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Author Topic: Is the service between Oxford and Swindon really practical?  (Read 7071 times)
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2019, 11:07:04 am »

While NR's view of the future from the past might not seem relevant, there is a strong tendency for that to happen, very, very eventually. ...

A good, general, reminder to invest in longer term policy consultations as they help set a framework into which projects slot easily in years to come.

And of course the existence of a plan has other effects - if you ever get into conversation with a Power That Be, and ask about this service, the answer may be "ah yes, that's all planned for" - though if you follow up with "when?", you're likely to find out that's seen as a rather rude word in such circles. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2019, 10:45:00 pm »

Presumably one major problem is line capacity between Didcot and Oxford - just two lines to take all the Oxford "fast" services and stopping services (be they Didcot shuttles or the ones that start at Reading), the North Cotswold line trains, fast and stopping, 2 x Cross Country per hour, freight/containers from the south coast to the Midlands.

Perhaps time to consider 4 lines between the two? It would mean (I imagine) replacing Appleford and Culham stations, but from what I've seen otherwise there seems to be enough room? This would also assist East-West link into the rest of the rail network, and possibly might be included as accommodation works for it?

(Perhaps if they were to take up my suggestion of doing the Eastern section with the Black Cat - Caxton Gibbet section of the A428 dualling they might find some of the cash Wink)!!!
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2019, 11:34:26 am »

Presumably one major problem is line capacity ...

It so much depends on who you talk to, how you measure capacity, how capacity on one element interacts with capacity on another, and how much allowance you have in capacity for events off-plan - i.e. trains delayed and needing to be dealt with somehow.

Network Rail will tell a story. GWR will tell a story that's not necessarily the same. Go-op will give you a story, as no doubt will Grand Union Trains. Freight operators will ave their views, and then it will all to to the ORR to adjudicate.  Then the DfT will instruct franchised TOC(s) to run a particular service anyway, with operational elements not being the only, or even overriding, ones to be considered.

There is - probably - room to run an hourly Swindon to Oxford, and that would be made more robust and also useful were it to reverse at Didcot at first.   The space gets sucked up by super fast paths and by paths needed by the new stone quarry freight operator is some come this way, and by HS2 construction traffic to / from Westbury and Quidhampton.  You can make some savings by joining a Bristol Superfast to a South Wales super fast - 5 cars each - at Bristol Parkway; these paths will be expensive ones not calling at either Swindon or Didcot and if even one can be saved.

Now - up from Didcot to Oxford - I wonder how reliable the timings of services, especially freights and cross countries - are ... and how that looks also with that HS2 traffic mentioned above.   That is, of course, making assumptions about HS2.

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