HOPES of a rail link between Witney and Oxford are back on track, with a proposal set to be submitted to the Government.

The Witney Oxford Transport Group will be sending its plans for a Carterton-Witney-Eynsham-Oxford link at the beginning of next month.

The proposal to the Department for Transport’s Restoring Your Railway Fund will seek funding for a feasibility study.

Charlie Maynard, chair of Witney Oxford Transport Group, said that under the group’s proposals, the train between Carterton and Oxford would take 22 minutes, compared to the current journey of more than an hour by bus.

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He said: “We at the group go back seven years, but we’ve been particularly busy in the last few months.

“There’s money available from the DfT, which has pushed this along.

“What we’re focussed on is a fast solution between Carterton, Witney, Eynsham and Oxford.

“We all have a miserable time getting anywhere due to the A40, and with more people coming in, we need to have a sensible, sustainable and fast transport solution.

Charlie Maynard, chair of Witney Oxford Transport Group

Charlie Maynard, chair of Witney Oxford Transport Group

“It’s not that it has to be a train, we’re just searching for a fast solution and we’re open to alternative routes and comments.

“The Eynsham station we think would be a key area, especially with the incoming garden village too.

“With Carterton, it suffers even more than Witney as it’s even further away from Oxford so giving the town this would really help it bring in new business.

“All these towns are growing enormously and we need to get people into Oxford, where a lot of the jobs are.

“What we’re trying really hard to do is cause as little disruption as possible and the key theme is to stick as close to the A40 so we don’t rip up the countryside.”

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Mr Maynard said previous assessments on the rail line focussed only on rebuilding the disused railway line and did not consider alternatives.

However, he suggests that a new line would be a better fit than going back to the old one.

“The old route doesn’t seem viable – the old Eynsham station is now a large Siemens facility, and it runs south of Eynsham so therefore would not serve the new homes in the garden village, which is planned to the north of Eynsham,” he said.

“This survey is really important to us, we want to know if locals think it’s a good idea and what their concerns are.

“We want to get the results and then the data will speak for itself.”

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The DfT will fund 75 per cent of costs, up to £50,000, of successful proposals to help fund transport and economic studies, and create a business case.

The proposal will be submitted to the DfT ahead of a March 5 deadline.

To see more of the plans, visit here. To fill in the survey, please visit: surveymonkey.com/r/WitneyOxfordTransportGroup

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