London to the Cotswolds, Worcester and Hereford
Description of line
London Paddington to Reading, Didcot and Oxford then onwards to Hanborough (for Woodstock/Blenheim), Charlbury, Kingham (voted the best village in England in 2006), Moreton in Marsh, Evesham and Worcester. Some services extended further to Great Malvern, Ledbury and Hereford.
The Oxford to Worcester section is characterised by a handful of more major stations, and perhaps half a dozen others known as the "Oxfordshire halts" which have a service as infrequent as 1 a day each way.
A number of these are heritage stations, with the original Brunel buildings and platform furniture, and the line travels through some of the loveliest areas of the Cotswolds. Hanborough, Charlbury, Kingham and Moreton also attract substantial numbers of commuters for Oxford, Reading and London, and many tourists use the line as well.
Infrequent during the day - roughly every 90 minutes, but 4/5 key commuter trains in the morning and 3/4 in the late afternoon/evening.
HSTs and Adelantes for commuter services
Adelantes and Thames Turbo trains for off peak services
btline adds, March 2008: "Although Thames Turbos keep turning up on this route (and will do even after the HSTs take over- the minute an HST to the West breaks down, they'll rob the Cotswold Line first!) Adelantes are rare now (and will be gone soon)."
Morning and evening commuter trains from Hereford/Worcester to London.
This is FGW's Cinderella mainline service. Three sections of single track between Wolvercote junction (just north of Oxford) and Evesham means that trains at either end must stop to let other services on the single track through. This means that the existing frequent delays caused by FGW are exacerbated by the poor infrastructure.
Worn-out Thames Turbo trains end up on this line, and our new Adelante on a key morning service has been transferred to Oxford when theOxrail group successfully campaigned for extra services starting there after the December 2006 timetable debacle. Back to a Thames Turbo for a long distance commuter service - ridiculous!
Trains to London which run too late are often subject to early termination at Reading.
Frequent cancellations of early morning services.
Overcrowding - commuters on recent HST trains have had to stand from Charlbury - that's 1 hour 15 minutes from London - on a ^5000 annual season ticket!
Very expensive tickets.
Departure screens often not working or inaccurate.
Oxford - Worcester - The Greater Western Franchise Outline Business Case Report (Jacobs Consultancy) recommended the closure of Ascott - under - Wychwood , Combe , Finstock & Shipton stations plus reducing the Honeybourne service to peak hours only , but this has not (as yet) been implemented. There are also fears over the cost of providing extra platforms / footbridges to certain stations , should proposals to double the line become reality.