Walk draws line on travel option

Transport group committee member Nigel Rose, front, and walkers ready to set out along the old railway from South Leigh

Transport group committee member Nigel Rose, front, and walkers ready to set out along the old railway from South Leigh Buy this photo

First published in News
Last updated

CAMPAIGNERS for better transport links for West Oxfordshire walked along part of the former Witney railway branch line to highlight their campaign.

The Witney Oxford Transport Group arranged the walk on Saturday along a mile of the former railway trackbed, near South Leigh.

The group has held talks with Oxfordshire County Council, asking it to look at sustainable ways of improving links between the district and Oxford, rather than focusing on changes to the A40 road.

They also want the council to update a report it commissioned in 2001 into the feasibility and possible costs of reopening the railway.   

Maurizio Fantato, a member of the group’s committee, who lives in Bampton, said: “We’re trying to create awareness for having a public transport alternative, because the problems are putting a stranglehold on the economy of the district.

“We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution, because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much. We’re pushing for a consultation by the council that would look at the alternatives.

“It needs to be a proper assessment, that takes into account the number and demographics of the houses to be built in the area.”

The group says possible options could include using parts of the former railway route between Witney and Oxford for trams or a guided busway system.

Mr Fantato added: “The point is trying to find a few thousand pounds that are required for the report to be updated.”

Our top stories:

Horse killed in crash near Steeple Aston

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

2:26pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A HORSE was killed after it collided with a car near Steeple Aston yesterday.

Gritters out tonight as mercury plummets across Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail: Gritter lorries get ready to set out last night

2:17pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

OXFORDSHIRE is set for a cold snap tonight and tomorrow with temperatures as low as -2C expected in some parts of the county.

Have you seen missing 23-year-old Kerri Hutt from Witney?

Oxford Mail:

11:51am Sunday 23rd November 2014

A WOMAN from Witney has been missing since Friday.

Attack in Oxford city centre leaves two men needing hospital treatment

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.

What have our brilliant columnists said this week - choose your favourite in our interactive collage

Oxford Mail:

4:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

Just what have our thought-provoking columnists been writing about this week? Catch up with our interactive collage giving you a choice from 9 of the best

Our interactive spread of the week's best photos: but what are the stories behind the pictures

Oxford Mail:

3:00pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

We've had some wonderful pictures this week - here's our interactive spread with links to the stories behind the photos

Oxfordshire callers to police's 101 number urged to stay on line amid problems

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:19am Saturday 22nd November 2014

Callers to the police's non-emergency 101 number are being urged to stay on the line despite problems.

Brainpower is the key for Oxford United says head coach Michael Appleton

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

Michael Appleton says Oxford United will need to be intelligent if they are to keep heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet for AFC Wimbledon today.

6 things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend

Oxford Mail: Terry Wogan at the fund raising reception

11:34am Friday 21st November 2014

Six things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend.

Hanborough primary school among region's best

Oxford Mail: Magdalen College School Antiques Roadshow

8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A state primary school in Long Hanborough has been included in a list of the top schools in the South East.

Teacher denies abuse

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A 70-year-old former teacher has denied historical sexual abuse offences.

Drug dealer tried to run away from police

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A DRUG dealer who tried to run away from police was jailed yesterday at Oxford Crown Court.

Daughter’s plea to catch the swine who stole dad’s ashes

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A LIFE-SIZE fibreglass pig containing the ashes of a Second World War veteran has been stolen from his daughter’s home.

Abingdon leisure centre's £390k car park revamp finished

Oxford Mail:

6:40am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A 99-SPACE extension to an Abingdon leisure centre car park has been completed as part of a £390,000 revamp.

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:05am Wed 18 Jun 14

DEnright says...

Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.
Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study. DEnright
  • Score: 2

12:07pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

DEnright wrote:
Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that a line (of whichever variety) that ran from Carerton/Witney to Oxford would be very well used .

Just take a look at Alloa for example. This re-opened route to a single station in a town of 18,000 people is used by around 400,000 passengers a year.

Witney is larger and it would have stops at Carterton and Eynsham too and the obvious option of a large park & ride of the A40. So you are starting with a potential usage of around 800,000 passenger journeys a year into Oxford or beyond.

Perhaps if the people of Oxfordshire really want public transport infrastructure improvements - they will have to start voting SNP...
[quote][p][bold]DEnright[/bold] wrote: Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.[/p][/quote]It doesn't take a genius to work out that a line (of whichever variety) that ran from Carerton/Witney to Oxford would be very well used . Just take a look at Alloa for example. This re-opened route to a single station in a town of 18,000 people is used by around 400,000 passengers a year. Witney is larger and it would have stops at Carterton and Eynsham too and the obvious option of a large park & ride of the A40. So you are starting with a potential usage of around 800,000 passenger journeys a year into Oxford or beyond. Perhaps if the people of Oxfordshire really want public transport infrastructure improvements - they will have to start voting SNP... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:45pm Wed 18 Jun 14

icba1957 says...

Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much."

Twice as much as what???

Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it!

That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.
Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much." Twice as much as what??? Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it! That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself. icba1957
  • Score: -1

1:25pm Wed 18 Jun 14

King Joke says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
DEnright wrote:
Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that a line (of whichever variety) that ran from Carerton/Witney to Oxford would be very well used .

Just take a look at Alloa for example. This re-opened route to a single station in a town of 18,000 people is used by around 400,000 passengers a year.

Witney is larger and it would have stops at Carterton and Eynsham too and the obvious option of a large park & ride of the A40. So you are starting with a potential usage of around 800,000 passenger journeys a year into Oxford or beyond.

Perhaps if the people of Oxfordshire really want public transport infrastructure improvements - they will have to start voting SNP...
You are having a bubble bath aren't you? Many of the improvements up there were commenced before the current SNP adminstration came in. The SNP have actually put north of a billion into a new Forth Road Bridge which will do nothing for PT. Then they are forcing through the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and dualling the A9, both of which will generate much more high-speed car traffic and undermine the excellent inter-urban bus network. Not everywhere in Scotland will ever be on the rail network owing to the topography so Citylink/Megabus fulfil a vital rail feeder role. THe SNP are a motorists' party first and foremost and I wouldn't trust them to continue developing either the rail or bus networks once current improvments are complete.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DEnright[/bold] wrote: Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.[/p][/quote]It doesn't take a genius to work out that a line (of whichever variety) that ran from Carerton/Witney to Oxford would be very well used . Just take a look at Alloa for example. This re-opened route to a single station in a town of 18,000 people is used by around 400,000 passengers a year. Witney is larger and it would have stops at Carterton and Eynsham too and the obvious option of a large park & ride of the A40. So you are starting with a potential usage of around 800,000 passenger journeys a year into Oxford or beyond. Perhaps if the people of Oxfordshire really want public transport infrastructure improvements - they will have to start voting SNP...[/p][/quote]You are having a bubble bath aren't you? Many of the improvements up there were commenced before the current SNP adminstration came in. The SNP have actually put north of a billion into a new Forth Road Bridge which will do nothing for PT. Then they are forcing through the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and dualling the A9, both of which will generate much more high-speed car traffic and undermine the excellent inter-urban bus network. Not everywhere in Scotland will ever be on the rail network owing to the topography so Citylink/Megabus fulfil a vital rail feeder role. THe SNP are a motorists' party first and foremost and I wouldn't trust them to continue developing either the rail or bus networks once current improvments are complete. King Joke
  • Score: 0

1:29pm Wed 18 Jun 14

King Joke says...

icba1957 wrote:
Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much."

Twice as much as what???

Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it!

That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.
Development over the formation, not least at Witney Station, is not a problem if you use a tram-train solution which can just divert to street running where necessary.
[quote][p][bold]icba1957[/bold] wrote: Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much." Twice as much as what??? Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it! That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.[/p][/quote]Development over the formation, not least at Witney Station, is not a problem if you use a tram-train solution which can just divert to street running where necessary. King Joke
  • Score: 2

9:46pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

icba1957 wrote:
Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much."

Twice as much as what???

Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it!

That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.
It is a popular misconception amongst rail enthusiasts that a re-opened line has to follow the exact path of the dismantled legacy line.

Whilst there is a certain convenience in using elements of a legacy route, it is not a legal requirement.
[quote][p][bold]icba1957[/bold] wrote: Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much." Twice as much as what??? Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it! That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.[/p][/quote]It is a popular misconception amongst rail enthusiasts that a re-opened line has to follow the exact path of the dismantled legacy line. Whilst there is a certain convenience in using elements of a legacy route, it is not a legal requirement. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

9:55pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

King Joke wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
DEnright wrote:
Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.
It doesn't take a genius to work out that a line (of whichever variety) that ran from Carerton/Witney to Oxford would be very well used .

Just take a look at Alloa for example. This re-opened route to a single station in a town of 18,000 people is used by around 400,000 passengers a year.

Witney is larger and it would have stops at Carterton and Eynsham too and the obvious option of a large park & ride of the A40. So you are starting with a potential usage of around 800,000 passenger journeys a year into Oxford or beyond.

Perhaps if the people of Oxfordshire really want public transport infrastructure improvements - they will have to start voting SNP...
You are having a bubble bath aren't you? Many of the improvements up there were commenced before the current SNP adminstration came in. The SNP have actually put north of a billion into a new Forth Road Bridge which will do nothing for PT. Then they are forcing through the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and dualling the A9, both of which will generate much more high-speed car traffic and undermine the excellent inter-urban bus network. Not everywhere in Scotland will ever be on the rail network owing to the topography so Citylink/Megabus fulfil a vital rail feeder role. THe SNP are a motorists' party first and foremost and I wouldn't trust them to continue developing either the rail or bus networks once current improvments are complete.
I suspect dualling the A9 to permit LGVs to operate above 40mph will be helpful in the provison of a swifter and more reliable coach timetable. It's a road I know very well.

The HML does need improvements though - at the moment it's easier to get to London before 9am than Edinburgh. On a Sunday the earliest service doesn't get to Edinburgh until after 1pm

The anti-Aberdeen bypass campaign was orchestrated by a bloke who lives in Newcastle.

Wee 'Eck has expressed interest in extending Borders Rail to Newcastle...
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]DEnright[/bold] wrote: Thanks to the organisers for a fun walk through the undergrowth! It is clear that the old rail line offers more options for reducing congestion on the A40. We need to get action on this as soon as possible, and I hope the County honour their promise to fund an update of the feasibility study.[/p][/quote]It doesn't take a genius to work out that a line (of whichever variety) that ran from Carerton/Witney to Oxford would be very well used . Just take a look at Alloa for example. This re-opened route to a single station in a town of 18,000 people is used by around 400,000 passengers a year. Witney is larger and it would have stops at Carterton and Eynsham too and the obvious option of a large park & ride of the A40. So you are starting with a potential usage of around 800,000 passenger journeys a year into Oxford or beyond. Perhaps if the people of Oxfordshire really want public transport infrastructure improvements - they will have to start voting SNP...[/p][/quote]You are having a bubble bath aren't you? Many of the improvements up there were commenced before the current SNP adminstration came in. The SNP have actually put north of a billion into a new Forth Road Bridge which will do nothing for PT. Then they are forcing through the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and dualling the A9, both of which will generate much more high-speed car traffic and undermine the excellent inter-urban bus network. Not everywhere in Scotland will ever be on the rail network owing to the topography so Citylink/Megabus fulfil a vital rail feeder role. THe SNP are a motorists' party first and foremost and I wouldn't trust them to continue developing either the rail or bus networks once current improvments are complete.[/p][/quote]I suspect dualling the A9 to permit LGVs to operate above 40mph will be helpful in the provison of a swifter and more reliable coach timetable. It's a road I know very well. The HML does need improvements though - at the moment it's easier to get to London before 9am than Edinburgh. On a Sunday the earliest service doesn't get to Edinburgh until after 1pm The anti-Aberdeen bypass campaign was orchestrated by a bloke who lives in Newcastle. Wee 'Eck has expressed interest in extending Borders Rail to Newcastle... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

6:56am Thu 19 Jun 14

King Joke says...

There is no need to spend £3bn dualling the A9, as Fishy Salmond is doing, to allow HGVs to travel at 50 mph - just change the speed limit.

You misunderstand how the 'coach' network in Scotland operates. It's actually more like an interurban bus network, and works well precisely because the road network is less motorway-intensive than in England, and trunk roads penetrate areas of population much more closely.

The fact the SNP is not dualling or speeding up the Highland Main Line tells you all about where their priorities lie.
There is no need to spend £3bn dualling the A9, as Fishy Salmond is doing, to allow HGVs to travel at 50 mph - just change the speed limit. You misunderstand how the 'coach' network in Scotland operates. It's actually more like an interurban bus network, and works well precisely because the road network is less motorway-intensive than in England, and trunk roads penetrate areas of population much more closely. The fact the SNP is not dualling or speeding up the Highland Main Line tells you all about where their priorities lie. King Joke
  • Score: 0

9:55am Thu 19 Jun 14

Hugh Jaeger says...

icba1957 wrote:
Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much."

Twice as much as what???

Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it!

That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.
Maurizio means dualling would cost twice as much as a rapid transit. The old trackbed covers eight miles from Yarnton to Witney and most of it is unobstructed. At Eynsham the trading estate & B4449 occupy only just over 1/2 a mile; a new transit line would simply parallel them a few yards to the north or south.

The A40 Witney Bypass embankment is too low for heavy rail to pass underneath, but trams or tram-trains could dive underneath as they can take much steeper gradients. Most trains struggle on any gradient steeper than about 1 in 70. Trams climb 1 in 10 easily, and steeper if they really have to.

The fact that supporters walked only one of the eight miles is not evidence against reopening the route. The old trackbed is not a public right of way and this mile was walked because the landowner supports a rapid transit. And because the line has been closed for 34 years it is overgrown: big deal!

A40 congestion is an acute and chronic problem. The first step to solving it is being positive, not adopting an "it can't be done" attitude.
http://witneyoxfordt
ransport.wordpress.c
om/
[quote][p][bold]icba1957[/bold] wrote: Committee member Maurizio Fantato, who lives in Bampton, said: “We don’t believe that dualling the A40 will be a solution because there will always be bottlenecks on it. It would also cost twice as much." Twice as much as what??? Fact is, the line has been built on at several locations, so simply re-opening it is not an option. Any other scheme would cost a fortune, and the county council certainly doesn't have the money to fund it! That they only walked a mile of the line speaks volumes in itself.[/p][/quote]Maurizio means dualling would cost twice as much as a rapid transit. The old trackbed covers eight miles from Yarnton to Witney and most of it is unobstructed. At Eynsham the trading estate & B4449 occupy only just over 1/2 a mile; a new transit line would simply parallel them a few yards to the north or south. The A40 Witney Bypass embankment is too low for heavy rail to pass underneath, but trams or tram-trains could dive underneath as they can take much steeper gradients. Most trains struggle on any gradient steeper than about 1 in 70. Trams climb 1 in 10 easily, and steeper if they really have to. The fact that supporters walked only one of the eight miles is not evidence against reopening the route. The old trackbed is not a public right of way and this mile was walked because the landowner supports a rapid transit. And because the line has been closed for 34 years it is overgrown: big deal! A40 congestion is an acute and chronic problem. The first step to solving it is being positive, not adopting an "it can't be done" attitude. http://witneyoxfordt ransport.wordpress.c om/ Hugh Jaeger
  • Score: 0

10:01am Thu 19 Jun 14

King Joke says...

If it were cheaper than building a new formation you could run 'on street' along the Eynsham bypass, I've never seen another vehicle on it so there is easily capacity to run trams without delaying them.
If it were cheaper than building a new formation you could run 'on street' along the Eynsham bypass, I've never seen another vehicle on it so there is easily capacity to run trams without delaying them. King Joke
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree