PERHAPS the rail fares would rise less if there was less reckless spending.

Chiltern Railways’ upgrade requires re-routing of Langford Lane in Bicester.

Two routes were proposed, one by Chiltern Railways one by local people.

The Chiltern route crosses a river at a very shallow angle and the bridge is therefore about three times as long as the bridge for the locals’ route crossing at a right angle.

The Chiltern route has one additional waterway to cross, so one additional bridge. The Chiltern route requires extensive relocation of electricity poles and cables which the locals’ route did not. The amount wasted has not been disclosed but is estimated at tens of millions of pounds. Ironically the reckless Chiltern route was chosen by German-owned Chiltern Railways who have now passed the buck and the costs to Network Rail.

The Chiltern route was described by Thames Valley traffic police as dangerous, and TMS Consultancies considered it an accident waiting to happen, so perhaps there are more costs to come. The final choice lay with Oxfordshire County Council but they have not explained why they preferred the more expensive option.

John Offord
Langford Lane

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