Oxfordshire county councillor wants Wantage Road/Grove station reopened

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alexx

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Spotted this on the Oxford Mail website, thought it might be of interest. Not overly familiar with that part of the county so don't know the logistics of doing such a thing.

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14...ss_case_for_re_opening_Grove_railway_station/

Liberal Democrat county councillor Bob Johnston called on council officers to investigate the cost and funding available to develop the case.

[...]

Mr Johnston asked council officers to reach out to Network Rail and the Department for Transport to discuss the inclusion of a Wantage/ Grove station in the former’s next control period for funding which begins in 2019.
 
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PeterC

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As somebody has commented on the Oxford Mail site a local station west of Didcot on the GWML isn't going to be popular operationally.
 

davetheguard

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Oxfordshire County Council have had an aspiration to re-open the station at Wantage Road for years -no, decades- and have delivered nothing despite a lot of talk & planning.
 

JN114

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You can open Wantage Road station, sure, but what train is going to serve it? Stopping 1x HST/IEP an hour killing long distance journey times?

The best service for Wantage Road, Wootton Bassett and Corsham's proposed but never had anything done about it service would've been the old Thames Trains Oxford - Bristol service.

The only other option I guess would be extending the Trans-Wilts express eastward from Swindon to Didcot, but that would be a lot of diesel under wire operation.
 

Doctor Fegg

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There was talk of a peak EMU (387) service to Swindon, which would be well suited; you could then probably go to two-hourly IEP offpeak. Wantage Road-Challow is already four-track so you could potentially loop the stopping service without slowing down other trains, though you'd need better timekeeping than GWR usually manages for that to work...

But with all the various revisions to GWR's new stock I don't know if the Swindon 387s are still on the cards.
 

didcotdean

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Oxfordshire CC hankers after a twice hourly service pattern within the county of Grove-Didcot-Oxford-Bicester. Possible maybe with an extended East-West eventually ...
 

philjo

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Maybe a new EMU Oxford to Bristol via Bath service (which could be part of E-W and extended later to MK?
 

swt_passenger

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All the published proposals however are to extend EWR towards Reading or beyond.

Perhaps Oxford CC really does knows far more about service planning than NR. Or maybe not.
 

didcotdean

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All the published proposals however are to extend EWR towards Reading or beyond.

Perhaps Oxford CC really does knows far more about service planning than NR. Or maybe not.
They might be expected to know more about the public transport needs within their own area. Not to say that they do, mind. They have put a lot of money into improvements around Didcot Parkway and have further plans.

The roads from Wantage/Grove to Oxford and Didcot are not the best of course.
 

Doctor Fegg

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Worth noting that the original story is a quote from a LibDem county councillor, and the LibDems are of course not currently in power in OCC.
 

70014IronDuke

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Maybe a new EMU Oxford to Bristol via Bath service (which could be part of E-W and extended later to MK?

how about Barnstaple-Bedford via Exeter SD-Exeter Central- Yeovil Jcn - Pen Mill - Frome - Westbury - Melksham - Swindon - Grove - Oxford - MKC - Bletchley

:)
 
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jimm

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All the published proposals however are to extend EWR towards Reading or beyond.

Perhaps Oxford CC really does knows far more about service planning than NR. Or maybe not.

For the initial services perhaps, but when the Central Section preferred corridor announcement was made in April, the idea of a Norwich-Bristol service was mentioned.

Councillor Ian Bates of Cambridgeshire County Council and chair of the East West Rail Central Section Board, added:
“The really good news is that the evidence and analysis supports our intuitive view that the Central Section of East West Rail has the potential to develop into a viable scheme. It will open up the opportunity for new journeys by rail within the region, and longer distance – for example between Bristol and Norwich. It will also improve access to jobs in Cambridge for people living to the west, and deliver significant economic and social benefits.

http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/2016/04/04/central-section-preferred-corridor-announced/

Wiltshire Council still has ambitions to reopen Corsham and Wootton Bassett, so if the councils can co-ordinate their efforts and get GWR or any successor TOC on board, there's no reason why a semi-fast Bristol-Oxford couldn't be reactivated to serve them, whether or not East-West services ever become a factor on this axis, as well as to Reading.

Worth noting that the original story is a quote from a LibDem county councillor, and the LibDems are of course not currently in power in OCC.

But the reopening of the station is part of the council's Connecting Oxfordshire strategy, so is the policy of the ruling Conservatives as well.

http://www.heraldseries.co.uk/news/...is_a_priority_for_Oxfordshire_County_Council/
 

W-on-Sea

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Ideally there'd be a station at Milton Park (halfway between Wantage and Didcot), now a major employment centre, and right next to the railway line, too. But I fear practicalities - and the long length of just dual track on a main line - probably rule that out.

Ideally I'd propose a light rail/tram-train network linking Wantage town - to Grove village - Wantage Road station - Steventon - Milton Park - Didcot (maybe on street running to get to the Broadway and Orchard Centre as well as Parkway station) - maybe Ladygrove - then along the existing railway line to Oxford, with branches from there to Witney & Carterton, Cowley, Bicester, Banbury, and including a link into Oxford City Centre too (perhaps a loop to Cowley included). Maybe a link from Abingdon, presumably to Radley, too.

Fantasy of course, in the UK....
 

swt_passenger

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Ideally there'd be a station at Milton Park (halfway between Wantage and Didcot), now a major employment centre, and right next to the railway line, too. But I fear practicalities - and the long length of just dual track on a main line - probably rule that out...

Four tracks through Milton Park and beyond the A34 isn't it? Even if not all passenger standard it's a far better starting condition than a basic two track railway.
 

The Ham

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Given that there are more paths on the four tracks east of Reading, presumably the issue is the flat junction at Didcot rather than the number of paths.

If that is the case, and assuming that will need to be sorted at some point for other reasons, what is to stop an initial service running, say Swindon* to Didcot with the service ultimately running to Reading once the constraint of the junction is sorted.

*There may need to be some works to improve capacity between end of the four tracks to allow services to pass each other to get to Swindon, but that will probably depend on if the service stops on the duel section or not.

Yes it will mean changing trains to get to London, but that is less onerous than the current situation.
 

route:oxford

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Given that there are more paths on the four tracks east of Reading, presumably the issue is the flat junction at Didcot rather than the number of paths.

If that is the case, and assuming that will need to be sorted at some point for other reasons, what is to stop an initial service running, say Swindon* to Didcot with the service ultimately running to Reading once the constraint of the junction is sorted.

*There may need to be some works to improve capacity between end of the four tracks to allow services to pass each other to get to Swindon, but that will probably depend on if the service stops on the duel section or not.

Yes it will mean changing trains to get to London, but that is less onerous than the current situation.

There are a lot of people who live in Swindon but work in Oxford - the 25 mile commute along the A420 effectively halves the cost of a house.

If this was a "local" stopping service, it could quite readily stop at a new station at "Didcot West instead of the main station - it's wouldn't be an unreasonable walk between the two stations - it's practically on the existing Foxhall carpark anyway.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Ideally I'd propose a light rail/tram-train network linking Wantage town - to Grove village - Wantage Road station - Steventon - Milton Park - Didcot

Fantasy of course, in the UK....

If we are doing fantasy.

Re-pair the lines West of Didcot as the standard GWR FD-FU RD-RU and just beyond the A34 have the two relief lines tranfer over the Fast lines in a grade separated junction, flow South of Steventon with a new station there, then onward to the gap between Grove and Wantage with a new central station to serve both towns before flowing back to the mainline.

To make things interesting, call the up platform "Grove Station" and the down platform "Wantage Station" with an easement that allows passengers to return to or from the other station at no extra cost.

(This would keep rail trivia enthusiasts entertained for years.)

From W&G, head North in a generous S over the mainline towards Faringdon for a Southern station, then onwards to Watchfield & Shrivenham before terminating at Swindon.
 

Stewart2887

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Rather annoying ******takes here. I live near Wantage and catching the train anywhere means driving to Didcot. Forget driving to Oxford. Might as well drive the whole way. Loops on the line for freight aren't used so much now Didcot A has gone, why not a local service.

Even Steventon used to have a station
 

The Ham

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There are a lot of people who live in Swindon but work in Oxford - the 25 mile commute along the A420 effectively halves the cost of a house.

If this was a "local" stopping service, it could quite readily stop at a new station at "Didcot West instead of the main station - it's wouldn't be an unreasonable walk between the two stations - it's practically on the existing Foxhall carpark anyway.

Swindon to Oxford would take about 40 minutes by train, so presumably would be quicker in the rush hour than driving.
 

route:oxford

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Swindon to Oxford would take about 40 minutes by train, so presumably would be quicker in the rush hour than driving.

Definitely. Much of the A420 is single carriage too - and busy with HGV as well as agricultural vehicles. (Ever since the unions forced Royal Mail to close Oxford's sorting office, I seem to be behind RM artic every time I use it.)

If a local service was to be implemented between Oxford & Swindon it would be wise to review the fare structure. The current £45 peak return fare is a off-putting for a 40 minute not-London journey.
 
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jimm

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Definitely. Much of the A420 is single carriage too - and busy with HGV as well as agricultural vehicles. (Ever since the unions forced Royal Mail to close Oxford's sorting office, I seem to be behind RM artic every time I use it.)

If a local service was to be implemented between Oxford & Swindon it would be wise to review the fare structure. The current £45 peak return fare is a off-putting for a 40 minute not-London journey.

Another piece of fiction from you.

The sorting office in Oxford closed as part of Royal Mail's programme to move to a handful of large regional sorting centres, because of the fall in the volume of letters being handled with the rise of digital communications - not because the CWU developed a burning desire to put 450 of its members out of work, nor their colleagues at Reading Mail Centre, which closed around the same time as Oxford, with its work also going to Swindon.

The Swindon site was preferred to Oxford (and Reading) for all sorts of practical reasons, not least Oxford's traffic problems...

The current fares structure is to do with FGW/GWR's efforts in recent years to minimise the savings that used to be available to London passengers from Swindon and places further west who were splitting tickets at Didcot. A direct Swindon-Oxford link would change the game, so if it ever happens, a restructure would seem logical to better reflect fares charged for journeys of similar length around Oxford and Swindon.

Swindon to Oxford would take about 40 minutes by train, so presumably would be quicker in the rush hour than driving.

Even on a good day outside the peaks, it's best to allow an hour to do the drive on the A420. By rail, with a good connection at Didcot, it is possible to get below 40 minutes using the trains now, so a direct service in 40 minutes, with a reversal at Didcot and stopping at both Milton Park and Wantage Road, would seem do-able.
 
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route:oxford

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Another piece of fiction from you.

The sorting office in Oxford closed as part of Royal Mail's programme to move to a handful of large regional sorting centres, because of the fall in the volume of letters being handled with the rise of digital communications - not because the CWU developed a burning desire to put 450 of its members out of work, nor their colleagues at Reading Mail Centre, which closed around the same time as Oxford, with its work also going to Swindon.

The Swindon site was preferred to Oxford (and Reading) for all sorts of practical reasons, not least Oxford's traffic problems...

Nonsense Jimm. You really are quite a disagreeable fantasist.

In some content you claim to know little about the City of Oxford, then in others you attack myself and other posters about their real-life engagement with politics and business in Oxford.

The Oxford Mail Centre, one of the newest and most modern in the network - but was strike ridden from the day it opened and closed in 2009 after being open for barely 10 years.

It didn't help that that Royal Mail managed to recruit one of the most militant unionists from the former Rover plant in Oxford.

Businesses in Oxford had no idea whether to expect a mail delivery from one day to the next due to the shocking industrial relations in that place. It often closed for weeks on end. The most notable, where union members were trying to protect colleagues who were choosing to engage in sexual harassment and abuse. A neighbour had her car torched for daring to speak up about it and was forced to leave Oxford by the abuse. Story about that strike here:-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/3728333.stm

The company I worked for gave up sending outgoing post from Oxford and couriered it to an alternative sorting office for processing daily.

It was effectively a business decision by the unions to push Royal Mail to close it. No more, no less. Think about it. It actually worked out far cheaper to make 450 people redundant, ship mail across the A420 and back and continue paying a business property lease for a further 7 years in one of the most expensive business parks in the area than waste more time on industrial action.

After the OMC closed and the work shifted to Swindon, the quality of service in Oxford improved immensely and we were able to discontinue the courier contract.
 
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jimm

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Nonsense Jimm. You really are quite a disagreeable fantasist.

In some content you claim to know little about the City of Oxford, then in others you attack myself and other posters about their real-life engagement with politics and business in Oxford.

The Oxford Mail Centre, one of the newest and most modern in the network - but was strike ridden from the day it opened and closed in 2009 after being open for barely 10 years.

It didn't help that that Royal Mail managed to recruit one of the most militant unionists from the former Rover plant in Oxford.

Businesses in Oxford had no idea whether to expect a mail delivery from one day to the next due to the shocking industrial relations in that place. It often closed for weeks on end. The most notable, where union members were trying to protect colleagues who were choosing to engage in sexual harassment and abuse. A neighbour had her car torched for daring to speak up about it and was forced to leave Oxford by the abuse. Story about that strike here:-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/3728333.stm

The company I worked for gave up sending outgoing post from Oxford and couriered it to an alternative sorting office for processing daily.

It was effectively a business decision by the unions to push Royal Mail to close it. No more, no less. Think about it. It actually worked out far cheaper to make 450 people redundant, ship mail across the A420 and back and continue paying a business property lease for a further 7 years in one of the most expensive business parks in the area than waste more time on industrial action.

After the OMC closed and the work shifted to Swindon, the quality of service in Oxford improved immensely and we were able to discontinue the courier contract.

I worked in Oxford full-time for 14 years, and still do on occasion, thus feel qualified to have an opinion or two about the place - so when it comes to fantasies, could you enlighten me as to when I have supposedly claimed to know little about Oxford?

I'm well aware of the labour relations issues at the former Oxford Mail Centre, but it was always going to be one of the the sites closed once it was decided by Royal Mail managers to cut the number of sorting centres, irrespective of the state of labour relations, the views of the CWU, or anything else...

As for its 'modernity', one of the reasons given at the time for its closure was that it was not fit for purpose. The same was said about the Reading site.

Or are you suggesting that had Oxford been a haven of peace and harmony on the labour relations front, Royal Mail would have preferred a site in a city notorious for road congestion over the one in Swindon that is a few minutes' drive from a junction on the M4, with what is effectively its own private access road off a dual carriageway that also provides a fast route north?
 
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route:oxford

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I worked in Oxford full-time for 14 years, and still do on occasion, thus feel qualified to have an opinion or two about the place - so when it comes to fantasies, could you enlighten me as to when I have supposedly claimed to know little about Oxford?

Oh how thrilling. You used to commute into Oxford and now pop into the city from time to time. Well 50,000 other people do it everyday - it doesn't make you very special. (It also doesn't surprise me as your "other profile" has you domiciled elsewhere.)

It certainly doesn't earn you the right to vote for any city election candidate.

Jimm. I have no time for your fantasies, intentional "forgetfulness" or frantic fingering of the "report" button when you don't get your way.

Here's an open letter that was published in "The Oxford Times" that gives an insiders view of the Royal Mail Closures:-

To Mr Ian Sternberg
GMB - Oxford & District Trades Union Council


Dear Mr Sternberg,

I am a member of a Trade Union in Oxford but will not get drawn into anything attended by Bob Cullen. You know deep down the reason that the Oxford Mail Centre is being moved/closed is because of the wildcat strikes led by Mr Cullen. I am all for trade unions, but only when they act within the law and listen to their membership, not bully them into going out on strike whenever things don't go their way.
I know people that work at the mail centre, are in the union and are losing their jobs when, not if, it closes. They have all told me that when Bob speaks they all have to do what he says or they are ostracised.

I joined my trade union in the hope that they would negotiate with my employers not just go out on strike at the drop of a pin and all in all they are doing a good job. Even if I don't agree with all decisions then I go all along with them because that is democracy, what I don't agree with is a dictatorship like Mr Cullens.

I also noticed you didn't comment on what I said about the writing being on the wall when the Union got into bed with the management at BMW and agreed to the level of temporary workers at the plant. The reason they did this was to have the ability to downsize if times got hard. I feel for the workers, I really do, but when times are good we should put aside for when times are tough. I think the scenes of anger that were seen against the union men when the job cuts were announced prove that this meeting is going to be shutting the door when the horse is the next county.

If my union decides to go on strike in support of these temporary workers, with a heavy heart I shall leave the union and cross the picket line.

In my opinion Bob Cullen is not a "good trade-unionist" but a relic who should be consigned to history.

I await your reply
 

bluenoxid

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Wow, amazing thread drift.

It was most likely a combination of all factors that shut Oxford MC. Across the UK there has been a move to larger mail centres. However, it has little to do with restoring a station at Wantage v
 

jimm

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Oh how thrilling. You used to commute into Oxford and now pop into the city from time to time. Well 50,000 other people do it everyday - it doesn't make you very special. (It also doesn't surprise me as your "other profile" has you domiciled elsewhere.)

It certainly doesn't earn you the right to vote for any city election candidate.

Jimm. I have no time for your fantasies, intentional "forgetfulness" or frantic fingering of the "report" button when you don't get your way.

Here's an open letter that was published in "The Oxford Times" that gives an insiders view of the Royal Mail Closures:-

Sorry for not realising that you are now setting the rules on this forum - I didn't know we all had to live/vote somewhere before we could post about the said place, or comment on posts about it... so on that basis you must live in Wantage or Grove...

Nor that we aren't allowed to challenge you whenever you air your fantasy visions of life in Oxford, a city apparently hobbled by a mass conspiracy featuring Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green councillors, aided and abetted by trade unionists, tree huggers and nimbys...

I don't live in Oxford. Never said I did, here or anywhere else you claim to have detected my presence. But I can walk to a shop five minutes down the road and buy an Oxford newspaper, or look at their websites online, or talk to people I work with who live inside the city boundary and get their take on things.

I have never fingered a report button in my life, frantically or otherwise.

Re the letter. Is that meant to be some clinching argument? An apparently anonymous letter from someone who seems to work at BMW Cowley?

Clearly that trumps the Royal Mail strategic plan that also swept away lots of sorting centres where Mr Cullen never set foot and that provided the exemplary, efficient service that you say you prize so highly. None of which saved them from the axe.
 

The Ham

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Wow, amazing thread drift.

It was most likely a combination of all factors that shut Oxford MC. Across the UK there has been a move to larger mail centres. However, it has little to do with restoring a station at Wantage v

Quite, it wasn't that long ago that many places had their own sorting offices. However, given the timeframe over which it has happened it is clear to say that has little impact on the railways in terms of passenger numbers.

In which case the impact on any new station at Wantage is unlikely to be more or less desirable than if we were still under the old system of lid of local sorting offices.

Even traffic volume would be little different as there would have still been lorries between the two settlements, they may have been smaller but still just as slow.

If you want a thread on the impact of the railways from the closure of Oxford sorting office then create one.
 

infobleep

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For the initial services perhaps, but when the Central Section preferred corridor announcement was made in April, the idea of a Norwich-Bristol service was mentioned.



http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/2016/04/04/central-section-preferred-corridor-announced/

Wiltshire Council still has ambitions to reopen Corsham and Wootton Bassett, so if the councils can co-ordinate their efforts and get GWR or any successor TOC on board, there's no reason why a semi-fast Bristol-Oxford couldn't be reactivated to serve them, whether or not East-West services ever become a factor on this axis, as well as to Reading.



But the reopening of the station is part of the council's Connecting Oxfordshire strategy, so is the policy of the ruling Conservatives as well.

http://www.heraldseries.co.uk/news/...is_a_priority_for_Oxfordshire_County_Council/
When travelling along that stretch of line, I'm always amazed that Wotton Basset doesn't have a station. Is there really not enough demand for such a thing?

Isn't it near a junction?

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
 

The Ham

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The current fares structure is to do with FGW/GWR's efforts in recent years to minimise the savings that used to be available to London passengers from Swindon and places further west who were splitting tickets at Didcot. A direct Swindon-Oxford link would change the game, so if it ever happens, a restructure would seem logical to better reflect fares charged for journeys of similar length around Oxford and Swindon.

If you were to run a service it could be possible to have cheaper ticketing via "Didcot West", people may still split tickets, but if they were heading to London it would involve a walk at Didcot to change stations which would a) put people off b) would mean that people had to use the new local service rather than the existing services.
 
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