Train frequency and speed, including freight

I thought it would be useful to affected residents to pass on the details I’ve been given of train movement on the new line :

  • max speed :  100mph passenger, 75mph freight
  • speed through Islip likely lower than this, as within 2m of Oxford Parkway (OPW) station
  • passenger operation :  06.30 – 24.00
  • passenger frequency :  2 trains per hour (tph) until March 2019, then 4tph, in each direction
  • freight frequency :  2 trains per day until March 2019, then up to 1tph.

March 2019 is when EWR Phase 2 (Oxford – Bedford) service is currently anticipated.

I remain sceptical about train speed through Islip being reduced by proximity to OPW. There is considerable financial incentive to shave every second off journey time. (There is no requirement to reduce speed around the bends or through station.)

The above does not represent the final word. Electrification is still intended, and service level afterward remains ‘unknown’. Other operators are free to propose services which use the line  as a link within the wider network.  The capacity of the line is likely around 20tph (in each direction) with current signalling technology, and could perhaps increase further with a “moving-block” system.

Railfuture AGM

Railfuture will be holding their AGM on Saturday 18th April 10.30 at West Oxford Community Centre, Botley Road (5min walk from Oxford station).

Adrian Shooter, former MD of Chiltern Railways, and the instigator of the Evergreen 3 project will be speaking, and perhaps taking a question or two.

Noise abatement

As construction progresses, there is growing concern about the degree of noise along the line and the limited amount of abatement included. Wolvercote residents appear to have won an improvement known as “silent track”, which makes one wonder why this is not to be used elsewhere, such as within Bicester and Islip, and neighbouring Wendlebury, where a riding school is threatened with closure because Network Rail has thus far refused a noise barrier (story here).

Many residents are going to be profoundly affected by noise, including yours truly who lives but 100m away. Remember that your back yard may be next.

Bicester Traffic Action Group

A new group has formed in Bicester, dedicated to improving transport within the town.

Their main focus is the congestion caused by Bicester Village, the London Road crossing (once service on the new line increases) and new development.

OBRAG supports the new TAG, given the difficulty Bicester folk already have in getting to/from Bicester Town Station, never mind the serious deterioration we can expect in the next few years.  There seems to be a complete absence of transport planning, with no effective cross-town cycle paths (existing or planned), no response to the inevitable rise in traffic caused by new development and the blockage that the London Road crossing will become.  It’s not bad planning, more no planning.

BTAG is currently calling for objections to yet another expansion of Bicester Village, until such time as a credible transport plan exists in response.

Personally I’ve had better luck talking to a wall than to Oxford County Council about transport, so I wish ’em luck.