‘Rail station revamp offers a better welcome to Didcot’

Taking shape: The revamp of Didcot Parkway railway station as work nears an end

Taking shape: The revamp of Didcot Parkway railway station as work nears an end Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

COMPLETION of an £8m scheme to redevelop the forecourt at Didcot Parkway rail station is set to be completed in the next fortnight.

The transport hub, the county’s busiest station after Oxford, has been reorganised to make it safer for cars, buses, cyclists, taxis and pedestrians to use.

Town councillor Margaret Davies said: “People in Didcot have been very patient.

“When they started work in 2012 the estimated finishing date was September 2013, but with such a major project you can expect some delay.”

Work on the new interchange will be completed in the next fortnight, according to Didcot West county councillor Nick Hards.

A new sign has just gone up to welcome commuters and other visitors to the station’s transport interchange and Mr Hards said contractor Birse was now putting the finishing touches to the scheme.

He added: ”I expect the forecourt to be complete in the next fortnight.

“It’s all looking very impressive and it will be a much better welcome to Didcot.

“There will be some resurfacing work on Station Road in October but that should be everything.

“I would like to see some maps go up showing visitors where everything is in Didcot, including the Cornerstone Arts Centre.

“There are plans for a new hotel on the Didcot island site opposite the station and that would be another big improvement.”

Demolition work started on the forecourt in April 2012 and the scheme is nearing completion despite the discovery in June of buried asbestos, which increased the total cost of the scheme by £1.3m.

Dave Pryor, of Pryors Taxis in Didcot, said: “It has been quite chaotic over the past couple of years but we are due to have a completed station any day now – they are just finishing it off.

Buses will move into the central section – it’s imminent and will be a big improvement.

“A new taxi rank with a bigger capacity has been running since April.”

The station is owned by Network Rail and run by First Great Western (FGW) but Oxfordshire County Council has provided most of the funding as the highways authority.

Work inside the station, including the renovation of the ticket office, has been completed by First Great Western and Network Rail.

FGW spokesman James Davis added that a scheme to deck parking areas in the Foxhall Road car park behind the station, backed by City Deal funding from central government, was due to be carried out at a date to be fixed.

DOGGED BY DELAYS

A SCHEME to redesign the forecourt at Didcot Parkway was first mooted in 2001.

It was not until 2011 that Oxfordshire County Council was ready to go ahead with the current scheme, but the start date was put back twice while First Great Western and Network Rail made sure all the correct paperwork was in place.

Some 2.8m passengers used the station in 2012/2013.

The scheme had an extra £1.3m added to its budget, bringing it to £8m, after asbestos was found.

Work started in September 2012, and was expected to be finished within a year, but various delays put back the construction by a year, including unexpected problems with ground conditions.

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Comments (16)

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12:00pm Thu 28 Aug 14

livid99 says...

All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?
All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ? livid99
  • Score: 10

12:03pm Thu 28 Aug 14

King Joke says...

Hear, hear. Oxford station is no better for this either. Both stations were designed as open stations by BR, so if we are to have barriers bolted on there need to be large numbers of them, like at Paddington.
Hear, hear. Oxford station is no better for this either. Both stations were designed as open stations by BR, so if we are to have barriers bolted on there need to be large numbers of them, like at Paddington. King Joke
  • Score: 8

1:15pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Bellsie says...

I am concerned there seems to be no provision to drop off or collect passengers immediately outside the station - even for elderly or disabled people. We regularly give lifts to a very frail and elderly lady who loves travelling by train but for whom the walk from the drop off point to the station will simply be too much - let alone that the walk from the station to the pick up point is uphill.
There is a huge paved area outside the station - hopefully this can be redesigned to allow passengers to be dropped off/collected more easily
I am concerned there seems to be no provision to drop off or collect passengers immediately outside the station - even for elderly or disabled people. We regularly give lifts to a very frail and elderly lady who loves travelling by train but for whom the walk from the drop off point to the station will simply be too much - let alone that the walk from the station to the pick up point is uphill. There is a huge paved area outside the station - hopefully this can be redesigned to allow passengers to be dropped off/collected more easily Bellsie
  • Score: -4

1:22pm Thu 28 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

livid99 wrote:
All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?
If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Didcot?
[quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?[/p][/quote]If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Didcot? yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 3

1:22pm Thu 28 Aug 14

King Joke says...

THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.
THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers. King Joke
  • Score: 4

1:24pm Thu 28 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

King Joke wrote:
THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.
Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!!
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.[/p][/quote]Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!! yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 1

1:25pm Thu 28 Aug 14

livid99 says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
livid99 wrote:
All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?
If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Didcot?
Do you actually want a reply to that ??
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?[/p][/quote]If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Didcot?[/p][/quote]Do you actually want a reply to that ?? livid99
  • Score: -2

1:26pm Thu 28 Aug 14

King Joke says...

Didcot gets plenty of Bristol and Cardiff services, 50% approx of the total service. This is perfectly adequate for the size of Didcot and its railhead catchment area.

THe track layout of the junction would make it very disruptive for XC trains to call at DID given the time penalty of five minutes at least. God only knows XC have enough trouble negotiating junctions up and down the country as it is. THere is no capacity on XC trains for extra business anyway.
Didcot gets plenty of Bristol and Cardiff services, 50% approx of the total service. This is perfectly adequate for the size of Didcot and its railhead catchment area. THe track layout of the junction would make it very disruptive for XC trains to call at DID given the time penalty of five minutes at least. God only knows XC have enough trouble negotiating junctions up and down the country as it is. THere is no capacity on XC trains for extra business anyway. King Joke
  • Score: -2

1:28pm Thu 28 Aug 14

King Joke says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
King Joke wrote:
THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.
Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!!
Except the town is on the south side, as is the main Milton Heights link road.

You could put the car drop-off point on the north side I suppose.
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.[/p][/quote]Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!![/p][/quote]Except the town is on the south side, as is the main Milton Heights link road. You could put the car drop-off point on the north side I suppose. King Joke
  • Score: -2

2:34pm Thu 28 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

livid99 wrote:
yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
livid99 wrote:
All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?
If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Didcot?
Do you actually want a reply to that ??
I am getting old! brain not functioning ok i Meant

If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Oxford/Reading?
[quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: All they need to do is sort out the shambles at the ticket barriers when more than one train arrives at the same time. If Didcot Parkway is such a busy interchange, why only have 2 ticket barriers in each direction ?[/p][/quote]If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Didcot?[/p][/quote]Do you actually want a reply to that ??[/p][/quote]I am getting old! brain not functioning ok i Meant If Didcot parkway is such a busy interchange then why do some many IC 125's whizz past at 100mph every hour?? and why do Virgin services whizz past up towards Oxford/Reading? yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 0

2:36pm Thu 28 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

Didcot may not have a supporting town, but it is certainly (well it should be) a major interchange between Bristol/London fast services and services via Oxford/Southampton
Didcot may not have a supporting town, but it is certainly (well it should be) a major interchange between Bristol/London fast services and services via Oxford/Southampton yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: -1

2:44pm Thu 28 Aug 14

King Joke says...

Why? If you're going from Southampton to Bristol or Cardiff it's just as easy changing at Reading. If you're going from the midlands to Bristol or Cardiff it's just as easy using, or changing onto, the direct services from Birmingham.

THere is a compromise to be made here - between connectivity, journey time and reliability. You could get brilliant connectivity on West Coast Pendolino services by stopping them at every junction, but they don't. Given how slow, unreliable and overcrowded XC services are already we should not entertain making them even more slow, unreliable and overcrowded.

As I understand it the plan is for many of the East-West Rail services, eg RDG-MKC, to call at DID, so connectivity will improve.
Why? If you're going from Southampton to Bristol or Cardiff it's just as easy changing at Reading. If you're going from the midlands to Bristol or Cardiff it's just as easy using, or changing onto, the direct services from Birmingham. THere is a compromise to be made here - between connectivity, journey time and reliability. You could get brilliant connectivity on West Coast Pendolino services by stopping them at every junction, but they don't. Given how slow, unreliable and overcrowded XC services are already we should not entertain making them even more slow, unreliable and overcrowded. As I understand it the plan is for many of the East-West Rail services, eg RDG-MKC, to call at DID, so connectivity will improve. King Joke
  • Score: -1

9:35am Fri 29 Aug 14

Gunslinger says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
King Joke wrote:
THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.
Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!!
There also would not be any road access at all - the north side of the station is completely land (or rail) locked.
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.[/p][/quote]Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!![/p][/quote]There also would not be any road access at all - the north side of the station is completely land (or rail) locked. Gunslinger
  • Score: 2

9:36am Fri 29 Aug 14

Gunslinger says...

King Joke wrote:
yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
King Joke wrote:
THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.
Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!!
Except the town is on the south side, as is the main Milton Heights link road.

You could put the car drop-off point on the north side I suppose.
No you couldn't, there is no road access to the north side of the station.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: THat would just mean frail, elderly people who use the bus would have a longer walk picking their way across a drop-off area full of cars largely accommodating able-bodied passengers.[/p][/quote]Shame the whole station wasnt rotated 180 degrees there would have been much more space the other side for drop off points, bus stops etc if the Railway centre wasnt there!![/p][/quote]Except the town is on the south side, as is the main Milton Heights link road. You could put the car drop-off point on the north side I suppose.[/p][/quote]No you couldn't, there is no road access to the north side of the station. Gunslinger
  • Score: 2

9:42am Fri 29 Aug 14

jkg says...

The area immediately outside the station entrance is for buses only – not cars or taxis; to make the area safe and efficient. This is already being ignored by duff car drivers dropping able bodied persons just like they used to - and no enforcements are in place.

I agree that consideration should be given to non-able bodied persons being dropped off, but the distance from the official drop off is less than 50 metres away?
The area immediately outside the station entrance is for buses only – not cars or taxis; to make the area safe and efficient. This is already being ignored by duff car drivers dropping able bodied persons just like they used to - and no enforcements are in place. I agree that consideration should be given to non-able bodied persons being dropped off, but the distance from the official drop off is less than 50 metres away? jkg
  • Score: 1

9:16pm Thu 11 Sep 14

badger77 says...

How about somebody does something to the road outside? £8m is all well and good but the road is full of holes and too narrow, it needs widening slightly as you go towards Milton Park.
How about somebody does something to the road outside? £8m is all well and good but the road is full of holes and too narrow, it needs widening slightly as you go towards Milton Park. badger77
  • Score: 0

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