Monorail dream included in leader’s vision of the future

An artist’s impression of the monorail

Ian Hudspeth

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

A NEW monorail could transport people from Wantage to Oxford, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council has said.

Ian Hudspeth announced his vision for transport across southern Oxfordshire as he prepares to hold a public meeting on the issue next week.

The Conservative councillor said he hopes to have the town’s former railway station reopened, but said he is already thinking of alternatives should that not happen.

It is part of his “Connecting Oxfordshire” vision, which he has put together to find out how people want traffic issues tackled, as part of the county council’s new local transport plan.

With an increasing number of high tech jobs in Harwell, Culham and Milton Park, Mr Hudspeth said that area will need a new public transport system.

He said: “Our ambitions for science transit are well known – as is the county council’s desire to see a railway station in Wantage/Grove.

“We’ve done our best to ensure the land for such a station remains preserved. However we are reliant on the rail industry to deliver that along with the services that would serve the new station.

“We will carry on campaigning for that potential new station, however we should also think about other potential options instead of or along with a new station.

“Could the area link up to Oxford via another public transport system such as trams or monorail?”

Mr Hudspeth said he is looking beyond the planned investment in transport in Oxfordshire up to 2020, and on to another wave of transport investment up to 2031.

About 80,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes are expected to come to the county by that year.

As part of the city deal, the county council and its partner agencies have already announced an intention to use existing transport networks to link Oxfordshire’s areas of employment and innovation.

This programme will see rail stations at Bicester, Oxford Parkway, Oxford, Culham and Didcot receiving investment.

Mr Hudspeth said: “We don’t yet know how much money will be around to spend on improved transport networks but we should see that as an advantage in terms of having an unlimited debate now about what might happen after 2020.”

Mr Hudspeth said the county council has included the station in previous local transport plans.

County councillor for Wantage and Grove Jenny Hannaby said: “I am open-minded about anything that will get people off roads and get them around quicker.

“There is a good case for the station to be reopened because of the growth in the area and I will look with interest at anything Ian has to put forward.”

Sam Kelly, a spokesman for Network Rail, said the company’s funding for 2014-19 was confirmed by the regulator earlier this year and did not include funds for a new station at Wantage.

She said: “We are investing heavily to improve Oxfordshire’s railway and will continue to work with Oxfordshire County Council to discuss their aspirations.’’

Mr Hudspeth will discuss his plans at a public meeting at Wantage Civic Centre from 7pm to 8.30pm on June 25.

  • Mr Hudspeth has said he wants to help Banbury continue to attract business and investment by improving its transport infrastructure. He will be holding a special public meeting at Banbury Town Hall on Monday at 7pm to discuss transport.

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Comments (7)

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5:50am Sat 21 Jun 14

Myron Blatz says...

One of the problems with monorails, light railways or trams is when they breakdown and cause long delays whilst repaired or removed. Nor are trams or light railways a very flexible solution, compared to buses, and monorails are totally inflexible. The other problem is that trams etc require mainline routes for cost-effective operation, so that would mean the need for either lots of car parks or feeder buses along the route to feed into the tram or monorail services. And then there's the massive infrastructure and equipment costs - even where tram systems have proved successful, they need massive funding not only to build, but also to maintain, and you only have to look at the huge subsidies which the government and county councils have to provide to keep non-commercial bus routes in operation across Oxford, let alone in the rural parts of the County. That in turn means higher direct or indirect taxation to cover the ongoing costs.
One of the problems with monorails, light railways or trams is when they breakdown and cause long delays whilst repaired or removed. Nor are trams or light railways a very flexible solution, compared to buses, and monorails are totally inflexible. The other problem is that trams etc require mainline routes for cost-effective operation, so that would mean the need for either lots of car parks or feeder buses along the route to feed into the tram or monorail services. And then there's the massive infrastructure and equipment costs - even where tram systems have proved successful, they need massive funding not only to build, but also to maintain, and you only have to look at the huge subsidies which the government and county councils have to provide to keep non-commercial bus routes in operation across Oxford, let alone in the rural parts of the County. That in turn means higher direct or indirect taxation to cover the ongoing costs. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

7:37am Sat 21 Jun 14

Whitto says...

Monorail - Only on The Simpons, please - NOT in N…: http://youtu.be/sZBP
oRwog00
Monorail - Only on The Simpons, please - NOT in N…: http://youtu.be/sZBP oRwog00 Whitto
  • Score: -3

12:32pm Sat 21 Jun 14

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

Pie in the sky that just makes the whole statement look incredible without mention of the horrendous costs of such schemes for which he tells us the council has little finance.
Pie in the sky that just makes the whole statement look incredible without mention of the horrendous costs of such schemes for which he tells us the council has little finance. West Oxon Webwatcher
  • Score: 3

3:59pm Sat 21 Jun 14

YankeeDoodle says...

Another politician has caught Monorail Fever. When I lived in Seattle they tried this silly transport scheme. People lost their property, their businesses and nearly every citizen payed out hundreds of dollars in new taxes.

After all that suffering the only monorail in Seattle is the toy built for the World Fair in '62. That monorail is a favourite of newspaper photographers because they get great pictures of the fire department bringing people to the ground from broken down monorail coaches.

Monorails only move money out of your pocket and into the fire. My Life In the UK Test booklet taught me what a great engine of innovation the UK is. I think a better transport solution can be found instead of proposing an old failed experiment.
Another politician has caught Monorail Fever. When I lived in Seattle they tried this silly transport scheme. People lost their property, their businesses and nearly every citizen payed out hundreds of dollars in new taxes. After all that suffering the only monorail in Seattle is the toy built for the World Fair in '62. That monorail is a favourite of newspaper photographers because they get great pictures of the fire department bringing people to the ground from broken down monorail coaches. Monorails only move money out of your pocket and into the fire. My Life In the UK Test booklet taught me what a great engine of innovation the UK is. I think a better transport solution can be found instead of proposing an old failed experiment. YankeeDoodle
  • Score: 1

4:36pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Richard of Wantage says...

Lots of experts about monorail transport on this blog. Surely they must all be aware the Chinese Chongqing Rail Transit which has an annual ridership of 310 million.

But there again the alternative is to double the number of cars into our towns and cities!
Lots of experts about monorail transport on this blog. Surely they must all be aware the Chinese Chongqing Rail Transit which has an annual ridership of 310 million. But there again the alternative is to double the number of cars into our towns and cities! Richard of Wantage
  • Score: 1

6:37pm Sat 21 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

YankeeDoodle wrote:
Another politician has caught Monorail Fever. When I lived in Seattle they tried this silly transport scheme. People lost their property, their businesses and nearly every citizen payed out hundreds of dollars in new taxes.

After all that suffering the only monorail in Seattle is the toy built for the World Fair in '62. That monorail is a favourite of newspaper photographers because they get great pictures of the fire department bringing people to the ground from broken down monorail coaches.

Monorails only move money out of your pocket and into the fire. My Life In the UK Test booklet taught me what a great engine of innovation the UK is. I think a better transport solution can be found instead of proposing an old failed experiment.
I didn't bother riding the monorail when I visited the Seattle. I did ride the S.L.U.T. though and have the t-shirt too - it was a most satisfactory experience.

http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/****

Oxford does undoubtedly need serious improvements to public transport, if the local authority bids for the very expensive monorail option - it may get a DLR style transit instead.

Even if a line does eventually stretch from Wantage, Abingdon and through to North Kidlington, I strongly suspect that it will not be called the

Wantage, Abingdon & North Kidlington Electric Railway though.
[quote][p][bold]YankeeDoodle[/bold] wrote: Another politician has caught Monorail Fever. When I lived in Seattle they tried this silly transport scheme. People lost their property, their businesses and nearly every citizen payed out hundreds of dollars in new taxes. After all that suffering the only monorail in Seattle is the toy built for the World Fair in '62. That monorail is a favourite of newspaper photographers because they get great pictures of the fire department bringing people to the ground from broken down monorail coaches. Monorails only move money out of your pocket and into the fire. My Life In the UK Test booklet taught me what a great engine of innovation the UK is. I think a better transport solution can be found instead of proposing an old failed experiment.[/p][/quote]I didn't bother riding the monorail when I visited the Seattle. I did ride the S.L.U.T. though and have the t-shirt too - it was a most satisfactory experience. http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/**** Oxford does undoubtedly need serious improvements to public transport, if the local authority bids for the very expensive monorail option - it may get a DLR style transit instead. Even if a line does eventually stretch from Wantage, Abingdon and through to North Kidlington, I strongly suspect that it will not be called the Wantage, Abingdon & North Kidlington Electric Railway though. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 7

11:39pm Sat 21 Jun 14

7squatcat says...

It would be better to run something parallel to the main line west of Didcot. You could link up Didcot, Great Western Park, Milton Park, and Wantage. There is already large amounts of traffic using the Milton Park Shuttle bus which could use it instead.
It would be better to run something parallel to the main line west of Didcot. You could link up Didcot, Great Western Park, Milton Park, and Wantage. There is already large amounts of traffic using the Milton Park Shuttle bus which could use it instead. 7squatcat
  • Score: 0

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