News index


Mummers and Morris added to Thursday's attractions

Attractions in town on Thursday 4 December will now include a mummers' play and the black-faced morris.

This is when the Christmas lights are switched on, the carol singers are out, seven shops are open till 8 and street stalls sell crepes and crafts. And Santa is in his grotto!

There's also a competition in which you can win £35 worth of vouchers to spend in the seven participating shops. Pick up an entry form in any participating shop on the night. It's FREE!

More of an event than ever this year -- not to be missed! It all starts at 6pm in Church Street. And why not book a table at one of the pubs for a meal later in the evening?

Jon Carpenter · Sun 30 Nov 2008, 13:31 · Link


Trains 'seconds from disaster'

5:49pm Monday 24th November 2008
From Oxford Times

Two passenger trains carrying hundreds of passengers missed crashing into each other by just 13 seconds after one of the drivers went through a red light after “losing concentration”.

An emergency brake triggered by the Train Protection Warning System slowed the eight-coach high speed train from Paddington – and it narrowly missed hitting a five-coach service bound from Oxford to London.

A 15-month investigation into the near-miss at the Didcot North junction said the driver — who has been involved in two other incidents — blamed a “loss of concentration” for failing to stop at the red signal just north of Didcot Parkway station.

He is a steam locomotive fan, and said that just before a warning light, he saw a plume of smoke from Didcot Railway Centre and a person dressed in historical costume – although the report said this should not have been a serious distraction.

The 64-page report said the driver of the eight coach 1W47 High Speed Train (HST) from London Paddington to Worcester Shrub Hill had approached signal SB2209 at 4.38pm on Wednesday, August 22, last year.

The RAIB said the driver failed to respond to a yellow signal before signal SB2209, meaning the train was going at 70mph when it should have been slowing down.

The driver then saw the red light too late to brake, but the automatic brake triggered by the speed of the train was applied, the report said.

The train then passed the SB2209 red signal at 53.5mph and carried on for just over 200 metres, stopping 12 metres beyond Didcot North junction — which was passed 13 seconds earlier by the 2P66 five car service from Oxford to London Paddington.

The driver then called the signaller and “acknowledged he had passed signal SB2209 at danger due to his own error,” the report said.

It added: “However, he was unable to give any reason other than a loss of concentration. Signal SB2209 was passed at danger because the driver did not respond correctly to the aspect of the previous signal.”

RAIB officers made nine recommendations including asking First Great Western to review its management of route knowledge and driving policy on approaching signals.

First Great Western said the driver involved was still working for the firm, but on non-driving duties.

When asked if the driver had been disciplined, or would be in the light of the report, a spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual disciplinary procedures, however I would reiterate that the safety of passengers is our highest priority.”

The spokesman said he estimated 200 passengers would have been on train 1W47, while “less than 100” would have been on the 2P66.

The spokesman added an enhanced Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) — an upgraded automatic brake — had now been installed at the junction.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We will respond to the issues arising from this report shortly.”

Philip Haigh, business editor of Rail Magazine and a former train engineer, said: “Passengers should probably be relieved that this sort of thing is extremely rare and also that they are so thoroughly investigated.”

The report said the driver had overrun Charlbury station after misjudging his braking in 2006 and triggered an automatic brake because of excessive speed approaching Moreton-in-Marsh.

l Were you on either train? Call George Hamilton on 01865 425423 ghamilton@oxford

Igor Goldkind · Tue 25 Nov 2008, 10:40 · Link

More attractions for December 4

Charlbury businesses are working together to make the "Lighting Up" evening on December 4 even more exciting. At least 7 shops are staying open till 8 on December 4 and 18, and there will be carol singers, a crepe stall, other entertainment and street stalls, plus whatever the pubs lay on for the evening! So come and enjoy yourselves, join in the carols (meet outside The Bell at 6pm) and stock up for Christmas!

Lady Rotherwick has kindly agreed to turn the lights on at The Bell at 6pm on Thursday December 4.

Here's a simple way to save this Christmas... Seven Charlbury shops are offering the chance to win £70 in vouchers to spend with them (that's £35 on December 4 and again on the 18th): competition entry forms can be collected from any of the shops on the night in question. Entry is free and you don't have to buy anything, but you'll have to spot two clues in each of the shops! So arrive in good time, bring a pen, and brush up on your powers of observation and guesswork!

And let's not forget: Santa will be in his grotto outside The Bell from 6 to 8, thanks to generous support from Fairfax & Co. Bring the little ones along!

Jon Carpenter · Mon 24 Nov 2008, 16:27 · Link

Volunteer family wanted for TV Programme being filmed now in Oxfordshire

Would you like to turn unwanted CLUTTER in your home into HARD CASH for a GOOD CAUSE?


Our team of experts could show you how to turn your JUNK into something USEFUL!

If your family has more useless bits and bobs than you know what to do with then REEF TELEVISION is looking for YOU!

We'll help you recycle, refurbish and repair your clutter, and raise some cash to share between your family and a good cause of your choice.

If you and your family are interested please contact

Katie Hobbs or Will Nichols on 0207 836 8595 or

We're filming now so get in touch ASAP!

Colin Critch · Tue 18 Nov 2008, 08:10 · Link

RH publish their timetable: a longer day and an evening service

RH have just published their timetable here:

When you put the Worth's, RH and Stagecoach timetables together, it looks as if there will be up to 5 buses calling in Church Street between 25 and 28 minutes past most hours during the day (not evenings). And all on one side?

Compared with Worth's, the RH service is costing the County Council 40% less for an improved service. The Worth's 69 service has operated until now with a subsidy of over £100k pa.

Jon Carpenter · Mon 17 Nov 2008, 11:57 · Link

December's Christmas tree display will be a record -- with your help

The number of illuminated Christmas trees in the town centre this year will be about 100, the highest ever. Eleven new homes and businesses have taken brackets for the trees, bringing the total of trees ordered by Charlbury Business Community (CBC) from local grower Geoff Burroughs of Halcyon Farm to 95. The trees and brackets are sold at cost by the CBC as a public service.

The increased display follows a campaign by the CBC to encourage people to "help fill the gaps", particularly where the display is weakest -- as in Church Street, for instance.

The CBC also provides a tree for the museum garden, and the Town Council provides trees on the Corner House.

Distribution of the trees takes place on Saturday November 29, when they will be delivered to 95 premises from a lorry. If you would like to help with the delivery (you'll need a pair of decent gloves, but you don't have to climb anywhere: the trees are left on doorsteps or in gardens) please phone Jon on 819117. Many hands make light work and the end result is widely regarded as a credit to the town.

Jon Carpenter · Tue 11 Nov 2008, 07:52 · Link

Money raised at Street Fair

You will all be pleased to learn that following our final meeting of this year, the Street Fair team were informed that this year's profit broke all records, raising £14,000. This means that we will be able to hand over to the Corner House Management Committee £13,500 which is more than we have ever done before.

In order to continue this upward trend, as before we are always looking for new blood to help us reach this target. Anyone wishing to help with next year's Street Fair, please contact Susie Finch at Look forward to hearing from you all!!

Susie Finch · Tue 11 Nov 2008, 07:03 · Link

British Toilet Association says Spendlove loos are tops

The public toilets at the Co-op, by the Spendlove car park, are the best in West Oxfordshire and among the best in the country - according to the British Toilet Association's Loo of the Year awards!

A West Oxfordshire District Council press release proudly boasts:

"The toilets at the Spendlove Centre car park in Charlbury gained an impressive 5 star excellent rating. The other four that were inspected received a four star rating and they are based at: Chipping Norton Town Hall, Bampton Town Hall, Black Bourton Road car park in Carterton, and Browns Lane in Woodstock.

"They were judged using a checklist of over 100 different criteria for assessing male, female, accessible and baby change facilities. West Oxfordshire District Council will now receive award grading certificates and a plaque for each site.

"All the toilets visited are part of an £800,000 refurbishment programme which started in 2006. They all now have new modern facilities which include self-contained cubicles, gents’ urinals, baby changing and access for those with disabilities to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)."

Rumours that brown signs are to be installed pointing the way to the toilets from the A44 could not be confirmed at the time of going to press.

Richard Fairhurst · Thu 6 Nov 2008, 12:56 · Link

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