Making right connections for better transport

First published 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

Comments (1)

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5:16pm Wed 14 May 14

DEnright says...

Highly supportive of this. The Labour Councillors in West Oxon District have tried a number of times to get action on the A40, including last year suggesting the creation of an A40 action group of councils along the line of the A40, from Fishguard in Wales to London, to plan and lobby for improvements. In addition we proposed using an underspend on the current budget to contribute to the feasibility study asked for by WOT.

There are clearly short-term fixes such as car share schemes, action at Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts, a cycle lane along the road between Eynsham and Botley, and a feeder lane to the A44/A34 at Wolvercote. Also the lights and junctions round Eynsham and Cassington can be improved. In the longer term schemes along the old railway line, or alongside the A40, such as trams or guided buses, are exciting possibilities.

Cllr Duncan Enright, Witney East
Highly supportive of this. The Labour Councillors in West Oxon District have tried a number of times to get action on the A40, including last year suggesting the creation of an A40 action group of councils along the line of the A40, from Fishguard in Wales to London, to plan and lobby for improvements. In addition we proposed using an underspend on the current budget to contribute to the feasibility study asked for by WOT. There are clearly short-term fixes such as car share schemes, action at Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts, a cycle lane along the road between Eynsham and Botley, and a feeder lane to the A44/A34 at Wolvercote. Also the lights and junctions round Eynsham and Cassington can be improved. In the longer term schemes along the old railway line, or alongside the A40, such as trams or guided buses, are exciting possibilities. Cllr Duncan Enright, Witney East DEnright
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