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Paddington Station is closed from 24 to 29 December for engineering works related to Crossrail, so all trains will stop at Ealing Broadway from where passengers can take the Underground into London. Those requiring assistance or going with children or luggage are advised to change to a Waterloo train at Reading. If Gillingham sounds a better option for you, please see our summary timetable for that station.

South West Trains have given Bruton a slightly improved timetable from 11 December. There is now a second train to Waterloo on weekdays, leaving Bruton at 1945, but it requires a change at Salisbury to a train which reaches Waterloo at 2258. There is a second train from Waterloo as well, leaving at 1920 and bound for Bristol, requiring a change at Westbury to a GWR train arriving at Bruton at 2202. (This one also runs on Saturdays!) We have previously pointed out that the earliest train to Waterloo is surprisingly the 1518 to Yeovil Pen  Mill, which on arrival there sets out again via Yeovil Junction and Salisbury, arriving at Waterloo at 1821. We hope South West Trains, if they get the new franchise, will give us a much fuller service from next July; we have given their top management a very clear idea of Bruton’s minimum requirement, which is morning and evening trains in both directions.

Slow progress with the electrification of the line from Paddington to Bristol and South Wales. This work has proved far more complicated and expensive than expected, and the wires will go no further than Bath for the next year or two. It matters to us because Bristol trains will now have to be hauled by locomotives that have diesel as well as electric motors - and these are the ones that were supposed to be coming on our line via Reading, Westbury and Castle Cary. So we will still have the 45-year old HST 125s with their clunky slam doors on our Paddington service. It also means that on the Bristol-Weymouth line we will have to wait several more years before getting the faster diesel trains now running to Oxford and on the Thames Valley lines, where electrification is also postponed. We are used to waiting, a bit too much so in fact!

Tired of standing waiting for the 1001 to Bath? Help is at hand; we will shortly be receiving a fine six-seater GWR-type bench to go on Platform 1 near the shelter, thanks to a grant from the Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership.

A Ticket Machine for Bruton? There is a move afoot to get a ticket machine but they cost ‘a pretty penny’ and funds might have to be raised. It would be a very great help, since at present if we buy tickets on line we have to go to Castle Cary station to collect them.

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