More trains and faster journeys on cards for Cotswold Line stations

The Oxford Times: A Class 180 Adelante train at Charlbury station on the Cotswold Line Buy this photo A Class 180 Adelante train at Charlbury station on the Cotswold Line

COTSWOLD Line rail passengers could see more and faster trains as early as next year, they were told on Saturday.

Train operator First Great Western’s franchise bid director Matthew Golton told the annual meeting of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group that proposals for an enhanced service from May 2015 had been submitted to the Department for Transport.

It is understood these could include additional trains on the section of the line through West Oxfordshire, provided by extending some services between Oxford and London to run to and from Charlbury or Moreton-in-Marsh, in Gloucestershire.

Subject to DfT consent, the company hopes to begin consultation on its proposals shortly.

Mr Golton told the meeting, held in Moreton-in-Marsh, that the aim was to improve Cotswold Line services in advance of the introduction of new InterCity Express Programme (IEP) bi-mode, electro-diesel trains on the line from 2017, following electrification of the Oxford-London route, and to cope with continued growth in passenger traffic.

He said the number of journeys made using Cotswold Line stations had grown by 43 per cent since 2009-10, up from 3.6 million journeys then to 5.2 million in the past 12 months.

He added: “We have been looking very hard at what we can achieve with the [fast-accelerating] Class 180 Adelante trains and how we can get from here to 2017-18. We have drawn up what we regard as an exciting package.

“It does have faster journey times and it does have service extensions. It does fill some of the key gaps in the current timetable, but not all.”

And Shipton station will see a better spread of services on Saturdays from December this year, with mid-morning and early afternoon trains to Oxford and London and an early afternoon train back.

CLPG chairman John Ellis raised passengers’ concerns about the use since last summer of a 280-seat Adelante, instead of a 500-seat High Speed Train, on the busy 3.52pm train from London Paddington to Oxford and Worcester, due to an overhaul programme for the HST fleet.

He said: “We understand the dilemma faced by FGW in having to remove a set for heavy maintenance, but people using this service are equally understandably angry with the conditions on board this train.”

Mr Golton said that the company had to take tough choices, as the HSTs needed to be given life-extension work, due to delays to the IEP project.

He added: “We very much regret the situation with the 3.52pm and continue to think how we might bring relief to that train, but it is a by-product of the situation we find ourselves in.”

  • The meeting also heard that FGW’s Cotswold Line stations manager, Teresa Ceesay, will retire in August, after seven years in the post and 15 years working for the company.

Comments (5)

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11:55am Wed 21 May 14

King Joke says...

Journalists: Please note the railways have been using the 24-hour clock since 1964. 'The 1552 train' is more concise than 'the 3.52 pm train' and, in a transport context, is more accurate.

To address the story, haven't they got round the problems on the 1552 by not advertising the Reading call? There is a HST to Swansea or somewhere a few minutes before so Reading passengers are directed to that train.
Journalists: Please note the railways have been using the 24-hour clock since 1964. 'The 1552 train' is more concise than 'the 3.52 pm train' and, in a transport context, is more accurate. To address the story, haven't they got round the problems on the 1552 by not advertising the Reading call? There is a HST to Swansea or somewhere a few minutes before so Reading passengers are directed to that train. King Joke
  • Score: 1

5:31pm Wed 21 May 14

William Crossley says...

Editor's note:

The house style of this newspaper is to use am and pm, for the sake of consistency across the board.

The call at Reading station has been pick-up only ever since the Adelante was put on the train, but overcrowding remains a problem, because of the large number of people who use it to travel to Oxford and from Oxford to stations along the Cotswold Line, which was why Mr Ellis raised the issue.
Editor's note: The house style of this newspaper is to use am and pm, for the sake of consistency across the board. The call at Reading station has been pick-up only ever since the Adelante was put on the train, but overcrowding remains a problem, because of the large number of people who use it to travel to Oxford and from Oxford to stations along the Cotswold Line, which was why Mr Ellis raised the issue. William Crossley
  • Score: 2

8:20pm Wed 21 May 14

King Joke says...

Cool, thanks for the feedback and point taken about the 1552.
Cool, thanks for the feedback and point taken about the 1552. King Joke
  • Score: -1

4:46am Thu 22 May 14

Myron Blatz says...

Yes, 1-24 hours more useful than 1-12 hours, especially in relationship to POQT - or Post Office Que Time. This phenomina seems to be commonplace at both Oxford's St Aldate's Post Office (especially when enhanced by tourists) and Cowley Centre, where CCT or Co-op Checkout Time is also encountered and waiting times can often appear to be longer than waiting to see your GP. Sadly, it may only be a matter of time before we are all forced to use the 24 hour clock system, in the same way as the EU will force Britain (not so 'Great' if Scotland votes to leave the Union) to change to driving on the right - which will confuse cyclists and pedestrians even more!
Yes, 1-24 hours more useful than 1-12 hours, especially in relationship to POQT - or Post Office Que Time. This phenomina seems to be commonplace at both Oxford's St Aldate's Post Office (especially when enhanced by tourists) and Cowley Centre, where CCT or Co-op Checkout Time is also encountered and waiting times can often appear to be longer than waiting to see your GP. Sadly, it may only be a matter of time before we are all forced to use the 24 hour clock system, in the same way as the EU will force Britain (not so 'Great' if Scotland votes to leave the Union) to change to driving on the right - which will confuse cyclists and pedestrians even more! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

8:28am Thu 22 May 14

King Joke says...

'Que Time' - where do they have that, Spain lol?

You may feel uncomfortable with the 24-hour clock but the thousands who work in the transport industry have got along with if fine for the last fifty years, and Her Majesty's Armed Forces for longer than that. Indeed HMAF went metric a while ago too! Quelle horreur!

The 24-hour clock has nothing to do with the EU, as they happily use it in countries like Norway, Switzerland and Israel too.

I wouldn't suggest using it at all times, just in relation to transport stories, where staff and passengers alike are very familiar with it, and have to translate press stories back into 24-hour time to make sense of them. I've lost the argument on that, fair enough. The OM have their style guide and they're sticking to it.
'Que Time' - where do they have that, Spain lol? You may feel uncomfortable with the 24-hour clock but the thousands who work in the transport industry have got along with if fine for the last fifty years, and Her Majesty's Armed Forces for longer than that. Indeed HMAF went metric a while ago too! Quelle horreur! The 24-hour clock has nothing to do with the EU, as they happily use it in countries like Norway, Switzerland and Israel too. I wouldn't suggest using it at all times, just in relation to transport stories, where staff and passengers alike are very familiar with it, and have to translate press stories back into 24-hour time to make sense of them. I've lost the argument on that, fair enough. The OM have their style guide and they're sticking to it. King Joke
  • Score: 0

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