Confirmation of Oxford to Bristol services?

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swt_passenger

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This was discussed earlier on in the EWR, for a moment it was 'up-scoped' for long distance paths, and then de-scoped so this might have fallen by the wayside. I agree it makes a lot of sense - opens up a lot of new journey pairs, and overall, it's a heroic 'not-London' output of EWR. Would be possible a lot sooner than Cambridge!

The MML quadding up to Kettering would help this too, but the 'Bedford station future/state mystery' hangs over it. Lord knows where they thought a HS2 to Leeds would turn either.
“Cross country” routes over EWR is definitely out of scope, as per the TWA inspector‘s report where it quotes DfT‘s intentions.
 
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TheWalrus

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Oxford to Bristol operated in the past, but wasn't successful.
It's only 1 change at Didcot, so not a difficult journey atm.
I believe that was down to other issues rather than lack of demand. I remember seeing one at Swindon years ago and was a very well loaded 165!
 

gallafent

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It's interesting to compare timing from Oxford to Bristol Temple Meads by train vs car as things stand at the moment — leaving at 1000 on a weekday it takes 1h32m by train (taking the stopper to Didcot and changing there for the Bristol service) and about 1h20m by car (according to Google Maps).

That's feels close enough that (assuming price, door-to-door connections at either end, etc.) it's already a sensible option for the journey as it stands, given possibility of working on the IET at least, and so on. Removing a change might make it even more attractive, but only if the speed were maintained (so would need 125mph-capable stock) … and so unless EWR is going to specify 125mph stock, which I assume it is not, then the change at Didcot (ideally with the EWR services running fast from Oxford to Didcot, rather than replacing the stoppers, which could shave off at least 8 minutes I should think) definitely seems to makes the most sense.

If the EWR trains terminate at Oxford then the through journey from Oxford Parkway or anywhere east of there becomes a two-change proposition, which is substantially less attractive!

Capacity between Oxford and Didcot then comes back as a question … and four-tracking might be necessary for that additional service to fit in given how busy that section is already, so it might be that integrating the stopper would be the best option in the immediate term.
 

Oxfordblues

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I used to commute on the 08:16 from Oxford via the Foxhall Curve, due Swindon 08:48. Sometimes it ran as booked, but quite often it was cancelled. It usually ran 3 or 4 times per week. I was told that the driver's diagram was first-in-line for cancellation whenever Temple Meads was short of traincrews.
 

jimm

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I believe that was down to other issues rather than lack of demand. I remember seeing one at Swindon years ago and was a very well loaded 165!

I used to commute on the 08:16 from Oxford via the Foxhall Curve, due Swindon 08:48. Sometimes it ran as booked, but quite often it was cancelled. It usually ran 3 or 4 times per week. I was told that the driver's diagram was first-in-line for cancellation whenever Temple Meads was short of traincrews.

Plenty of the services were very lightly used, and this was a key factor in the scrapping of the service by the Strategic Rail Authority, along with line capacity issues west of Didcot.

Crew issues were more on the Thames Trains side - as they supplied all the drivers for the service and crewing the Oxford-Paddington route always took priority.

Oxford Mail report from May 2003, when the axe fell.

The Oxford to Bristol train service run by First Great Western was due to be shunted into history on Saturday, May 17, as part of a national Rail shake-up.

There used to be 12 trains in each direction on Monday to Saturday and five each way on Sundays, but the link is being shelved.

The Stategic Rail Authority required about 100 trains to be cut nationally to get the network running better and asked train companies for recommendations.
First Great Western, which ran the Oxford to Bristol service using Thames Trains rolling stock and drivers, earmarked this service because it was under-used and the SRA decided to scrap it.

 

TheWalrus

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Plenty of the services were very lightly used, and this was a key factor in the scrapping of the service by the Strategic Rail Authority, along with line capacity issues west of Didcot.

Crew issues were more on the Thames Trains side - as they supplied all the drivers for the service and crewing the Oxford-Paddington route always took priority.

Oxford Mail report from May 2003, when the axe fell.



It was a very long time ago I saw this service, it is quite possible many of the passengers boarded at Swindon or Didcot.
 

didcotdean

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I used to commute on the 08:16 from Oxford via the Foxhall Curve, due Swindon 08:48. Sometimes it ran as booked, but quite often it was cancelled. It usually ran 3 or 4 times per week. I was told that the driver's diagram was first-in-line for cancellation whenever Temple Meads was short of traincrews.
The unreliability of the operation of the route is something I have in my memory too.

It coincided with a reduction in Didcot calls on the main line services at times in the day too . Once I had to wait at Swindon for nearly an hour to get a train back to Didcot after a cancellation and control refused to add a stop on any of the three London-bound services in that time no matter how much the Swindon station staff pleaded.
 

Oxfordblues

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My train home to Oxford was the 16:35 from Swindon but this was never on time. Even when it occasionally arrived Swindon as booked at 16:34 the platform staff had to first despatch the 16:35 to Temple Meads over on No.3 before strolling across to send us on our way. Because this was the only coincidental pair of departures from Swindon all day it was clearly not worth employing an extra despatcher!
 

daodao

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And as discussed, extending the EWRL half-hourly stoppers to Didcot for connections but Reading must be preferable. And another Oxford to Swindon as no South Wales stuff stops at Didcot.
EWR services could be extended from Oxford to Didcot to replace the existing GWR DMU shuttles between these 2 points. This would enhance connectivity from east of Oxford to Swindon/Bath/Bristol and to Reading at minimal cost, without the need for extra train paths on this unelectrified section of line and without cluttering up the fast electrified GW main line with slow DMUs.

Moderator note: Just a gentle reminder that any suggestions/ideas belong in the Speculative Ideas section, thanks :)
 
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