RAIL passengers who protested about overcrowding after a change in the type of train used on a busy Cotswold Line service have won a partial victory.

First Great Western is to run an extra mid-morning weekday service on the route through west Oxfordshire from December.

The change is a response to complaints about the use of a 250-seat Turbo train instead of a 500-seat High Speed Train on the 8.58am from Great Malvern to London — the first service on which most off-peak tickets and discount railcards are valid.

Passengers from Charlbury and Hanborough were infuriated after the switch was made without warning in February, saying that they were often forced to stand all the way to Oxford.

At the time, FGW’s Thames Valley route director Richard Rowland said it was to ensure services were operated by trains “which have the right level of accommodation for the number of passengers using them”.

Last night a spokesman for the firm said the extra service was now being added to cope with passenger numbers at the main stations at the eastern end of the line.

The Cotswold Line Promotion Group, which represents passengers on the line between Oxford and Worcester, called for the reinstatement of an HST and asked its members to report overcrowding on services operated by the smaller trains.

Rather than bringing back an HST, FGW has opted to introduce the extra train, which will also be operated by a Turbo.

It will start its journey at Moreton-in-Marsh, in Gloucestershire, at 9.29am.

It will then call at Kingham at 9.37am, and Charlbury at 9.52am, arriving in Oxford at 10.05am.

From Oxford, it will continue as a stopping service to London Paddington, arriving at 12.01pm, but an 11.13am London arrival will be possible by changing trains at Didcot Parkway.

The extra service is unable to call at Hanborough, due to the need to clear the single-line section between Ascott-under-Wychwood and Wolvercot junction for the train from Malvern, which will follow it 20 minutes later.

CLPG spokesman Julian Palfrey said: “We were clear from the outset that there was a problem, which FGW has now recognised.

“It’s good news that there will be an extra train to add capacity at that time of the day and partly plug a large gap in the timetable.”

Passenger Derek Collett, from Charlbury, added: “This additional train may help to alleviate overcrowding, but it will only allow passengers to get to London at best some 15 minutes earlier than at present.

“Instead of having to use a Turbo, I think most passengers would prefer to travel on an HST with comfortable seats and quiet carriages and to be able to arrive in London before 11am, as was possible until last December.”