Oxford MailRail station remains on right track (From Oxford Mail)

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Rail station remains on right track

Oxford Mail: Andrew Wilkins, treasurer of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group and Hanborough parish representative for transport, at Long Hanborough station Buy this photo Andrew Wilkins, treasurer of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group and Hanborough parish representative for transport, at Long Hanborough station

A RAILWAY station that came close to closure in the 1960s is now the second busiest in West Oxfordshire after a 25 per cent jump in passenger traffic in just one year.

Figures released by the Office of Rail Regulation show that between April 2012 and March last year, 172,684 journeys were made from and to Hanborough, up from 137,454 in the previous 12 months.

A decade ago, 69,997 journeys were recorded there. In the mid-1960s, a notice proposing its closure was issued by British Railways.

The increase moved Hanborough ahead of Kingham station, where there was also a rise in traffic, of eight per cent, though Charlbury remains the busiest on the Cotswold Line.

The increase came before an extension to the car park at Hanborough, costing £400,000, was opened last July, with spaces for 191 cars to meet demand from commuters driving to the station.

Train operator First Great Western said growth had continued, though at a slower pace, since the ORR figures were compiled.

The Cotswold Line Promotion Group, which represents passengers on the Oxford-Worcester route, now wants to see the platform extended and improved facilities for passengers provided at the station, which is off Main Road in Long Hanborough.

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John Ellis, the group’s chairman, said: “The CLPG is delighted by the recent figures showing the growth.

“It is now producing problems of capacity for passengers getting on to and off trains at Hanborough’s short platform.

“We hope that FGW and Network Rail will progress the case for a longer platform in the near future."

And the group’s treasurer, Andrew Wilkins, who is also the parish transport representative for Hanborough, added: “Hanborough now has higher numbers of passengers than Kingham - where there is a booking clerk on duty each morning - but no regular staff presence.

“I think there is now a good case for some staffing at Hanborough, in the morning peak in particular, to improve customer service.’’ An FGW spokesman said the company was looking into the possibility of a platform extension but there were no plans to provide staff at present.

Elsewhere in Oxfordshire, Radley station also saw a double-digit rise in traffic, up 16.1 per cent, with 114,766 journeys in 2012-13, up from 98,846 in 2011-12, which itself represented a 16.5 per cent rise on 2010-11.

The number of passengers beginning or ending their journeys at Oxford station rose from 6.2 million to 6.3 million, more than double the 3,064,362 recorded in 1997-1998, the first year after the rail network was privatised. About £70m has been set aside for expansion plans.

Comments (11)

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5:42am Sun 30 Mar 14

Myron Blatz says...

With that sort of passenger use and revenue income genetation, I'm surprised Oxford Bus and Stagecoach aren't all over Hanborough and its hinterland with buses every four minutes, like the people of that other well-known rural Oxfordshire Parish of Blackbird Leys get. In fact the bus frequency for Blackbird Leys is so ridiculous with one behind the next, that you could almost get them towing each other just like a proper train, and call it the Leys Tube!
With that sort of passenger use and revenue income genetation, I'm surprised Oxford Bus and Stagecoach aren't all over Hanborough and its hinterland with buses every four minutes, like the people of that other well-known rural Oxfordshire Parish of Blackbird Leys get. In fact the bus frequency for Blackbird Leys is so ridiculous with one behind the next, that you could almost get them towing each other just like a proper train, and call it the Leys Tube! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 1

10:16am Sun 30 Mar 14

King Joke says...

The buses serving BBL are very well used so the level of service is not 'ridiculous'.

The demand at Hanborough is mainly for London and mainly in the peak. It would be difficult for a bus company to compete with rail on a very peaky long distance flow like this.
The buses serving BBL are very well used so the level of service is not 'ridiculous'. The demand at Hanborough is mainly for London and mainly in the peak. It would be difficult for a bus company to compete with rail on a very peaky long distance flow like this. King Joke
  • Score: 0

11:03am Sun 30 Mar 14

jimm says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
With that sort of passenger use and revenue income genetation, I'm surprised Oxford Bus and Stagecoach aren't all over Hanborough and its hinterland with buses every four minutes, like the people of that other well-known rural Oxfordshire Parish of Blackbird Leys get. In fact the bus frequency for Blackbird Leys is so ridiculous with one behind the next, that you could almost get them towing each other just like a proper train, and call it the Leys Tube!
Myron, the trains are far faster - seven or minutes' journey time - than any bus could do the journey, and the train fares are not that high, which is why people from Hanborough (and its hinterland) use the trains, same goes for Charlbury.

And no, Mr Joke, the demand is not mainly for London (apart from very early in the morning), nor is it mainly in the peak. With the extra car parking, which means people can turn up at Hanborough at any time of the day now and actually find somewhere to park, there has been growth right across the day.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: With that sort of passenger use and revenue income genetation, I'm surprised Oxford Bus and Stagecoach aren't all over Hanborough and its hinterland with buses every four minutes, like the people of that other well-known rural Oxfordshire Parish of Blackbird Leys get. In fact the bus frequency for Blackbird Leys is so ridiculous with one behind the next, that you could almost get them towing each other just like a proper train, and call it the Leys Tube![/p][/quote]Myron, the trains are far faster - seven or minutes' journey time - than any bus could do the journey, and the train fares are not that high, which is why people from Hanborough (and its hinterland) use the trains, same goes for Charlbury. And no, Mr Joke, the demand is not mainly for London (apart from very early in the morning), nor is it mainly in the peak. With the extra car parking, which means people can turn up at Hanborough at any time of the day now and actually find somewhere to park, there has been growth right across the day. jimm
  • Score: 1

10:37pm Sun 30 Mar 14

nickwilcock says...

It's not suprising that people drive to Hanborough station, given the ridiculous 242 bus timetable in the evenings.

To catch the 17:45 bus to Witney, you'd have to leave Paddington at 15:52, then wait at Hanborough for 47 minutes. Alternatively, to catch the next (and last) 242 service to Witney ar 19:00, you'd have to leave Paddington at 17:22 and hang around for a mere 34 minutes for the bus.....

Until FGW and Stagecoach work on an integrated, convenient timetable, it'd be easier to drive to the station. And when Chiltern start running their Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone service next year, I suspect that Hanborough will become much quieter.

Recent FGW timetable changes have seen more and more cheap day return passengers abandoning their service and using Chiltern instead - hardly surpising given the difference between the 'any train home' policy of Chiltern compared with the 'between this time and that time, you can only use these trains provided that there's an R in the month of alternate leap years' nonsense of FGW!
It's not suprising that people drive to Hanborough station, given the ridiculous 242 bus timetable in the evenings. To catch the 17:45 bus to Witney, you'd have to leave Paddington at 15:52, then wait at Hanborough for 47 minutes. Alternatively, to catch the next (and last) 242 service to Witney ar 19:00, you'd have to leave Paddington at 17:22 and hang around for a mere 34 minutes for the bus..... Until FGW and Stagecoach work on an integrated, convenient timetable, it'd be easier to drive to the station. And when Chiltern start running their Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone service next year, I suspect that Hanborough will become much quieter. Recent FGW timetable changes have seen more and more cheap day return passengers abandoning their service and using Chiltern instead - hardly surpising given the difference between the 'any train home' policy of Chiltern compared with the 'between this time and that time, you can only use these trains provided that there's an R in the month of alternate leap years' nonsense of FGW! nickwilcock
  • Score: 0

12:09am Wed 2 Apr 14

jimm says...

nickwilcock wrote:
It's not suprising that people drive to Hanborough station, given the ridiculous 242 bus timetable in the evenings.

To catch the 17:45 bus to Witney, you'd have to leave Paddington at 15:52, then wait at Hanborough for 47 minutes. Alternatively, to catch the next (and last) 242 service to Witney ar 19:00, you'd have to leave Paddington at 17:22 and hang around for a mere 34 minutes for the bus.....

Until FGW and Stagecoach work on an integrated, convenient timetable, it'd be easier to drive to the station. And when Chiltern start running their Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone service next year, I suspect that Hanborough will become much quieter.

Recent FGW timetable changes have seen more and more cheap day return passengers abandoning their service and using Chiltern instead - hardly surpising given the difference between the 'any train home' policy of Chiltern compared with the 'between this time and that time, you can only use these trains provided that there's an R in the month of alternate leap years' nonsense of FGW!
So on the one hand, everyone should catch the bus to Hanborough, if only the bus service was better, on the other, the instant that Chiltern starts running, they will all jump in their cars and drive to Water Eaton - that assumes they can get through the Wolvercote/Pear Tree bottleneck - or rat-run through Cassington - as any road improvements there are not going to happen by next year.

What on earth FGW timetable changes have to do with cheap day returns, I have no idea. Off-peak day returns have been banned from Paddington expresses in the peak for years - whereas Hanborough, like all Cotswold Line stations, can be reached from London on an off-peak return (the type valid for one month, not the day version) in the evening peak, which is not the case for Oxford passengers. Chiltern does not sell cheap day returns and its super off-peak tickets, the nearest equivalent, are not valid in the evening peak from London either.

And if people are abandoning FGW, why is traffic up hugely at Hanborough - which is what this story is all about!!!! - and other Cotswold Line stations? Maybe people just prefer to use the stations near home, rather than drive all the way to Bicester.
[quote][p][bold]nickwilcock[/bold] wrote: It's not suprising that people drive to Hanborough station, given the ridiculous 242 bus timetable in the evenings. To catch the 17:45 bus to Witney, you'd have to leave Paddington at 15:52, then wait at Hanborough for 47 minutes. Alternatively, to catch the next (and last) 242 service to Witney ar 19:00, you'd have to leave Paddington at 17:22 and hang around for a mere 34 minutes for the bus..... Until FGW and Stagecoach work on an integrated, convenient timetable, it'd be easier to drive to the station. And when Chiltern start running their Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone service next year, I suspect that Hanborough will become much quieter. Recent FGW timetable changes have seen more and more cheap day return passengers abandoning their service and using Chiltern instead - hardly surpising given the difference between the 'any train home' policy of Chiltern compared with the 'between this time and that time, you can only use these trains provided that there's an R in the month of alternate leap years' nonsense of FGW![/p][/quote]So on the one hand, everyone should catch the bus to Hanborough, if only the bus service was better, on the other, the instant that Chiltern starts running, they will all jump in their cars and drive to Water Eaton - that assumes they can get through the Wolvercote/Pear Tree bottleneck - or rat-run through Cassington - as any road improvements there are not going to happen by next year. What on earth FGW timetable changes have to do with cheap day returns, I have no idea. Off-peak day returns have been banned from Paddington expresses in the peak for years - whereas Hanborough, like all Cotswold Line stations, can be reached from London on an off-peak return (the type valid for one month, not the day version) in the evening peak, which is not the case for Oxford passengers. Chiltern does not sell cheap day returns and its super off-peak tickets, the nearest equivalent, are not valid in the evening peak from London either. And if people are abandoning FGW, why is traffic up hugely at Hanborough - which is what this story is all about!!!! - and other Cotswold Line stations? Maybe people just prefer to use the stations near home, rather than drive all the way to Bicester. jimm
  • Score: 0

9:20am Wed 2 Apr 14

King Joke says...

Jimm, I think the point is that Chiltern's business case for the Oxford-Marylebone service is largely built on poaching commuters from the lower end of the North Cotswold Line - Hanborough, Charlbury and so on. Unless they can walk to one of these they will be driving anyway, they might as well drive to Oxford Parkway, so goes the logic.

You're right that the area around there is very congested, but at the early time some of these are travelling - the current 0630 OXF PAD which comes from the Cotswolds is quite busy - this will be less of an issue. At any rate to drive to Oxford Parkway from Woodstock etc you turn left onto Frieze Way and avoid the worst of Pear Tree/Wolvercote.
Jimm, I think the point is that Chiltern's business case for the Oxford-Marylebone service is largely built on poaching commuters from the lower end of the North Cotswold Line - Hanborough, Charlbury and so on. Unless they can walk to one of these they will be driving anyway, they might as well drive to Oxford Parkway, so goes the logic. You're right that the area around there is very congested, but at the early time some of these are travelling - the current 0630 OXF PAD which comes from the Cotswolds is quite busy - this will be less of an issue. At any rate to drive to Oxford Parkway from Woodstock etc you turn left onto Frieze Way and avoid the worst of Pear Tree/Wolvercote. King Joke
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Wed 2 Apr 14

jimm says...

I think you'll find an awful lot of the business plan is actually based on poaching customers from the M40 coaches, who currently drive to Thornhill because of the aggro involved in getting to Oxford railway station from so much of the city, even early in the morning. If they are already in their cars, then Chiltern would like them to point them towards Banbury Road instead.

Cotswold Line punctuality is much improved this year, and electrification, resignalling, new trains and reduced journey times are going to make the Great Western route more than competitive from 2016-17. And the huge car park extension at Hanborough is a clear case of FGW getting its retaliation in first. Chiltern may well offer some competitive fares, but at the same time, they have a big bill for construction of the route to fund, so they can't cut their own throat to fight FGW on price, as some appear to believe, in order to attract traffic.

I'm well aware of how to get from Woodstock to Water Eaton, thanks, but the A4095 is also an increasingly busy road. And if more people use it to get to Water Eaton via Bladon, it and the A44 single-carriagway chokepoint between Yarnton and Loop Farm will become all the more so....
I think you'll find an awful lot of the business plan is actually based on poaching customers from the M40 coaches, who currently drive to Thornhill because of the aggro involved in getting to Oxford railway station from so much of the city, even early in the morning. If they are already in their cars, then Chiltern would like them to point them towards Banbury Road instead. Cotswold Line punctuality is much improved this year, and electrification, resignalling, new trains and reduced journey times are going to make the Great Western route more than competitive from 2016-17. And the huge car park extension at Hanborough is a clear case of FGW getting its retaliation in first. Chiltern may well offer some competitive fares, but at the same time, they have a big bill for construction of the route to fund, so they can't cut their own throat to fight FGW on price, as some appear to believe, in order to attract traffic. I'm well aware of how to get from Woodstock to Water Eaton, thanks, but the A4095 is also an increasingly busy road. And if more people use it to get to Water Eaton via Bladon, it and the A44 single-carriagway chokepoint between Yarnton and Loop Farm will become all the more so.... jimm
  • Score: 0

3:25pm Wed 2 Apr 14

King Joke says...

No worries Jimm, I'm not after a scrap. THanks for reminding me the roundabout at the bottom of Frieze Way is called Loop Farm, I couldn't remember what it was.

Good point about the coach business - from the north of the city Oxford station is difficult and from the east the bus is very very easy.

Electrification and resignalling will make FGW more reliable, but the new trains will not make them more attractive. THey will do what FGW have always done, go for every higher seating densities. You might have a slightly higher chance of getting a seat but it will be narrower with less legroom than you currently get. I can't think of any train since privatisation that is more comfortable than what it's replaced - Virgin Voyager anyone?
No worries Jimm, I'm not after a scrap. THanks for reminding me the roundabout at the bottom of Frieze Way is called Loop Farm, I couldn't remember what it was. Good point about the coach business - from the north of the city Oxford station is difficult and from the east the bus is very very easy. Electrification and resignalling will make FGW more reliable, but the new trains will not make them more attractive. THey will do what FGW have always done, go for every higher seating densities. You might have a slightly higher chance of getting a seat but it will be narrower with less legroom than you currently get. I can't think of any train since privatisation that is more comfortable than what it's replaced - Virgin Voyager anyone? King Joke
  • Score: 0

10:50pm Wed 2 Apr 14

RicPou says...

After British Railways ran the service down over a period of 30 years, at the behest of Tory Transport Ministers who were invariably pro road, and their civil servants who had little understanding of managing railways.
Restore the double track as far as Hanborough, so all trains can be served at least every 2 hours, and the main stations every hour. The Chiltern service which will be fully introduced from 2016 will not be a fast service as the Paddington route, with it's 20 mile detour via Bicester. It will be a useful back up when the Reading route is closed for engineering.
A good service on the Worcester route will gain new traffic, now that there are better and faster trains.
After British Railways ran the service down over a period of 30 years, at the behest of Tory Transport Ministers who were invariably pro road, and their civil servants who had little understanding of managing railways. Restore the double track as far as Hanborough, so all trains can be served at least every 2 hours, and the main stations every hour. The Chiltern service which will be fully introduced from 2016 will not be a fast service as the Paddington route, with it's 20 mile detour via Bicester. It will be a useful back up when the Reading route is closed for engineering. A good service on the Worcester route will gain new traffic, now that there are better and faster trains. RicPou
  • Score: 0

10:59pm Wed 2 Apr 14

jimm says...

And how exactly do you know the interior of the IEP will be an even higher seating density than now, when they haven't built one yet?

The draft plans published by DfT a while back show something much the same as now, though with more tables than current FGW HSTs, And given the trains will be built by Hitachi, they are likely to look much like the Javelin trains used between London and Kent on the high-speed line, which have nice wide seats and plenty lots of legroom, like FGW HSTs do now. IEPs will have longer coaches than HSTs, so can take more seats with no threat to legroom.

The Voyagers are rubbish but FGW actually did a pretty good job with the interiors of the Class 180s, built at much the same time.
And how exactly do you know the interior of the IEP will be an even higher seating density than now, when they haven't built one yet? The draft plans published by DfT a while back show something much the same as now, though with more tables than current FGW HSTs, And given the trains will be built by Hitachi, they are likely to look much like the Javelin trains used between London and Kent on the high-speed line, which have nice wide seats and plenty lots of legroom, like FGW HSTs do now. IEPs will have longer coaches than HSTs, so can take more seats with no threat to legroom. The Voyagers are rubbish but FGW actually did a pretty good job with the interiors of the Class 180s, built at much the same time. jimm
  • Score: 0

8:21am Thu 3 Apr 14

King Joke says...

The 180s are great, but pretty anomalous, and there are only five of them so you have to be pretty lucky to catch one. The HSTs are hideous inside, and are at a much higher density than they were under BR - where seats and tables were aligned with windows so you could see out.

As regards IEPs, yes I've seen the seating plans, they are OK but nothing to write home about. Window alignment isn't great. I won't believe anything til I see it though - they could easily stuff more in between now and delivery.

At any rate, much of the Oxford service is likely to be operated by the new as yet unspecified EMUs. THis is bound to be a common fleet with the slow TV services, not all of which are going to Crossrail. So it's bound to be 3+2 with no frills, much like the current cr'p 165s.

As a final word about Chiltern, the service will be slower - from what I hear 70 mins vs 55 mins currently timetables. Delays mean the 55 mins is nearer 60 mins, and Marylebone is 5 mins closer to the West End on the Bakerloo than Pad, making the margin for many journeys nearer 5 mins than 15. The 170s destined for the Oxford route are being done up to 'Silver 168' standard which will have more tables and better window alignment than the IEPs as currently planned, and the TV EMUs we are likely to get. I know which I'll be using.
The 180s are great, but pretty anomalous, and there are only five of them so you have to be pretty lucky to catch one. The HSTs are hideous inside, and are at a much higher density than they were under BR - where seats and tables were aligned with windows so you could see out. As regards IEPs, yes I've seen the seating plans, they are OK but nothing to write home about. Window alignment isn't great. I won't believe anything til I see it though - they could easily stuff more in between now and delivery. At any rate, much of the Oxford service is likely to be operated by the new as yet unspecified EMUs. THis is bound to be a common fleet with the slow TV services, not all of which are going to Crossrail. So it's bound to be 3+2 with no frills, much like the current cr'p 165s. As a final word about Chiltern, the service will be slower - from what I hear 70 mins vs 55 mins currently timetables. Delays mean the 55 mins is nearer 60 mins, and Marylebone is 5 mins closer to the West End on the Bakerloo than Pad, making the margin for many journeys nearer 5 mins than 15. The 170s destined for the Oxford route are being done up to 'Silver 168' standard which will have more tables and better window alignment than the IEPs as currently planned, and the TV EMUs we are likely to get. I know which I'll be using. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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