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.”

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