Leader blocks six-month closure of A338 for rail works

The Oxford Times: Julie Mabberley has welcomed the decision not to close the A338, announced on Twitter by county council leader Ian Hudspeth Julie Mabberley has welcomed the decision not to close the A338, announced on Twitter by county council leader Ian Hudspeth

A BID to shut off the Wantage to Oxford road for up to six months has been blocked.

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth announced last night on Twitter the council had refused the application from Network Rail to close the A338 from February 10 for electrification works.

Residents and politicians had protested against the plan, arguing the closure would cause traffic chaos as the 13,000 journeys made on the road every day would have to be diverted.

Mr Hudspeth tweeted yesterday: “Good meeting with @edvaizey re A338 I told him OCC have turned downs the plans for the road closure & will work with them to find a solution.”

The Oxford Times:

County council leader Ian Hudspeth

He was not available for comment last night but the county’s transport boss David Nimmo Smith said he was not surprised by the decision and said Network Rail should pay for a temporary bridge to get the road closed.

He said: “They have to think beyond their railway line.”

Wantage and Grove campaign group leader Julie Mabberley last night welcomed the news, but said she was only “temporarily relieved”.

She said: “Network Rail has to electrify that line and if we can get the temporary bridge we want, we would be very relieved.”

Network Rail needs to rebuild the bridge, and 27 others in Oxfordshire, in order to make room for electric overhead wires as part of its £1bn electrification project of the London to Bristol main line.

The firm would not comment last night.

Comments (10)

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8:33am Sat 11 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?
Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one? Patrick, Devon

9:07am Sat 11 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Patrick, Devon wrote:
Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?
That would be called "betterment".

Don't forget that for every action there's a vexation reaction from the notorious unelected and unaccountable "activists" of Oxford(shire).

A reasonable person would probably consider it wise to build an elegant wide bridge slightly to the east with bus lanes/bus bays and pavements/cycle lanes as well as regular traffic lanes ready for a future railway station.

An unreasonable organisation's press office would quickly have their people pictured in the paper expressing "fear" that the altered road course would destroy rural England and the new road infrastructure and potential station would risk opening up the land North of the railway line to 1000s of new homes.
[quote][p][bold]Patrick, Devon[/bold] wrote: Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?[/p][/quote]That would be called "betterment". Don't forget that for every action there's a vexation reaction from the notorious unelected and unaccountable "activists" of Oxford(shire). A reasonable person would probably consider it wise to build an elegant wide bridge slightly to the east with bus lanes/bus bays and pavements/cycle lanes as well as regular traffic lanes ready for a future railway station. An unreasonable organisation's press office would quickly have their people pictured in the paper expressing "fear" that the altered road course would destroy rural England and the new road infrastructure and potential station would risk opening up the land North of the railway line to 1000s of new homes. Andrew:Oxford

2:14pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Patrick, Devon wrote:
Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?
That would be called "betterment".

Don't forget that for every action there's a vexation reaction from the notorious unelected and unaccountable "activists" of Oxford(shire).

A reasonable person would probably consider it wise to build an elegant wide bridge slightly to the east with bus lanes/bus bays and pavements/cycle lanes as well as regular traffic lanes ready for a future railway station.

An unreasonable organisation's press office would quickly have their people pictured in the paper expressing "fear" that the altered road course would destroy rural England and the new road infrastructure and potential station would risk opening up the land North of the railway line to 1000s of new homes.
Yes, silly me, this is (so called) rural England, and not a modern country. Folk might suspect its a subterfuge for getting a new town built.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Patrick, Devon[/bold] wrote: Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?[/p][/quote]That would be called "betterment". Don't forget that for every action there's a vexation reaction from the notorious unelected and unaccountable "activists" of Oxford(shire). A reasonable person would probably consider it wise to build an elegant wide bridge slightly to the east with bus lanes/bus bays and pavements/cycle lanes as well as regular traffic lanes ready for a future railway station. An unreasonable organisation's press office would quickly have their people pictured in the paper expressing "fear" that the altered road course would destroy rural England and the new road infrastructure and potential station would risk opening up the land North of the railway line to 1000s of new homes.[/p][/quote]Yes, silly me, this is (so called) rural England, and not a modern country. Folk might suspect its a subterfuge for getting a new town built. Patrick, Devon

5:26pm Sun 12 Jan 14

oxinkytext says...

Isn't it strange how the Tory leader of OCC and the local Tory MP (who did not attend any of the protest meetings) suddenly produce some spin about "them" saving the day. Please do not take the electorate for fools and at least acknowledge the outcry from local residents and representatives.

The work obviously needs to be done - it is a matter of finding the best way with the least disruption.

Also, how come the article says that the cabinet member for transport was not available for comment and then goes on to do just that?!
Isn't it strange how the Tory leader of OCC and the local Tory MP (who did not attend any of the protest meetings) suddenly produce some spin about "them" saving the day. Please do not take the electorate for fools and at least acknowledge the outcry from local residents and representatives. The work obviously needs to be done - it is a matter of finding the best way with the least disruption. Also, how come the article says that the cabinet member for transport was not available for comment and then goes on to do just that?! oxinkytext

6:44pm Sun 12 Jan 14

faatmaan says...

just what do these people hope to achieve ? , the rail upgrade is a necessity, road closures are inevitable, this is a case of motorists affected being selfish, unwilling to use alternative routes, what do they do when the A338 is closed, stay at home ?
just what do these people hope to achieve ? , the rail upgrade is a necessity, road closures are inevitable, this is a case of motorists affected being selfish, unwilling to use alternative routes, what do they do when the A338 is closed, stay at home ? faatmaan

8:47pm Sun 12 Jan 14

downsview says...

faatmaan wrote:
just what do these people hope to achieve ? , the rail upgrade is a necessity, road closures are inevitable, this is a case of motorists affected being selfish, unwilling to use alternative routes, what do they do when the A338 is closed, stay at home ?
R u the fatman that works for Network Rail? That can be the only explanation for such a stupid post as that which you just made!
This bridge needs to be an improvement on the current one and to be wide enough to ensure that it can accommodate a station underneath/east of it at some future time. Complaining to get the right solution rather than a cheapskate bridge is what concerned locals have been asking for as well as avoiding 6 months of chaos.
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: just what do these people hope to achieve ? , the rail upgrade is a necessity, road closures are inevitable, this is a case of motorists affected being selfish, unwilling to use alternative routes, what do they do when the A338 is closed, stay at home ?[/p][/quote]R u the fatman that works for Network Rail? That can be the only explanation for such a stupid post as that which you just made! This bridge needs to be an improvement on the current one and to be wide enough to ensure that it can accommodate a station underneath/east of it at some future time. Complaining to get the right solution rather than a cheapskate bridge is what concerned locals have been asking for as well as avoiding 6 months of chaos. downsview

10:55am Mon 13 Jan 14

## Nonny Mouse ## says...

My original stance was 'we need to suffer short term pain for long term gains', but I am glad that this issue is being taken seriously.

The traffic displaced by simply shutting the A338 would cause obscene distruption on the surrounding network. Is that a price that the Wantage/Grove inhabitants should bear considering that access to the services the railway provides is laughable?

There simply has to be a better solution than simply shutting it. A temporary bridge like that of the Wolvercote Viaduct works should be a consideration. It will cost Network Rail more, of course, but if the electrification of the GWR is worth it then do it.

They may use it as an excuse to bump fares even more, but the saving the electrification should give them will never be seen by it's passengers.
My original stance was 'we need to suffer short term pain for long term gains', but I am glad that this issue is being taken seriously. The traffic displaced by simply shutting the A338 would cause obscene distruption on the surrounding network. Is that a price that the Wantage/Grove inhabitants should bear considering that access to the services the railway provides is laughable? There simply has to be a better solution than simply shutting it. A temporary bridge like that of the Wolvercote Viaduct works should be a consideration. It will cost Network Rail more, of course, but if the electrification of the GWR is worth it then do it. They may use it as an excuse to bump fares even more, but the saving the electrification should give them will never be seen by it's passengers. ## Nonny Mouse ##

11:29am Mon 13 Jan 14

Patrick, Devon says...

If that location is going to be used for a new station to serve Wantage/Grove/Scienc
e Vale etc, which is clearly the policy of Oxon CC, then its obvious that the existing narrow Victorian bridge is inadequate and needs more than just raising a few cm to accomodate a catenary. Time for some joined up planning here?
If that location is going to be used for a new station to serve Wantage/Grove/Scienc e Vale etc, which is clearly the policy of Oxon CC, then its obvious that the existing narrow Victorian bridge is inadequate and needs more than just raising a few cm to accomodate a catenary. Time for some joined up planning here? Patrick, Devon

12:27pm Mon 13 Jan 14

King Joke says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Patrick, Devon wrote: Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?
That would be called "betterment". Don't forget that for every action there's a vexation reaction from the notorious unelected and unaccountable "activists" of Oxford(shire). A reasonable person would probably consider it wise to build an elegant wide bridge slightly to the east with bus lanes/bus bays and pavements/cycle lanes as well as regular traffic lanes ready for a future railway station. An unreasonable organisation's press office would quickly have their people pictured in the paper expressing "fear" that the altered road course would destroy rural England and the new road infrastructure and potential station would risk opening up the land North of the railway line to 1000s of new homes.
Is there any evidence to suggest there is a market for a station here? Certainly no GWML operator is going to want to stop trains from Cardiff, Bristol or Cheltenham here, and is there the capacity for an additional semi-fast service? Is there any appetite to take out Didcot stops to enable a Wantage stop? Assuming this hurdle could be overcome it's obvious a London service would drive commuter housing, but all the housing planned for Grove is nowehere near the station! If anywhere it should go in the area between the current settlement and the VOlunteer Bridge, not on the airfield.

What about destinations other than London? East-West rail is a possibility but the same issues with slowing down a long-distance service is pertinent. IT may not be much use for commuting to Oxford anyway as the journey time with a Didcot call wouldn't be much less than the current X30 bus.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Patrick, Devon[/bold] wrote: Could they not just build a new bridge and then scrap the old one?[/p][/quote]That would be called "betterment". Don't forget that for every action there's a vexation reaction from the notorious unelected and unaccountable "activists" of Oxford(shire). A reasonable person would probably consider it wise to build an elegant wide bridge slightly to the east with bus lanes/bus bays and pavements/cycle lanes as well as regular traffic lanes ready for a future railway station. An unreasonable organisation's press office would quickly have their people pictured in the paper expressing "fear" that the altered road course would destroy rural England and the new road infrastructure and potential station would risk opening up the land North of the railway line to 1000s of new homes.[/p][/quote]Is there any evidence to suggest there is a market for a station here? Certainly no GWML operator is going to want to stop trains from Cardiff, Bristol or Cheltenham here, and is there the capacity for an additional semi-fast service? Is there any appetite to take out Didcot stops to enable a Wantage stop? Assuming this hurdle could be overcome it's obvious a London service would drive commuter housing, but all the housing planned for Grove is nowehere near the station! If anywhere it should go in the area between the current settlement and the VOlunteer Bridge, not on the airfield. What about destinations other than London? East-West rail is a possibility but the same issues with slowing down a long-distance service is pertinent. IT may not be much use for commuting to Oxford anyway as the journey time with a Didcot call wouldn't be much less than the current X30 bus. King Joke

1:27pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Richard of Wantage says...

It seems to be double standards by the OCC. According to the OCC it's inconceivable to close the A338 for a few months but they are happy approve the doubling of traffic on both the A417 and A338 with new housing building. To support all the new housing, Wantage will need a mass transport system and the roads are not up to the job. The only alternative is for a local rail line from Grove to Didcot which wont happen as the new bridges are not wide enough to take a local line! The district and county council know the Grove station will never open unless there is a local line, so why don't they come clean about it?
It seems to be double standards by the OCC. According to the OCC it's inconceivable to close the A338 for a few months but they are happy approve the doubling of traffic on both the A417 and A338 with new housing building. To support all the new housing, Wantage will need a mass transport system and the roads are not up to the job. The only alternative is for a local rail line from Grove to Didcot which wont happen as the new bridges are not wide enough to take a local line! The district and county council know the Grove station will never open unless there is a local line, so why don't they come clean about it? Richard of Wantage

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