A NEW station at Yarnton on the Cotswold Line could feed into a new park and ride to relieve congestion on the A40, a transport campaign group has said.

The Witney Oxford Transport (WOT) group, which campaigns for better transport links between Witney and Oxford, has come up with the proposals as an alternative to A40 improvements proposed by Oxfordshire County Council.

Trains from Yarnton would then take commuters into Oxford, the group said, and a later extension could continue the line to another new station close to Eynsham, where a second park and ride could be built.

WOT said the scheme would be a better way to use the £35m Government funding earmarked to make improvements to the road, which runs between Oxford and Witney.

The former Yarnton Junction station, where the branch line to Witney and Fairford left the Cotswold Line, closed in 1962 with the end of passenger trains between Witney and Oxford.

Witney Oxford Transport group spokesman Richard Stow said: “This proposal is all about making do with what we have got in terms of funds, but at the same time ensuring that there is a viable long-term solution on the table.

“We always said we didn’t want half-baked alternatives and we believe our suggestion offers the best way forward as it would integrate a variety of existing transport modes, yet with no major disruption to motorists.

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“We are quietly confident we can demonstrate its viability and if it is a success further extensions could be easily justified and we could finally have an affordable and effective alternative to the A40.”

The proposals come on the back of the county council’s cabinet agreeing its Local Transport Plan should go out for consultation. The plan sets out the council’s vision for transport to 2031, including bus and train routes, improvements to highways and cycling and walking routes.

It includes the £35m Government funding to make upgrades to the A40 corridor, traffic controls for peak times and extra lanes, building westward-facing slip roads onto the A40 at Shores Green and a new junction at Downs Road, West Witney.

There are also plans to encourage use of routes in Witney other than the congested Bridge Street junction and there will be a study into the feasibility of a new road bridge crossing the River Windrush known as the West End link road.

Richard Langridge, Oxfordshire county councillor for Witney North and East, said: “The most important thing for Witney is the Shores Green slip roads. We’ve been needing those for a long long time.

“We’ve got some money now, we just need to sit down and work out how best to spend it.

“I’m a great fan of rail travel but we need quicker solutions that that.

“We must also make sure this money goes out to the rural areas as that’s where transport is often at its worst.”

Network Rail spokeswoman Victoria Bradley said: “We are investing heavily to improve Oxfordshire’s railway and will continue to work with the local community to discuss their aspirations. Any scheme would need to demonstrate a solid business case and represent good value-for-money.”

The county council’s transport strategy will now go out for an eight week consultation.

Further information on WOT’s proposal is available on the group’s website at witneyoxfordtransport.wordpress.com

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