OBRAG Update from Chairman

This is a message from the new Chairman (Richard Povey, email: rpoveyuk@gmail.com) I shall be assisted by Scot Peterson (who will be doing any actual chairing of meetings), but I will be taking care of the OBRAG website from now on.

Thank you very much to Ian East and Henrietta Leyser, our predecessors, who have been OBRAG stalwarts over many years and pivotal to all of us having a continuing train service in Islip.

For now, I wanted to provide a summary of where we are with the Islip-London train and Islip-Oxford train-bus service. I would welcome comments (either on the blog or by email) if people disagree with my assessment or can think of further problems/information to add.

First, the positives, and many thanks to Hattie Bayly for representing us on the Passenger Board and to Chiltern Railways for sorting/clarifying these issues:

  1. The opening of the remainder of the line to Oxford is as I understand it promised for the 12th December and there is no reason to expect any further delay.
  2. All buses from Oxford now stopping outside the Oxford Parkway station is a huge improvement in reducing the amount of walking (and sometimes running – see next point) needed. As a point of information, from approximately 19:30 (and all day on Sundays) the buses pick up and drop off only at the front of the station. Before 19:30 Mondays to Saturdays, passengers should still embark for the bus journey to Oxford at the Park and Ride Terminal. (Being able to embark with return train tickets to Islip from Magdalen Street in Oxford instead of the railway station has also been a welcome improvement.)
  3. Now that the road works have been completed around the Oxford railway station (and the bus stopping directly outside Oxford Parkway station), the issue of missing trains from Parkway to Islip due to delayed buses from the centre of Oxford has been a lot less of a problem. As a regular user, I do however still occasionally find I miss trains due to delayed departures of buses from Oxford city centre. Chiltern Railways have been quite good about providing replacement taxi services from Parkway to Islip if I miss a service, although it has sometimes seemed as if there is not a clear policy to do this and it is at the whim of whoever is in charge (But they have always provided such a service for me when I have asked.) I would welcome other people’s thoughts and experiences about the taxi replacement policy when the timetable goes wrong.
  4. The ticket machines at Islip did appear to be a lot more reliable then a few months ago, and to usually dispense tickets correctly – at least until the recent building work at the Islip station put them offline. Hopefully this will be completed on time by 12th June.
  5. The spacing of services from Islip to Oxford seems currently quite satisfactory. (I would welcome people’s thoughts on this statement, however.)

Now for the remaining negatives that need to be addressed:

  1. Commuters to London continue to find it highly unsatisfactory that they have been forced to take the 7:14 from Islip to Parkway and then catch the 7:24 in order to get to London by 8:20.  This has caused problems with delays causing them to miss the 7:24 connection and is in any case inefficient. It will become more so under the new timetable where they will now be required to catch the 7:03 from Islip, thus essentially extending the journey time to London by 50%. This seems crazy (at least, from an Islip perspective). It would be far preferable to have the 7:24 leave a few minutes earlier from Parkway so as to stop in Islip. Chiltern however say that for commercial reasons they are unable to allow additional stops on the flagship morning service from Parkway to Marylebone. I would be interested to hear feedback about the experiences of Islip-London commuters in particular as regards the reliability of the Parkway connection, how often they have been late for work due to delays and how adequate Chiltern’s compensation policies have been.
  2. We are aware of issues with the ticket machines at Parkway incorrectly charging users of the off-peak 8:50 service from Parkway to Bicester at peak fares. Not all staff at the station appear to be aware that this is an off-peak service. Chiltern say that this it is difficult to make the ticket machines operate correctly, but in that case maybe some kind of paper notice might be possible explaining how to buy an off-peak ticket so that customers are not over-charged. In any case, please be aware of this.
  3. Bicester to Oxford commuters are frustrated that there is no bus connection for the new 07:10 arrival at Oxford Parkway until 07:26 which is the same as getting the 07:22 arrival. There is thus no incentive for Bicester commuters to get the new 06:55 departure over the 07:08 departure as they have to wait and use the same bus service to Oxford City.

As I say, comments, additional information and suggestions are most welcome.

Important update from Chiltern Railways regarding weekend services from Islip station, 14th – 15th May

On Saturday and Sunday nearly every train that calls at Islip will be using Platform 2. Please see schedule below.

Between 0800 & 1950 on each day the line that passes through Platform 1 is subject to an engineering blockade.

Due to only being able to use one line between Bicester Village and Oxford Parkway, the normal ‘base’ timetables are  slightly amended.

Trains at ISLIP

All trains from 00:01 to 23:01 on 14/05/16

Lc  Arr   Dep  Wttid    Origin        Destination   Typ Days  In  Plat

07:18 07:18 1Y05 OXFORDPWY 07:15 MARYLBONE 08:26 WTT SO         2

07:30 07:30 1T06 MARYLBONE 06:25 OXFORDPWY 07:35 WTT SO         1

08:32 08:33 1T11 MARYLBONE 07:35 OXFORDPWY 08:38 VAR SO    DB   2

09:18 09:18 1Y12 OXFORDPWY 09:15 MARYLBONE 10:16 WTT SO         2

09:31 09:32 1T15 MARYLBONE 08:35 OXFORDPWY 09:37 VAR SO         2

10:18 10:18 1Y15 OXFORDPWY 10:15 MARYLBONE 11:18 VAR SO         2

12:18 12:18 1Y26 OXFORDPWY 12:15 MARYLBONE 13:19 VAR SO         2

12:31 12:32 1T27 MARYLBONE 11:35 OXFORDPWY 12:37 VAR SO         2

15:18 15:18 1Y41 OXFORDPWY 15:15 MARYLBONE 16:21 VAR SO         2

15:31 15:32 1T39 MARYLBONE 14:35 OXFORDPWY 15:37 VAR SO         2

18:18 18:18 1Y55 OXFORDPWY 18:15 MARYLBONE 19:16 WTT SO         2

18:31 18:32 1T51 MARYLBONE 17:30 OXFORDPWY 18:37 VAR SO         2

21:18 21:18 1Y71 OXFORDPWY 21:15 MARYLBONE 22:16 WTT SO         2

21:27 21:28 1T63 MARYLBONE 20:35 OXFORDPWY 21:32 WTT SO         1

22:18 22:18 1Y77 OXFORDPWY 22:15 MARYLBONE 23:25 WTT SO         2

Trains at ISLIP

All trains from 00:01 to 23:01 on 15/05/16

Lc  Arr   Dep  Wttid    Origin        Destination   Typ Days  In  Plat

00:05 00:06 1T73 MARYLBONE 23:10 OXFORDPWY 00:10 WTT SO         1

08:43 08:44 1T11 MARYLBONE 07:35 OXFORDPWY 08:49 WTT SUN        1

09:03 09:04 1Y12 OXFORDPWY 09:00 MARYLBONE 10:11 WTT SUN        2

10:32 10:33 1T19 MARYLBONE 09:35 OXFORDPWY 10:37 VAR SUN   DB   2

11:18 11:18 1Y20 OXFORDPWY 11:15 MARYLBONE 12:16 WTT SUN        2

12:32 12:33 1T27 MARYLBONE 11:35 OXFORDPWY 12:37 VAR SUN   DB   2

13:18 13:18 1Y29 OXFORDPWY 13:15 MARYLBONE 14:19 VAR SUN        2

14:32 14:33 1T35 MARYLBONE 13:35 OXFORDPWY 14:37 VAR SUN   DB   2

15:18 15:18 1Y41 OXFORDPWY 15:15 MARYLBONE 16:16 WTT SUN        2

16:32 16:33 1T43 MARYLBONE 15:35 OXFORDPWY 16:37 VAR SUN   DB   2

17:18 17:18 1Y51 OXFORDPWY 17:15 MARYLBONE 18:19 VAR SUN        2

19:18 19:18 1Y61 OXFORDPWY 19:15 MARYLBONE 20:19 VAR SUN        2

20:27 20:28 1T59 MARYLBONE 19:30 OXFORDPWY 20:33 VAR SUN        1

21:18 21:18 1Y71 OXFORDPWY 21:15 MARYLBONE 22:15 WTT SUN        2

22:27 22:28 1T67 MARYLBONE 21:35 OXFORDPWY 22:33 WTT SUN        1

Important update from Chiltern Railways regarding WORKS ACTIVITY IN ISLIP – 6th May to 12th June 2016

Dear Resident and/or Parish Council member

NOTIFICATION OF WORKS ACTIVITY IN ISLIP – 6th May to 12th June 2016

The following is a summary of the proposed activity to the rail corridor in the Islip area.

This information is correct at time of writing. Please feel free to circulate it and encourage others to sign up for email updates (see details at end of email).

Station Approach will be closed at Islip station for a period of 4 weeks from 6th May to 12th of June to allow us to finish installing the noise barrier at this location and other junction works at this location. The station car park will be closed, and pedestrian access to both platforms will be via the ramp on the other side of the rail corridor.

We will be delivering concrete to our sites at Holts Farm and Northfield Farm via Islip on Sunday 8 May 2016. This is a one-off use of Islip for access due to the usual access road (Merton Road going through Merton Village) being closed due to other  infrastructure works (unrelated to our project). The concrete lorries will be coming from and returning to Kidlington. Our working hours will be 8am to 6pm, and we are expecting 22 traffic movements in total (11 deliveries).

OBRAG AGM – Oxford opening delayed AGAIN!

OBRAG AGM 2016

I must first apologise for including some inaccurate quotations of Patrick O’Sullivan of EWRC in the minutes originally posted and for causing him some embarrassment.  I should point out that the corridor for the EWR Central Section has not yet been decided, and the route via Sandy into Cambridge remains just one possibility being considered.  Also, there has been no date set for electrification.  Patrick was only able to report that it remains part of the plan.  These errors are mine, and not his.

Please find corrected minutes above.

Our speaker (from the EWR Consortium) sadly relayed the news that opening of the line into Oxford will not now happen until at least Dec 2016, meaning Oxford commuters from Islip and Bicester will have lost service for three full years.  (I blame Network Rail for this disaster.)

I (Ian East) have now stepped down from the OBRAG Committee, leaving Harriet Bayly as CRPB liaison and Henrietta Leyser as temporary chairman. Anyone interested in chairing OBRAG please contact Henrietta via chairman@obrag.org.uk.

On departing, I would like to thank all those who have helped OBRAG represent folk since 2003, especially Henrietta Leyser (there at the start), Jon Spinage (IT support), John Watts, Linda O’Dell and my partner Nicola, who’s put up with a lot.  My apologies for anyone not in the list, which is more likely down to my failing memory.

I sincerely hope that transport planning springs into existence soon, and ceases to be merely a matter of myopic “business case”, for all our sakes.

OBRAG AGM – 19th January

The 2016 AGM of the Oxford-Bicester Rail Action Group (OBRAG) will be held :

Islip Village Hall, Terrace Room (around the back)
19.00-20.00, Tuesday 19th January 2016

The timing allows rail travel from/to Oxford (18.03, 20.17)and Bicester (18.41, 20.11).

Your chairman is stepping down, after thirteen years.  Nominations for my successor may be made in advance via email (chairman@obrag.org.uk) or at the meeting and will be subject to election there, along with the remainder of the committee. If there are no volunteers to take on this role, OBRAG will discontinue.

Patrick O’Sullivan from the East-West Rail Consortium has agreed to come and update us on the progress of and prospects for EWR.

We hope to have someone from Chiltern present, to respond to questions regarding the ‘bustitution’.

All welcome!