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Making right connections for better transport
10:00am Wednesday 14th May 2014 in Letters
Sir –Both Railfuture Thames Valley and Bus Users Oxford support Witney Oxford Transport (WOT), which campaigns for an Oxford-Witney rapid transit.
In 2001 civil and transport engineers Mott MacDonald compared options for reopening the former Witney Railway as a railway, tramway or guided busway. They estimated costs at £107m, £79m or £75m respectively.
Oxfordshire County Council chose a busway, but this failed its business case and the council abandoned the project.
Numerous cities have found that trams far out-perform busways at getting people to forsake cars. Hence for only six per cent extra cost, a tramway might reduce A40 traffic much more.
WOT is taking no chances. It wants the 2001 study updated, again comparing heavy rail, tram and a busway for Oxford-Witney.
WOT believes any new link should not only reach central Oxford but also connect to the Headington hospitals and BMW and Unipart. WOT and its partners have discussed with the city council leader Bob Price his idea of trams in Oxford.
We stressed that if proposals are made for the city and for Oxford-Witney, the two systems should be compatible.
Network Rail is considering reintroducing passenger trains on the branch to Cowley when it enlarges Oxford station. This would complement any rapid transit proposals, so any new study should take it into account.
Hugh Jaeger, media officer, Railfuture Thames Valley branch
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