Farmer suggests a cable car solution to A40 traffic woes

Farmer John Hook has proposed an alternate way for commuters to get from Witney to Oxford – cable cars

Farmer John Hook has proposed an alternate way for commuters to get from Witney to Oxford – cable cars

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

THE morning commute from Witney to Oxford can be a trying experience.

And drivers on the A40 have long been begging for relief.

Today will see the beginning of Oxfordshire County Council’s four-phase transport strategy, starting with a £2.5m set of improvements to the Ducklington Lane approach to the A40, using extra lanes.

The scheme will be followed by the creation of a new junction on the dual carriageway with Downs Road, to join with the soon-to-be-built West Witney 1,000-home development.

But some don’t believe it is enough to improve the road and Bampton farmer John Hook has put forward a creative solution to Witney’s traffic woes.

He is proposing that a cable car system be built along the 12-mile route via Farmoor and Eynsham.

Mr Hook said: “I have had the idea for about 30 years and put it down on a county council survey when they were asking about what should be done about the A40.

“It could follow where the railway line used to be between Witney and Oxford, with various stations on the way.

“It could obviously only take people and keep freight travelling on roads, but it would help reduce these vast queues of traffic with only one person sitting in each car.

“I haven’t costed it, but because it would not take up much space on the ground it would not be disruptive.”

Mr Hook said the idea had come from his time skiing.

When the Oxford Mail approached ski gondola firm Snowflex about the potential cost of the scheme, a speculative £5m to £25m was suggested.

Oxfordshire County Council transport chief David Nimmo-Smith said: “I don’t want to knock this idea on the head, because it is interesting.

“But I can foresee a lot of issues, like the costs to install it and also of maintenance.

“There are more economic ways to improve transport links between Witney and Oxford.

“We are looking at a number of measures in the short-term at the moment, but it is always good to look at long-term ones too, like this gentleman.”

The idea follows calls from two petitions demanding improvements to the A40.

Northleach resident Colin Holmes drives to work in Woodstock Road, Oxford, along the A40.

He set up a petition, signed by 127 people, asking the Department of Transport to reopen the Witney to Oxford railway line, make the A40 a dual carriageway and build a tram system.

And 413 people have signed a change.org e-petition set up by West Oxfordshire District Council Labour group leader Duncan Enright calling for a four-way junction on the A40 at Shores Green.

Comments (12)

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6:49am Tue 6 May 14

dovepe says...

Fruit & Nut !
Fruit & Nut ! dovepe
  • Score: -2

6:58am Tue 6 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Well, it works in New York as the Roosevelt Island aerial tramway. London also has cable cars across the Thames in Docklands.

The biggest stumbling block is probably the notorioius Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE - they would never be prepared to sanction an elevated transport system visible from Oxfordshire's countryside.

Then there would be outrage if it went alongside or was visible from Port Meadow.
Well, it works in New York as the Roosevelt Island aerial tramway. London also has cable cars across the Thames in Docklands. The biggest stumbling block is probably the notorioius Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE - they would never be prepared to sanction an elevated transport system visible from Oxfordshire's countryside. Then there would be outrage if it went alongside or was visible from Port Meadow. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

7:14am Tue 6 May 14

angelox99 says...

Lets just bring back the horse and cart - this way we can go straight across all the fields and not use the A40! And will be green and super environmentally friendly, including free manure for the garden!

Problem solved...
Lets just bring back the horse and cart - this way we can go straight across all the fields and not use the A40! And will be green and super environmentally friendly, including free manure for the garden! Problem solved... angelox99
  • Score: 1

9:37am Tue 6 May 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Well, it works in New York as the Roosevelt Island aerial tramway. London also has cable cars across the Thames in Docklands.

The biggest stumbling block is probably the notorioius Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE - they would never be prepared to sanction an elevated transport system visible from Oxfordshire's countryside.

Then there would be outrage if it went alongside or was visible from Port Meadow.
Yeah anything such as a Cable Car (which would be innovative and cool) would blight their house prices too much!
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Well, it works in New York as the Roosevelt Island aerial tramway. London also has cable cars across the Thames in Docklands. The biggest stumbling block is probably the notorioius Oxford(shire) faction of the CPRE - they would never be prepared to sanction an elevated transport system visible from Oxfordshire's countryside. Then there would be outrage if it went alongside or was visible from Port Meadow.[/p][/quote]Yeah anything such as a Cable Car (which would be innovative and cool) would blight their house prices too much! yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 1

11:09am Tue 6 May 14

paddy173 says...

Mr Nimmo-Smith worries about the cos of installation and amintenance, as if roads are cheap to install and repair themselves.
Brilliant idea with very little noise.
Mr Nimmo-Smith worries about the cos of installation and amintenance, as if roads are cheap to install and repair themselves. Brilliant idea with very little noise. paddy173
  • Score: 1

2:53pm Tue 6 May 14

King Joke says...

Or put a bus lane in at a fraction of the cost.
Or put a bus lane in at a fraction of the cost. King Joke
  • Score: -3

3:59pm Tue 6 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

King Joke wrote:
Or put a bus lane in at a fraction of the cost.
Just like they did in Cambridge?
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: Or put a bus lane in at a fraction of the cost.[/p][/quote]Just like they did in Cambridge? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 3

4:03pm Tue 6 May 14

King Joke says...

Hmm no. I'm sure you're aware of the merits (or otherwise!) of the Cambridge busway. You could get a bus lane on the A40 with a bit of widening. The buses would be faster than cable cars and have the advantage of being able to penetrate the urban areas of Witney and Carterton as they do now, which cable cars could not.

Neither are as good as running tram-trains along the Fairford branch. My bus comment is just to illustrate how daft the cable car idea is.
Hmm no. I'm sure you're aware of the merits (or otherwise!) of the Cambridge busway. You could get a bus lane on the A40 with a bit of widening. The buses would be faster than cable cars and have the advantage of being able to penetrate the urban areas of Witney and Carterton as they do now, which cable cars could not. Neither are as good as running tram-trains along the Fairford branch. My bus comment is just to illustrate how daft the cable car idea is. King Joke
  • Score: 2

9:47pm Tue 6 May 14

faatmaan says...

everybody wants to live in more rural locations, yet are not prepared to suffer the volume of traffic attributable to their lifestyle choices, cake and eat it come to mind, there needs to be massive housing developments inside Oxford to alleviate these difficulties,
everybody wants to live in more rural locations, yet are not prepared to suffer the volume of traffic attributable to their lifestyle choices, cake and eat it come to mind, there needs to be massive housing developments inside Oxford to alleviate these difficulties, faatmaan
  • Score: 0

7:54am Wed 7 May 14

King Joke says...

faatmaan wrote:
everybody wants to live in more rural locations, yet are not prepared to suffer the volume of traffic attributable to their lifestyle choices, cake and eat it come to mind, there needs to be massive housing developments inside Oxford to alleviate these difficulties,
You're right of course, but the same contradictions apply in the city. A fair bit of land in the suburban centres is given over to low-density uses like car parking. THe City has proposed building housing on Union St and Summertown car parks, and look at the shrill opposition that has stirred up. The University's project to alleviate pressure on HMOs by building a hall of residence on St Clement's car park was similarly opposed.

'Cake and eat it' applies to wanting cheaper housing, and low-density development, at the same time.
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: everybody wants to live in more rural locations, yet are not prepared to suffer the volume of traffic attributable to their lifestyle choices, cake and eat it come to mind, there needs to be massive housing developments inside Oxford to alleviate these difficulties,[/p][/quote]You're right of course, but the same contradictions apply in the city. A fair bit of land in the suburban centres is given over to low-density uses like car parking. THe City has proposed building housing on Union St and Summertown car parks, and look at the shrill opposition that has stirred up. The University's project to alleviate pressure on HMOs by building a hall of residence on St Clement's car park was similarly opposed. 'Cake and eat it' applies to wanting cheaper housing, and low-density development, at the same time. King Joke
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Fri 30 May 14

Hugh Jaeger says...

Building London's Emirates Air-Line cost £60 million for just 0.6 miles. The route John Hook proposes is 12 miles. Even allowing for the fact that a Witney — Oxford cableway would not be as high as the Air-Line (which is up to 300 feet high), its cost would be prohibitive.
`
The smartest options between Witney and Oxford are light rail (which would be cheaper) or heavy rail (which could also take military freight tfor Brize Norton).
`
Meanwhile, redoubling the Cotswold Line between Wolvercote and Charlboury would help. Then trains could run hourly, and the hourly Witney – Woodstock bus could connect with them. Passengers using Hanborough station have trebled in the last 15 years, and many of them are commuters from Witney.
Building London's Emirates Air-Line cost £60 million for just 0.6 miles. The route John Hook proposes is 12 miles. Even allowing for the fact that a Witney — Oxford cableway would not be as high as the Air-Line (which is up to 300 feet high), its cost would be prohibitive. ` The smartest options between Witney and Oxford are light rail (which would be cheaper) or heavy rail (which could also take military freight tfor Brize Norton). ` Meanwhile, redoubling the Cotswold Line between Wolvercote and Charlboury would help. Then trains could run hourly, and the hourly Witney – Woodstock bus could connect with them. Passengers using Hanborough station have trebled in the last 15 years, and many of them are commuters from Witney. Hugh Jaeger
  • Score: 1

3:50pm Sat 31 May 14

King Joke says...

Spot on Hugh. Why oh why do we have to dream up these fanciful solutions when the answers are staring us in the face and have been working in continental Europe for decades.

Some t|t has written into the Ox Times this week promoting a monorail along the A40 which doesn't even serve the City Centre. He argues that monorails work in Seattle and Sydney - all this proves is that the English-speaking world is cucking flueless when it comes to public transport. We should just try being a bit more German, Dutch or Spanish.
Spot on Hugh. Why oh why do we have to dream up these fanciful solutions when the answers are staring us in the face and have been working in continental Europe for decades. Some t|t has written into the Ox Times this week promoting a monorail along the A40 which doesn't even serve the City Centre. He argues that monorails work in Seattle and Sydney - all this proves is that the English-speaking world is cucking flueless when it comes to public transport. We should just try being a bit more German, Dutch or Spanish. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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