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Upgrading of railway line confirmed.

You may be interested to read the following article appearing in the Witney Gazette

Cotswold upgrade welcomed
9:44am Friday 31st October 2008

By George Hamilton »

A decision to upgrade parts of the Cotswold Line between Oxford and Worcester was welcomed by rail campaigners.

The Office of Rail Regulation issued its final determination document yesterday which outlined how much money Network Rail will have to spend between 2009 and 2014.

The document gave final confirmation Network Rail would be allocated funds to transform just under 20 miles of single track into twin tracks along the Cotswold Line.

Derek Potter, chairman of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, said he hoped the move would improve the ‘patchy’ service from train operator First Great Western He said: “It is good news. What we should get is reliability. If you turn up for a train at 7.05am it should be there at 7.05am, not 7.10am or 7.15am or not at all.”

Under the Network Rail proposals, about five miles of track from just East of Charlbury to Ascott-under-Wychwood and another 15 miles between Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham will have extra tracks fitted.

An 11-mile stretch between Ascott-under-Wychwood and Moreton-in-Marsh already has double tracks.

The section between Wolvercote junction and Charlbury will remain single track.

A First Great Western spokesman said the company felt the move would improve reliability.

Network Rail’s original strategic business plan, which was submitted to ORR, put the cost of the improvements at £51m, with work scheduled to begin next year and be completed by 2010.

In July, the ORR indicated it would back the plan but said it believed the work could be completed for £48m.

A Network Rail spokesman said the organisation would study the ORR document to consider its implications for passengers, freight users and the company as a whole

Posted by Helen Bessemer-Clark, PTR, Charlbury Town Council

Helen Bessemer-Clark · Fri 31 Oct 2008, 13:36 · Link


Worth's to continue their local bus services despite subsidised competition

Richard Worth has announced that he will continue to run the 69 bus service between Chippy, Charlbury and Witney after the subsidised RH service begins on December 15. The popular Banbury 71 services will also continue to run. The new Worth's service will be basically hourly between Charlbury and Witney, with one or two cuts from the present service, and less frequent between Charlbury and Chippy.

It will receive no subsidy from the County Council, but free bus passes will still be valid.

The present service will continue to run as it is until Christmas Eve (last bus back from Witney on Christmas Eve at 5.08). The new service will begin on December 27.

More details at www.evenlodebooks.co.uk

Jon Carpenter · Sat 25 Oct 2008, 11:26 · Link


Railbus - use it or lose it!

Oxfordshire County Council has formally responded to the petition organised through the Charlbury Website to keep the taxibus to Charlbury railway station.

"I am writing to officially acknowledge the petition handed in at the Cabinet Member Decisions (Transport) meeting on 2 October.

"You will be pleased to know that a new four year contract has been awarded to ensure that service C1 continues in operation. I regret that only the four morning peak and four evening peak journeys will continue as the off-peak patronage was so low. However a new demand responsive service will be introduced between 1000 and 1300 from Leafield to Charlbury.

"In addition, a survey of patronage will be undertaken in 2010 to establish if the revised service is being well used and it is possible that further changes may have to be made if there are insufficient passengers using the Railbus. I would therefore be grateful for any assistance you can give to publicise this service so that its future can be guaranteed.

"Yours sincerely
Steve Howell
Head of Transport"

Richard Fairhurst · Thu 23 Oct 2008, 14:45 · Link


More news on the Railbus...

This is copied from the County Council website. It explains a little more exactly what services will run and when.

C1 Charlbury Railbus

Most journeys will be withdrawn. Four journeys will be provided in the morning before 0830 and afternoon after 1700 on Mondays to Fridays to meet the most popular trains. Some of these journeys will serve the Wychwoods (Shipton and Ascott), Leafield, Ramsden and Finstock. The county council is still to decide if some of the journeys can start from Milton-under-Wychwood.

During the middle of the day the Wychwoods will be served by a revised X8 Kingham Railbus.

A new 'on-request' taxibus service (T1) will be available from the villages of Leafield and Ramsden only to Charlbury Station. The taxibus will operate to a fixed timetable but will only run if booked in advance. The regular 69 bus service will serve Finstock at these times (but will not go to the station).

Jon Carpenter · Sun 19 Oct 2008, 19:26 · Link


Bus Services and Taxibus

I was on holiday last week, but I am glad to see that Jon and Richard have kept you up to date with the good news on the Charlbury Bus Services, and in particular, on the Taxibus. However, when County Councillor Sue Haffenden, and District Councillor Mike Breakell, together with Robin McConnachie (PTR Shipton) and myself attended the first part of the County Council Transport Meeting on October 2nd to emphasise our concern that the Railbus should be continued, and to present to them the petition that you had all signed, we, for our part, promised to do all we could to publicise the service, and encourage local residents, in Charlbury and surrounding villages, to USE the RAILBUS whenever possible. Our thanks to everyone for their various letters, e.mails and petition signing, as well as the brave souls who were photographed with the bus for the Oxford Mail. Now, we hope, please, to see the bus full of passengers! Needless to say, the CLPG is doing all it can to liaise on this with the railway.
Helen Bessemer-Clark, Parish Transport Rep. Charlbury.

Helen Bessemer-Clark · Sun 19 Oct 2008, 14:39 · Link


How to recycle your old mobile phone

There are several ways to do this in Charlbury AND raise money for charities at the same time, see how to do this and anything else in the A-Z pages of the CAWAG web site:

www.cwag.org.uk/index.php?page=g-m#mobile-phones

Colin Critch · Fri 17 Oct 2008, 08:17 · Link


Update on changes to bus services

The new bus services coming into operation on 14 December involve improvements to the Witney-Charlbury-Chippy service, which will have late evening services on Fridays and Saturdays and will be operated by RH Transport. The daytime service will run hourly throughout, with a new morning peak journey to Chipping Norton. Worth's have yet to make public any decision on the future of their service 69 which in theory could continue to operate, in full or in part, as a commercial service.

The RH Transport railbus service will continue to operate to and from Charlbury Station in the morning and evening peak rush hour almost exactly as it does now. Between rush hours it will operate by telephone pre-booking, but instead of two journeys as now there will actually be four available. Far from being 'scrapped altogether', as was the fear, the service will provide virtually identical links for commuters to those currently available, with access to Charlbury shops and the station for local residents and people from Leafield and Ramsden.

The Wychwoods can access facilities in Chipping Norton via the revised X8 (meeting a long-standing request) and the Cotswold Line via Kingham Station.

The Charlbury-Oxford Stagecoach service is unchanged and will be operated without subsidy.

More details on these and other changes to local bus services are posted at www.evenlodebooks.co.uk Full timetables resulting from these changes will not be available until mid November.

Jon Carpenter · Thu 16 Oct 2008, 14:18 · Link


Five Ways chef reaches curry final

Jalal Uddin from the Five Ways takeaway reached the final of an Oxfordshire curry competition. According to the Oxford Mail:

"Slicing and dicing, sizzling and stir-frying were the order of the day in a competition aimed at finding Oxfordshire's best curry chef. The contest — the first of its kind —was organised by the Bangladeshi Community of Oxfordshire. Dozens of chefs from across the county sent in their recipe ideas, with eight of the most imaginative invited to take part in a cook-off."

More here: www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/headlines/3752451.Chefs_curry_up_some_surprises/ .

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 14 Oct 2008, 09:23 · Link


Taxibus saved

The Charlbury Railbus will continue to operate when bus timetables change in mid-December.

Changes relevant to Charlbury include:

  • Service 69 (Witney-Charlbury-Chipping Norton) to be renumbered X9 with a new Friday and Saturday evening service and some other minor changes
  • Service C1 (Charlbury Railbus) - peak service continues with minor changes
  • Service T1 (Charlbury Taxibus) - new off-peak 'demand responsive' service linking Leafield and Ramsden with Charlbury

(Editorial note: these details are taken with thanks from the Chipping Norton website; Oxfordshire County Council has not seen fit to send them here, nor even to post them on its own website as it claims it's done. Clearly when you've lost £5m to Icelandic banks then you have to cut corners accordingly...)

Richard Fairhurst · Sat 11 Oct 2008, 23:51 · Link


Results of Saturday's speed survey on the Slade

A Thames Valley Police speed survey on the Slade, in half an hour of Saturday afternoon, found 29 cars travelling at 34mph or over - including five at over 40mph - and 28, less than half, at 33mph or below.

Richard Fairhurst · Tue 7 Oct 2008, 10:44 · Link


Update on Fire at Banbury Hill Farm

Further Malcolm's message, both BBC Oxford and the Oxford Mail have reported on this fire. The Oxford Mail reports:

Firefighters from throughout the county were tonight tackling a blaze at a west Oxfordshire farm.
A wood store containing piles of cut timber caught light at Banbury Hill Farm in Enstone Road, Charlbury, at about 5.35pm. The fire service said the collection of wood covers an area of about 20m by 5m and is 3m high. Crews are expected to be at the scene all night as they prevent the fire from spreading to more timber and farm machinery.

This morning they provided the following update:
Traffic was being diverted in Charlbury, west Oxfordshire this morning as firefighters continued to tackle a blaze at a wood store. The blaze at Banbury Hill Farm started last night shortly after 5.30pm.

Diana Limburg · Thu 2 Oct 2008, 11:45 · Link


Enstone Road closed due to "large fire near a farm"

Tonight the Enstone Rd has been closed to traffic due to a "large fire up by the farm". Exact details were unclear but the impression gained from the service worker was that it was near Banbury Hill Farm, in an area used for wood and other storage, on the "other side of the road." But the exact location would need better confirmation to be relied upon.

Fire engines appear to have been shuttling most of the evening to collect water from a hydrant located by the crossroads with 9 Acres and The Slade. It is probable that engines from more than one station have been involved as at least three with sirens were heard turning up the Enstone Road from The Slade and 9 Acres Rd direction earlier in the evening. With the road now closed to traffic they are running with blue lights but no sirens in what appears to be a water collection shuttle from the hydrant.

No further details are available as it was felt inappropriate to cross examine personnel in the middle of a call out! So only this sketchy and unverified information, briefly gathered while passing on foot. Let's hope no one is hurt in putting out this conflagration!

Malcolm Blackmore · Wed 1 Oct 2008, 22:52 · Link


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