Tram-trains could be answer to A40 gridlock

Tram-trains could be answer to A40 gridlock

STANDSTILL: Traffic backed up on the A40 at Eynsham following an accident during rush-hour

Campaigner Hugh Jaeger

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

ALMOST 50 people attended the inaugural meeting of the Witney Oxford Transport Group, set up to tackle the gridlocked A40.

The new group is made up of people who use the road on a regular basis as well as groups including Railfuture Thames Valley branch, the Oxford branch of Bus Users UK and Sustainable Witney.

They met at a launch event on Wednesday in Witney's High Street Methodist Church, where they backed proposals to seek alternatives to the A40, to help cut journey times between West Oxfordshire and the city.

The launch meeting ended with a unanimous call for a new study to be made into the cause of the problems and possible solutions, which would cost an estimated £10,000 to £20,000.

The three solutions the group has suggested are a metro-style commuter train service between Oxford and Witney, using the Cotswold Line to Yarnton and then a reinstated Witney branch line, a new concrete road exclusively used by buses and a revolutionary “tram-train” service, operating partly on the railway and partly on new tracks laid alongside roads.

The old branch line railway closed in 1970, but passenger trains to Witney and on to Carterton and Fairford were withdrawn even earlier, in 1962.

Hugh Jaeger, of the bus group, said: “The first step is a feasibility study.

“We are completely open-minded about the alternatives, but one thing is absolutely certain: We can’t afford to do nothing.”

Mr Jaeger said they hoped to raise the money for the study through contributions from organisations which make up the new transport group.

Andrew McCallum, of Railfuture, said: “The view was that people wanted something new, off the A40 itself.”

The meeting was also attended by West Oxfordshire Labour district councillors Andrew Coles and Duncan Enright.

Mr Enright said: “The issue of the A40 a major problem. This campaign is welcome.

“Andrew and I decided to go back to the council to try to garner support.”

Sustainable Witney’s Peter Lefort described the A40 as a big problem and said it was good to hear people’s ideas.

In reply, Rodney Rose, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who represents Charlbury and the Wychwoods, said: “We are interested to hear ideas but they must be fully costed and it must be clear where the money will come from.

“Our immediate priorities are for an A40 to A44 link road and improvements to the Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts as part of the Oxfordshire City Deal.”

Comments (17)

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2:36pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Where does Cllr Rose think the money comes from every time traffic is held up on the A40, which is costing businesses millions, wastes every drivers' time and adds to fuel consumption?

You will need to think big and borrow the money. Other European cities get support from the EC and are able to raise money in other ways. Perhaps we could save a few 10s of billions by not building HS2 and spending it on local transport instead. There is also supposed to be an infrastructure levy on new developments.

What is clearly justified is a light metro running from Carterton to Headington and Cowley via a tunnel under the city centre - which is what Oxford would already have if it were in France, Germany or Italy. Failing that a local rail service using existing and rebuilt lines from Carterton to Cowley, with a fast bus interchange for Headington.
Where does Cllr Rose think the money comes from every time traffic is held up on the A40, which is costing businesses millions, wastes every drivers' time and adds to fuel consumption? You will need to think big and borrow the money. Other European cities get support from the EC and are able to raise money in other ways. Perhaps we could save a few 10s of billions by not building HS2 and spending it on local transport instead. There is also supposed to be an infrastructure levy on new developments. What is clearly justified is a light metro running from Carterton to Headington and Cowley via a tunnel under the city centre - which is what Oxford would already have if it were in France, Germany or Italy. Failing that a local rail service using existing and rebuilt lines from Carterton to Cowley, with a fast bus interchange for Headington. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: -76

3:08pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Englishman says...

You can shout as much as you like but until we get a Government and Politicians who, instead of trying to make a fast buck, are prepared to tell Brussels where to go and put this Country first by rebuilding our dilapidated infrastructure this once great Country will only go backwards. What did all those who sacrificed everything in all wars do so for?
You can shout as much as you like but until we get a Government and Politicians who, instead of trying to make a fast buck, are prepared to tell Brussels where to go and put this Country first by rebuilding our dilapidated infrastructure this once great Country will only go backwards. What did all those who sacrificed everything in all wars do so for? Englishman
  • Score: -266

6:52pm Sat 18 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure.
Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure. King Joke
  • Score: 15

7:27pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

It's a complete farce

All that is ever done with road and public transport in Oxfordshire is tinkering - I sometimes wonder if that's all our elected representatives are capable of.

In the last 6 years, North of the Border, the Stirling-Alloa line has re-opened - taking over 2.5M journeys off the roads.

Are the County Councillors even capable of understanding what would happen if several thousand passenger journeys per working day were displaced from the A40 to a rail network?

Stirling-Alloa isn't the only example. There has also been the re-opening of Airdie-Bathgate. The Borders rail line is in the process of being rebuilt and, although it's not an ideal example through the dreadful management by Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh will soon be benefiting from a direct tram link from the Airport through a major business park and onwards to three major railway stations.
It's a complete farce All that is ever done with road and public transport in Oxfordshire is tinkering - I sometimes wonder if that's all our elected representatives are capable of. In the last 6 years, North of the Border, the Stirling-Alloa line has re-opened - taking over 2.5M journeys off the roads. Are the County Councillors even capable of understanding what would happen if several thousand passenger journeys per working day were displaced from the A40 to a rail network? Stirling-Alloa isn't the only example. There has also been the re-opening of Airdie-Bathgate. The Borders rail line is in the process of being rebuilt and, although it's not an ideal example through the dreadful management by Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh will soon be benefiting from a direct tram link from the Airport through a major business park and onwards to three major railway stations. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 6

8:07pm Sat 18 Jan 14

the wizard says...

King Joke wrote:
Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure.
You are in fact very correct. Oxford and Oxfordshire have historically always had a bad record for traffic management and the attitude towards commuters has always been deplorable. The whole county has a record of painting itself into a corner because it does not plan ahead. Over the last 35 years Abingdon has grown significantly as has , Didcot, Witney, Carterton, Bicester and to a lesser extent, Wallingford, Wantage and Thame, but here we are still struggling on the roads that by and large were already there.


For some definitive history on the Oxford-Witney-Carter
ton railway then look no further than here,


http://www.fairfordb
ranch.co.uk/index.ht
m

Being in the EU has nothing to do with the congestion we suffer. As a country we have patched up, botched up and made do and mend as we are too afraid to make a decision in case it may offend somebody. Far too many overpaid under performing people who have only been too quick to apportion the blame elsewhere to hide and cover their own under performance. With idiots like we have in office in this county how does anyone expect us to move forwards. People like Rose should have been dispatched long ago, and Mitchell should also never held the position such as he did, very pleased that he has joined the other dinosaurs in the history books.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure.[/p][/quote]You are in fact very correct. Oxford and Oxfordshire have historically always had a bad record for traffic management and the attitude towards commuters has always been deplorable. The whole county has a record of painting itself into a corner because it does not plan ahead. Over the last 35 years Abingdon has grown significantly as has , Didcot, Witney, Carterton, Bicester and to a lesser extent, Wallingford, Wantage and Thame, but here we are still struggling on the roads that by and large were already there. For some definitive history on the Oxford-Witney-Carter ton railway then look no further than here, http://www.fairfordb ranch.co.uk/index.ht m Being in the EU has nothing to do with the congestion we suffer. As a country we have patched up, botched up and made do and mend as we are too afraid to make a decision in case it may offend somebody. Far too many overpaid under performing people who have only been too quick to apportion the blame elsewhere to hide and cover their own under performance. With idiots like we have in office in this county how does anyone expect us to move forwards. People like Rose should have been dispatched long ago, and Mitchell should also never held the position such as he did, very pleased that he has joined the other dinosaurs in the history books. the wizard
  • Score: -52

9:41pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Back in the 1970s Oxon CC wanted an urban motorway network for Oxford, ploughing through residential areas and across green spaces. At the same time they brought in a policy to steer housing growth to the country towns. The urban motorway was stopped by Oxford City Council, but little was put in its place apart from park and ride.

There have been decades of under-investment in the transport infrastructure, and Oxon is now paying the price in terms of traffic gridlock and a housing crisis.

The main problem is our weak and inefficient local Government. Oxon CC should be abolished and replaced by unitary authorities, one of which would cover the "travel to work area" of Oxford. That would leave a rural rump to the north and south, which could go off and join Northants and Berks respectively
Back in the 1970s Oxon CC wanted an urban motorway network for Oxford, ploughing through residential areas and across green spaces. At the same time they brought in a policy to steer housing growth to the country towns. The urban motorway was stopped by Oxford City Council, but little was put in its place apart from park and ride. There have been decades of under-investment in the transport infrastructure, and Oxon is now paying the price in terms of traffic gridlock and a housing crisis. The main problem is our weak and inefficient local Government. Oxon CC should be abolished and replaced by unitary authorities, one of which would cover the "travel to work area" of Oxford. That would leave a rural rump to the north and south, which could go off and join Northants and Berks respectively Patrick, Devon
  • Score: -73

9:54pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

I should have added abolish business rates, which are appropriated by central Govt, and replace with a local sales tax. In that way, when business is hurt, so is the Council - so the Council has an incentive to plan a healthy business environment.
I should have added abolish business rates, which are appropriated by central Govt, and replace with a local sales tax. In that way, when business is hurt, so is the Council - so the Council has an incentive to plan a healthy business environment. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: -70

7:30am Sun 19 Jan 14

Englishman says...

Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure.

If you don't believe Brussels control us just look at the laws they place on us. As for Germany and other European Countries do they give anything like as much aid as we do to every Tom Dick and Harry? That is why they have money to spend at home.
Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure. If you don't believe Brussels control us just look at the laws they place on us. As for Germany and other European Countries do they give anything like as much aid as we do to every Tom Dick and Harry? That is why they have money to spend at home. Englishman
  • Score: -270

9:14am Sun 19 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Patrick, Devon wrote:
I should have added abolish business rates, which are appropriated by central Govt, and replace with a local sales tax. In that way, when business is hurt, so is the Council - so the Council has an incentive to plan a healthy business environment.
As long as it is done properly based on the registered address of the purchaser for internet sales...

Otherwise Milton Keynes would be one of the richest citys in the UK via their Amazon operations.

More often than not when I go on holiday these days I have to pay a local tourist or additional hotel sales tax on accommodation bookints. Might be a good idea here...
[quote][p][bold]Patrick, Devon[/bold] wrote: I should have added abolish business rates, which are appropriated by central Govt, and replace with a local sales tax. In that way, when business is hurt, so is the Council - so the Council has an incentive to plan a healthy business environment.[/p][/quote]As long as it is done properly based on the registered address of the purchaser for internet sales... Otherwise Milton Keynes would be one of the richest citys in the UK via their Amazon operations. More often than not when I go on holiday these days I have to pay a local tourist or additional hotel sales tax on accommodation bookints. Might be a good idea here... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 7

8:31am Mon 20 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Englishman wrote:
Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure. If you don't believe Brussels control us just look at the laws they place on us. As for Germany and other European Countries do they give anything like as much aid as we do to every Tom Dick and Harry? That is why they have money to spend at home.
So it isn't the EU it's our aid budget?

What is our aid budget? Probably a billion or two, a fraction of what we spend on railways, the military, nuclear power, old age pensions and other domestic spend. It isn't the reason we don't build tram networks. The reason is we simply don't think it's a priority. Until someone in power decides to pur serious money and political priority into PT it won't happen.

I'll echo comments above two about unifiying our planning and transport authorities. Until things get built close to PT hub, not stop being built miles away from them, we'll be stuck with traffic jams.
[quote][p][bold]Englishman[/bold] wrote: Englishman, how do cities In France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria etc etc manage to build and run extensive light rail systems if they are in the EU? It's got nothing to do with it. The Germans pay more in than we do and still manage to build decent transport infrastructure. If you don't believe Brussels control us just look at the laws they place on us. As for Germany and other European Countries do they give anything like as much aid as we do to every Tom Dick and Harry? That is why they have money to spend at home.[/p][/quote]So it isn't the EU it's our aid budget? What is our aid budget? Probably a billion or two, a fraction of what we spend on railways, the military, nuclear power, old age pensions and other domestic spend. It isn't the reason we don't build tram networks. The reason is we simply don't think it's a priority. Until someone in power decides to pur serious money and political priority into PT it won't happen. I'll echo comments above two about unifiying our planning and transport authorities. Until things get built close to PT hub, not stop being built miles away from them, we'll be stuck with traffic jams. King Joke
  • Score: 9

12:53pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Well if it isnt the EU or overeas aid thats causing the traffic jams, then perhaps its gay marraige?
Well if it isnt the EU or overeas aid thats causing the traffic jams, then perhaps its gay marraige? Patrick, Devon
  • Score: -69

12:57pm Mon 20 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Yep probably. Maybe the county should invest in an electro-convulsive therapy machine?
Yep probably. Maybe the county should invest in an electro-convulsive therapy machine? King Joke
  • Score: 5

1:00pm Mon 20 Jan 14

King Joke says...

PS: what my sausage fingers should have typed at 08:31 was:

I'll echo comments above two about unifiying our planning and transport authorities. Until things get built close to PT hubs, instead of being built miles away from them, we'll be stuck with traffic jams.
PS: what my sausage fingers should have typed at 08:31 was: I'll echo comments above two about unifiying our planning and transport authorities. Until things get built close to PT hubs, instead of being built miles away from them, we'll be stuck with traffic jams. King Joke
  • Score: 4

2:43pm Sun 26 Jan 14

faatmaan says...

time tor re-examine park and ride eligibility for those who choose to continue their journeys to non Oxford destinations eg London , would enough vehicles be taken off the roads by a light railway, what area would allow large train car parks to be built ? would the fares on the train be low enough to gt people out of cars and onto trains, it is easy to surmise, but finding real acceptable solutions to anything affecting Oxford is near impossible. Perhaps an eight lane highway right through the centre of historic oxford may solve the problem ????
time tor re-examine park and ride eligibility for those who choose to continue their journeys to non Oxford destinations eg London , would enough vehicles be taken off the roads by a light railway, what area would allow large train car parks to be built ? would the fares on the train be low enough to gt people out of cars and onto trains, it is easy to surmise, but finding real acceptable solutions to anything affecting Oxford is near impossible. Perhaps an eight lane highway right through the centre of historic oxford may solve the problem ???? faatmaan
  • Score: 0

8:16am Mon 27 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Faatmaan, I'll ignore the D4 highway comment, but the Witney light rail proposal is about addressing the Witney-Oxford flow, not any to London. This is already served by up to six buses per hour, with leather seats and wi-fi, but there isn't much more you can do with a bus service because of congestion. Light rail grows the PT offering for which there is already unment demand - there is no need for bargain-basement fares.
Faatmaan, I'll ignore the D4 highway comment, but the Witney light rail proposal is about addressing the Witney-Oxford flow, not any to London. This is already served by up to six buses per hour, with leather seats and wi-fi, but there isn't much more you can do with a bus service because of congestion. Light rail grows the PT offering for which there is already unment demand - there is no need for bargain-basement fares. King Joke
  • Score: 0

11:52am Mon 27 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Given that Witney and Carterton have expanded greatly and are due for further expansion, something clearly needs to be done to enable commuting to the employment centres of Oxford, Headington and Cowley without the daily traffic gridlock. Wolvercote gateway will further add to the congestion. It isnt just the cost of car commuting v public transport fares, its the time people must spend daily in a jam. A rapid transit system would cut journey times.

The Oxford area has generated its own transport problem by steering housing to the country towns while prioritising the green belt. It now needs a radical solution which does more than ease one bottleneck only to worsen another one down the road.
Given that Witney and Carterton have expanded greatly and are due for further expansion, something clearly needs to be done to enable commuting to the employment centres of Oxford, Headington and Cowley without the daily traffic gridlock. Wolvercote gateway will further add to the congestion. It isnt just the cost of car commuting v public transport fares, its the time people must spend daily in a jam. A rapid transit system would cut journey times. The Oxford area has generated its own transport problem by steering housing to the country towns while prioritising the green belt. It now needs a radical solution which does more than ease one bottleneck only to worsen another one down the road. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: 0

12:02pm Mon 27 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Yes, sorry, for 'Witney' in my comment above please also read 'Carterton'.
Yes, sorry, for 'Witney' in my comment above please also read 'Carterton'. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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