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1  Journey by Journey / Chiltern Railways services / Re: Chiltern Mainline: Nice & Fast! on: September 06, 2011, 08:14:25 pm
You're so right. Trying to rebut your one-eyed, distorted view of things is utterly pointless, since you are so obviously right and all the rest of us are just so wrong. I've nothing more to say except goodbye.
2  Journey by Journey / Chiltern Railways services / Re: Chiltern Mainline: Nice & Fast! on: September 06, 2011, 01:37:09 am
Ah, welcome to the parallel universe, where late trains each way equals a triumph, where signal testing over-running by two days, even after this phase was postponed earlier in the year due to a fear of over-running, is "an intense and nail biting set of engineering works", where things going wrong are the fault of the contractors and nothing to do with the company that hired them, a whole new station appears (maybe that's why it's the "new station for Oxford"?) - I take it you were trying to type Haddenham & Thame but were clearly over-excited - passengers get over-carried due to lack of timely information on the day of a major timetable change, tired (how, after all that extra time in bed?) commuters literally skipped down the platform (oh come off it) and my personal favourite
business zone - a great initiative by Chiltern that threatens to derail the entire First Class system
- if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Chiltern are a train operator - a good one - but not the answer to life, the universe and everything. And not all their passengers are happy with the new timetable, but then they use intermediate stations and don't all want to go to London, so who cares what they think?
3  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 06, 2011, 12:50:33 am
Of course you can push up regulated fares above the headline average, thanks to the flexing mechanism, so long as you average out increases within a TOC (Train Operating Company) across a basket of regulated fares.

And it has happened before on the Cotswold Line, three or four years ago, when peak day returns into Oxford went up by 10 to 11 per cent, eg Moreton-in-Marsh Oxford from ^9.90 to ^11, in a year when the average rise was about 6 per cent.

And now, with Haddingham and Thame parkway being branded as "Oxford's New Station", with 41 minutes journey time and 30% cheaper fares, frustrated commuters may desert the Cotswold line in unprecedented numbers.

Your fantasies become ever more fantastic. What on earth has a parkway station 15 miles east of Oxford (and which would more logically be branded the new station for Aylesbury) got to do with the Cotswold Line? Astonishingly, there are people who do not see a long drive in a car, with the attendant issues of congestion and pollution, to be a necessary prelude to making a train journey.
4  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Deltic via Cotswold Line to Weymouth on: September 04, 2011, 06:37:26 pm
Picture of 55022 kicking up the dust at Charlbury at

The charter managed Wolvercote Junction to Worcester Shrub Hill in 56 minutes with twelve fully laiden carriages.  Not bad at all.  An example of what kind of journey time could now be offered between Oxford and Worcester with a limited stop train not needing to mess around with tokens.

Or perhaps just an illustration of the potential to improve journey times across the board, in line with the CLPG» (Cotswold Line Promotion Group - about)'s goal of getting a standard two-hour London-Worcester journey time - including all the usual stops - though that will never be enough for some people.
5  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 04, 2011, 06:26:43 pm
The stuff about Islip and Hanborough is meant to be a joke, isn't it? As for stress-free driving around Oxford in the rush hours, words fail me.

Final few stragglers pictorially of trains using the double track between Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham now online at which I think pretty much wraps up what I set out to achieve in terms of a pictorial record back at the start of 2009. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Update: Peter Tandy has got pictures of the first Class 67 ever to reach Long Marston here on what was the first train to use the branch since redoubling.
6  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 04, 2011, 01:20:42 am
As I've said on another piece the logical thing would be to re-open the line to Thame. But that merely reinstates the original line to Oxford before the line from Didcot was built way back when - but to my mind better than going via Bicester.

What's logical about rebuilding - at colossal expense - a largely single-track line where the route has been breached by the A40 dual-carriageway, built over in Wheatley and where Horspath tunnel is now a designated bat sanctuary, among other minor obstacles? Chiltern took a look and decided not to bother. And it wasn't the original line to Oxford. The route was only extended from Thame to Oxford in the 1860s. The line from Didcot to Oxford opened in 1844.

run some trains without stops at Pershore, Honeybourne and Handborough (and Reading for that matter as they get plenty of trains)

Yes, you and btline keep saying it, but you never, ever say what the people who use those stations should do instead, do you? Get in their cars and drive to the Chiltern Line, I suppose. I pointed out above what the eastbound morning peak services from those stations would look like - ie near-useless - if btline's approach were adopted but he just ignored it - as usual. And yes, let's miss out Reading as well while we're at it, despite it being an increasingly important employment centre and one of the country's main interchange stations.

Some people have even been forced to move house, uprooting their families, just to live near a different line

So now we've moved on from 'First Great Western, the railway company that hates Worcester' to 'First Great Western, the railway company that hates Worcester and ruins families' lives'...
7  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 03, 2011, 07:51:53 pm
Thank goodness Chiltern have seen the light

Chiltern haven't seen any light, they serve a completely different area from the Cotswold Line, with far larger towns spread all along their route, and link the two biggest cities in England, so are able to offer a completely different spread of services to cover all the communities they serve - including, er, villages, like Kings Sutton, Lapworth, Seer Green...
8  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 03, 2011, 10:57:44 am
Despite many rumblings about Pershore and Hanborough, all that has happened on the Cotswold Line is Charlbury gaining a couple of extra spaces when lines were painted and the car park given a proper surface, i.e. ensuring that people parked sensibly.  There's talk of the former allotment area being used as an overflow car park now that the redoubling team have finished with it.  Anyone have any updates on that?

It was an awful lot more than a couple of spaces actually - also at Kingham - since without markings people tend to give their cars very generous amounts of space. A bid went in during the spring for money from the station enhancements fund to turn the Charlbury site compound on the allotments into permanent parking. A decision is thought to be imminent.

At Pershore efforts to achieve improvements have been frustrated for years because of the piecemeal way former railway land was disposed of around the station. A land swap with one of the adjacent businesses has pretty much been finalised now, which will create a rather more logical parcel of land for station parking and allow extra spaces. Honeybourne has just gained half-a-dozen as a result of the footbridge work and remarking.

your point about Ascott is farcical

In what way? The station is right next to the village. Given a proper service, not just one a day each way, more people would use trains. Amazingly enough that's what has happened at Pershore, Hanborough and Honeybourne since more trains started to use them. In the early 1970s the first two both had one train a day each way, like the halts, while Honeybourne was closed at that time.

What is farcical about giving people the ability to leave their car at home, never mind at a station? I do not believe that surrounding stations with ever-bigger car parks is necessarily a good thing. It creates congestion and pollution - just ask anyone living near Bicester North.

Oh I swear one day I'll get a bulldozer and flatten them myself!!!

Are you sure you'll be able to find them? You didn't understand the geography of the area around Combe and Finstock or Ascott and Shipton when raging against them, you didn't know that Shipton doesn't have a car park. You used to advocate withdrawing stops at Charlbury, the busiest intermediate station on the line (on current evidence, the only thing you have ever changed your mind about).
I'm glad you finally acknowledge demand at the West of the line! People have deserted the line in droves. I'm sure the tiny car parks at pershore and hanborough would be full whatever so using the "Evesham traffic chaos" argument is silly.

I have never disputed there is demand at the western end of the line - I know there is demand because there are lots of people on trains arriving at Moreton-in-Marsh from Honeybourne and leaving in the other direction - some of them may even live in Worcester. What I have disputed and will continue to do are:
a. The number of people who actually drive all the way to Warwick and Birmingham International (risking delays on the M5/M42/M40) because of the sheer awfulness of the Cotswold Line service.
b. That there is sufficient demand in Worcester to justify the cost of running super-express services for one of the smallest cities in the country. It is too far away for regular commuting to London, and small cities mean fewer people who need to travel.

Would the car parks at Pershore, Honeybourne and Hanborough be full if their service towards Oxford and London in the morning peaks was reduced to the following (based on September 12 timetable)? The car park at Evesham is full, so is not any kind of alternative for people in the Vale.

Pershore: 05.45, 07.05 (halts train to Oxford only)
Honeybourne: 05.35. 07.19 (assuming a call by the halts train were reinstated to make up for the lost London trains)
Hanborough: 6.16, 6.38 (actually the car park is so small it is full after these first two trains but oddly enough some people don't want to set off quite so early), 8.01 (halts)

9  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 03, 2011, 01:18:18 am
The supplement is in the Oxford Mail and Worcester News today. Also available at the railway area (Network Rail, FGW (First Great Western) and CLPG» (Cotswold Line Promotion Group - about) stands are all together) at Moreton-in-Marsh show today - while stocks last. Will be available online at the Oxford Mail website in the next few days.

Glad to see that - finally - someone agrees that some of the halts should be axed!

Actually, I think you'll find that over the past few years, a number of people have said here that certain halts should close. Redoubling at the eastern end would inevitably put the issue on the agenda at Combe and Finstock due to the costs that would be involved in providing new platforms.

And yet again, you ignore what I have had to say previously when you go off on one about Shipton and Ascott-under-Wychwood's proximity. They may be close but the stations serve separate communities, which is why the Oxford Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway opened two stations in the first place! And people in both places would like the number of trains calling to go up. What's wrong with that? Oh, silly me, I forgot. They don't live in the most important city in the universe...

Increase the size of Shipton car park

There is no car park at Shipton station.

As usual, you tell us there is untapped demand in Worcestershire, then immediately advocate removing peak calls at Honeybourne and Pershore, returning us to the situation pre-2006 when people from all over the Vale used to besiege Evesham to catch the morning expresses, despite the inadequacy of the parking facilities there, a situation which hasn't changed. Removing Pershore and Honeybourne peak calls is guaranteed to put people off using Cotswold Line trains.

Anyway, why are you bothered, since you will clearly be hitting the road to Warwickshire to use your favourite railway company's new improved service?
10  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 02, 2011, 12:02:04 pm
Ah, Templecombe revisited. Always a joy sitting just outside the station on the double track from Yeovil waiting for a late-running train from Gillingham to turn up, then stop in the station before you can go anywhere. Cheap, but deeply unpopular with passengers who want to get off there.

The problem with the re-doubling is that it has left 2 frequently used stations on single lines, Pershore & Hanborough. This significantly adds to the time the single line sections are occupied.

Well, we all know the answer to that one, don't we, since they are both small, insignificant 'village' stations...

If they were actually trying to ram four trains an hour through the single-line sections, it might be significant, but they aren't.
11  All across the Great Western territory / The Wider Picture - related rail and other transport issues / Re: B'ham New Street announcments the WORST in Britain on: September 02, 2011, 01:14:12 am
all this is "according to the poll by ear treatment brand Cerumol"....
12  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Moreton-in-Marsh Show on: September 02, 2011, 01:10:08 am
Deltic-spotting is out of the window due to the special train now working the other way up the line in the evening.

For more on discounted show entry for rail ticket holders and special stops (and fares) at Ascott-under-Wychwood for people going to the show, see
13  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Hereford to Portsmouth Harbour - Booking - see web site on: September 02, 2011, 01:07:10 am
In case anyone is joining this train at Moreton-in-Marsh and would normally come into town on the A429 Fosseway from the north, they will need time for a detour to reach the station, as the A429 will be closed to all traffic for resurfacing on September 10-11 around Budgens, the Basford Road junction and the railway bridge.

See for assorted updated information.
14  All across the Great Western territory / Diary - what's happening when? / Re: Deltic via Cotswold Line to Weymouth on: September 02, 2011, 01:03:46 am
Yes, operating reasons apparently led to the change. It's now due into Shrub Hill at 19.55, so looks like an Oxford departure time following shortly after the 18.21 HST (High Speed Train) to Foregate Street. Weather forecast looks okay, so should still be a chance for photography.
15  Journey by Journey / London to the Cotswolds / Re: Cotswold Line redoubling: 2008 - 2011 on: September 02, 2011, 12:56:02 am
A short stretch between Honeybourne and M-I-M would be less of a problem (if no trains pass there then it is pointless being double apart from major disruption)

Since when have 10 miles of a 50-mile route been a "short stretch"? It's almost as long as the old double-track Moreton-Ascott section, which wasn't in the least bit a "dynamic" loop, since trains were booked to meet at either end of it for many years. The sheer length of the Moreton-Evesham single-track section was a major cause of major disruption in the past the instant any train missed a booked meet at either end. Lopping five miles off wouldn't have changed that fundamental problem.

Just because the timetable says such and such should happen, with trains meeting at point x, is irrelevant once there is disruption and you are trying to recover from it but are hobbled by single track. And if someone wants the timetable rewritten in the future, requiring trains to pass at, say, Chipping Campden tunnel, what would you do then, in the absence of double track under the btline masterplan?

But then I was forgetting that you have always known far better than the people at Network Rail who tested all the scenarios, drew up the redoubling plan and implemented it.

Bleeder4, I suspect that answering your question would get into the tricky area about promotion of commercial products.
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