TODAY’S story about Oxfordshire County Council’s dissatisfaction with Network Rail plans for Oxford’s new train station smacks of the kind of in-fighting that can slow down or even scupper major public projects.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth fears Network Rail’s proposal will leave Oxford with nothing but a “functional ticket office” while the Conservative-run authority “want something that’s in keeping with Oxfordshire”.
We urge all sides – including Oxford City Council and train operator First Great Western – to get around a table and ensure they are on the same page for such long-awaited work.
We also hope Network Rail’s plans reflect Mr Hudspeth’s vision for a truly 21st-century station, one that will make the city proud and give visitors a rather grander welcome to Oxford than they have now.
Too often, the problems of our rail network since the privatisation of 1996 has been too many competing interests not working together with a common aim, from the train companies to the track owners to those holding the purse strings in Whitehall.
It would be a tragedy if such a keenly anticipated project ended up being a monument to the fragmentation of our transport system rather than a celebration of everything that is great about our city.
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