole journey from Canary Wharf Xrail thru to Iver … and not use the travelcard at all??!!

    • Sean O’Brien says:

      I don’t quite understand your situation but from what I can gather you’d just continue doing what you’re currently doing? I’m guessing you have a paper ticket from Iver? Paper tickets will still be in use.

    • Paul says:

      You can buy a paper ticket extension for a Travelcard to/from Iver. Then you touch in with the oyster Travelcard at Paddington and use the extension to leave the station at Iver or for an onboard ticket check. You can only buy paper extension tickets from ticket offices, which is irritating.
      If you’re travelling off peak (so can buy an off-peak day) the return extension ticket from “boundary zone 2” to Iver will save you a grand total of 30p versus a Paddington to Iver ticket. Hardly worth queuing up for is it?
      Of course, if you have more zones on your travelcard, or are travelling in the peaks, the saving is greater.

  3. Sandra R says:

    I saw somewhere else that it only be peak trains at four per hour, and only 2 per hour off peak, which is a step backwards as currently the GWR trains are about every twenty minutes. Is there an official tfl site to confirm the Times. Off peak, especially weekends can be crowded.

    • Paul says:

      Off peak and at weekends TfL will operate 2 trains per hour. Calling at:
      *West Drayton and then all stations to Reading

      GWR will still operate the Paddington – Didcot services. 2 trains per hour on weekdays during the off peak and Saturdays. 1 train per hour on Sundays.

      They will call at:
      *Southall (Sundays only)
      *West Drayton (weekdays during the off peak and all day Saturdays)
      *Reading and then stations to Didcot

      Times can be found on National Rail Enquiries.

  4. Dan Wall says:

    I am concerned that TFL will charge higher fares at Slough/ Reading using contactless rather than Oyster. The excuse about Oyster being too old is a feeble load of codswollop.

    • ianvisits says:

      Can you elaborate on why you think the reasons given about a 16 year old technology that is not supported widely outside London is “codswollop”.

  5. Dan Wall says:

    Ok Oyster might be an old system but my worry is that contactless will e more expensive. How an I put it?
    If Slough had gone into Oyster zone 8/9 which was widely muted fares would have come down. Now,with contactless, I don’t see this being the equivalent? It will e a 2 tier system!!

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