Fastest Paddington to Oxford (and vice versa) service?

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FelixtheCat

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As the title: The fastest Paddington to Oxford service (it can go on to Hereford or something). Also, if it isn't the same, the train with the fewest stops between those two stations? Thanks!
 
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Nippy

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Well at a guess (I'm not at work now) it will be about 52 minutes on the 15:52 or 17:22 ex Padd calling at Reading.

I had a quick look and see you've all found quicker!
 
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Doctor Fegg

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Either the 15.52 or 17.22 departures M-F, both of them Cotswold trains with one stop at Reading. Both are timetabled for 52 minutes.

The down Cathedrals Express used to be timetabled for ~45 minutes, but that's long gone due to Heathrow Express-induced congestion, added Reading stops, and more defensive driving.
 

furlong

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The down Cathedrals Express used to be timetabled for ~45 minutes, but that's long gone due to Heathrow Express-induced congestion, added Reading stops, and more defensive driving.

And on an unhindered run did the 63.5 miles in comfortably less than 40 minutes, slowing significantly only to pass through Reading station.
 

168lover

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Fastest London-Oxford? Obviously via the chiltern line:lol: The fast trains from London to Oxford Parkway do it in 56 minutes even while stopping at Haddenham and Thame Parkway and Bicester Village.
 
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MK Tom

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Fastest London-Oxford? Obviously via the chiltern line:lol: The fast trains from London to Oxford Parkway do it in 56 minutes even while stopping at Haddenham and Thame Parkway and Bicester Village.

How much will the leg into Oxford proper add to that? I'm wondering what a service skipping those stops via that route could do it in!
 

Phil.

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And on an unhindered run did the 63.5 miles in comfortably less than 40 minutes, slowing significantly only to pass through Reading station.

63.5 miles in 40 minutes gives an average speed of 90.25 mph.
No way jose!
 

Nippy

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Be interesting to see how quickly they could do it is with a clear run, especially with the higher speed through Reading.
 

Doctor Fegg

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63.5 miles in 40 minutes gives an average speed of 90.25 mph.
No way jose!

I'll confess I never knew the Cathedrals Express do London-Oxford in 40 minutes, but it's not that outlandish an idea. In the late '90s I used to catch the 08.00 from Paddington every morning, and it would frequently draw up at Reading while 08.22 was still showing on the displays. Even today there are Reading-Oxford services timetabled to take 21 minutes.

So that's 43 minutes including a complete stop at Reading. 40 minutes if you keep moving? I don't see why not.
 

30907

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I'll confess I never knew the Cathedrals Express do London-Oxford in 40 minutes, but it's not that outlandish an idea. In the late '90s I used to catch the 08.00 from Paddington every morning, and it would frequently draw up at Reading while 08.22 was still showing on the displays. Even today there are Reading-Oxford services timetabled to take 21 minutes.

So that's 43 minutes including a complete stop at Reading. 40 minutes if you keep moving? I don't see why not.

I recall Padd-Didcot was booked nonstop in 30 on one or two trains at one time, meaning that 40 to Oxford is perfectly doable, if by some miracle the down platform is empty!
 

jimm

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63.5 miles in 40 minutes gives an average speed of 90.25 mph.
No way jose!

While I would certainly have my doubts about 'comfortably less than 40 minutes' to Oxford, there would have been nothing unusual about a 90mph average timing on a GWML HST service back in the 1980s.

There were several HSTs in 1977-78 with start to stop timings over 41.3 miles between Swindon and Reading averaging 103.3mph and 70 GWML services a day with an average of 90mph plus, e.g. Paddington-Newport non-stop in 86 minutes, an average of 93.1mph.
 

Phil.

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Right, well, first my apologies. Being somewhat more mature in years when the Cathedrals Express was mentioned I immediately thought of eight or nine on a Castle's drawbar.
So HSTs it is then. In the first (2+7, no speed limiters fitted and a fairly blind eye by management who were secretly pleased about startling timings being set) years of HST operations you could clear Reading in 20 minutes. You could manage Reading to Oxford in 22 minutes. So to sum up, if you had a sporting driver, a departure off platform 7 or 8 from Padders and green lights with no TSRs anywhere I reckon Oxford could be had in 42 minutes. It couldn't be done nowadays though, defensive driving and over-managed drivers have seen to that.
 

jimm

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Right, well, first my apologies. Being somewhat more mature in years when the Cathedrals Express was mentioned I immediately thought of eight or nine on a Castle's drawbar.
So HSTs it is then. In the first (2+7, no speed limiters fitted and a fairly blind eye by management who were secretly pleased about startling timings being set) years of HST operations you could clear Reading in 20 minutes. You could manage Reading to Oxford in 22 minutes. So to sum up, if you had a sporting driver, a departure off platform 7 or 8 from Padders and green lights with no TSRs anywhere I reckon Oxford could be had in 42 minutes. It couldn't be done nowadays though, defensive driving and over-managed drivers have seen to that.

The use of ATP is rather more of a factor in timings these days than anything else, never mind that there are a lot more trains running on the GWML, virtually everything has a Reading stop, and the lack of enough HSTs and 180s to cover all the Oxford fasts means there are Turbos in the fast line mix at some points in the day, so providing paths to belt along in the manner of the late 1970s and 1980s is rather difficult.

I have a vague recollection that an HST run right on the limit, well inside 45 minutes, was made for publicity purposes when they first started going to Oxford in the early 1980s but to confirm it would need some rooting around in old copies of the Oxford newspapers.
 

Nippy

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I guess a 180 with no engines out and with a clear run and no speed restrictions would do well. 125 mph all the way from Acton to Didcot wth the exception of the 95 through Reading.
 

cactustwirly

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There are some peak-time Oxford Terminators formed of HSTs, which take 54 minutes.
I reckon you'll struggle to beat this (even when Chiltern eventually turn up)

When the 387s/Class 801s arrive, the time might fall
 
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Kentish Paul

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I recall Padd-Didcot was booked nonstop in 30 on one or two trains at one time, meaning that 40 to Oxford is perfectly doable, if by some miracle the down platform is empty!

Don't get me started. I remember in the late 70s watching HSTs pass Didcot. If the clocks were right the down Bristols and South Wales were passing Didcot 28 minutes after leaving Paddington. Remember clocking one HST on the mileposts not dropping below 132mph between Swindon and Reading.

My first ever HST trip was a day return from Paddington to Newport (non stop) in December 1976. Fantastic.
 

jimm

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There are some peak-time Oxford Terminators formed of HSTs, which take 54 minutes.
I reckon you'll struggle to beat this (even when Chiltern eventually turn up)

When the 387s/Class 801s arrive, the time might fall

As Nippy pointed out in the second post of the thread, the 15.52 Paddington to Moreton-in-Marsh and the 17.22 from Paddington to Hereford are both booked to be at Oxford in 52 minutes.

The now almost legendary DfT spreadsheet with a suggested IEP timetable had a standard Paddington-Oxford timing of 49 minutes, inclusive of a two-minute stop at Reading, and 50 minutes Oxford-Paddington.
 

Mag_seven

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Don't get me started. I remember in the late 70s watching HSTs pass Didcot. If the clocks were right the down Bristols and South Wales were passing Didcot 28 minutes after leaving Paddington. Remember clocking one HST on the mileposts not dropping below 132mph between Swindon and Reading.

My first ever HST trip was a day return from Paddington to Newport (non stop) in December 1976. Fantastic.

Then things like Heathrow Express and the need for more trains with more stops destroyed the ability to do things like that on the GWML :(
 

Western Lord

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Don't get me started. I remember in the late 70s watching HSTs pass Didcot. If the clocks were right the down Bristols and South Wales were passing Didcot 28 minutes after leaving Paddington. Remember clocking one HST on the mileposts not dropping below 132mph between Swindon and Reading.

My first ever HST trip was a day return from Paddington to Newport (non stop) in December 1976. Fantastic.

Aaaah! The days when the GWML was a high speed railway rather than a glorified tramway.
 

JB_B

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I remember doing 45 minutes Paddington / Oxford actual time on occasion towards the end of the last decade but that involved negative time connections at Reading.

I think the old(ish) Cathedrals (HST) was managing around 47 minutes direct around the turn of the millennium but I could be wrong.
 
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Mag_seven

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Aaaah! The days when the GWML was a high speed railway rather than a glorified tramway.

And the HSTs were used to provide fast limited stop services from London to Bristol and South Wales, rather than fast services from Reading to London for Reading commuters.
 

brad465

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I really hope when electrification is complete that the 95mph through Reading is really well used, otherwise it would be pointless if only two morning Swansea-Paddington services use it :idea: :idea: .
 

D1009

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The current 1742 Paddington Cheltenham must have potential for some decent non stop times to Didcot. The train in front of it runs into platform 7 at Reading and should be well clear. I used it a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately the driver must have been using the energy saving advisory system whatever it's called.
 

jimm

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And the HSTs were used to provide fast limited stop services from London to Bristol and South Wales, rather than fast services from Reading to London for Reading commuters.

And nothing like as many people commuted into Reading from places like Oxford, Didcot and Swindon as do today, or changed trains there. Not everyone using Reading station is a commuter going to and from Paddington. The world has changed and the speed of the HSTs drove that process, encouraging the longer-distance commuting we see today - into Reading and into Paddington.

I really hope when electrification is complete that the 95mph through Reading is really well used, otherwise it would be pointless if only two morning Swansea-Paddington services use it :idea: :idea: .

And the 2018/19 timetables will see the extra Bristol service each hour passing through non-stop.

It was faster 25 years ago between Oxford and London than it is now

Journeys to many places along the GWML were faster 25 years ago but there were rather fewer trains running then - e.g. Oxford did not have a half-hourly fast service plus half-hourly semi-fasts, Bristol and Cardiff were only hourly - so it was easier to path services, and not everything stopped at Reading, as it wasn't the traffic generator/magnet and key interchange it is today. Similarly, Swindon has been developed as a commuter dormitory town, so lots of trains from South Wales and Bristol sailing past with empty seats is simply not practical.

And just as Virgin's odd superfast headline timing service today is neither here nor there for the bulk of their passengers, whose journeys don't coincide with those trains, 25 years ago there was a handful of HSTs each day between Oxford and London, with most people's experience of the faster services on the route being a string of worn-out Network South East Mk1s or Mk2s hauled by 47s of less-than-sparkling performance.

Nostalgia isn't always all it's cracked up to be.
 
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