ELECTRIFICATION OF LINE TO OXFORD MUSTN’T MEAN WORCESTERSHIRE PASSENGERS BEING FORCED TO CHANGE
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ELECTRIFICATION OF LINE TO OXFORD MUSTN’T MEAN WORCESTERSHIRE PASSENGERS BEING FORCED TO CHANGE

The statement to the House last week by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond on plans to extend the electrification of the Great Western Main Line should be good news for Worcestershire, but only if passengers aren’t forced to change trains at Oxford.
That’s the view of Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff who is seeking reassurances that the new electric/diesel “bi-mode” trains to update the ageing diesel Intercity 125s, announced by Mr Hammond, will serve Worcestershire.

Last year it was announced that over the next six years Network Rail will electrify the commuter services on the Great Western Main Line from London to Didcot, Oxford and Newbury. In the recent statement Philip Hammond confirmed that preferred bidder for the trains themselves, Agility Trains, has proposed a mixed fleet: some all electric trains, and some with a combination of electric and diesel power, allowing them to operate through services beyond the electrified sections of the railway.

Peter explained,

“This week’s statement had more good news for Wales and the South West with an extension of the electrification westwards to Bristol and Cardiff and the promise of bi-mode trains running from Cardiff to Swansea. These trains will switch from electric power to diesel power for sections of track which are not electrified.

“If electrification from Cardiff to Swansea can’t be justified yet, I realise that it is highly unlikely that Worcestershire will see the electrification of the track from Oxford to Worcester. But the promised of bi-mode trains in the South West must also be introduced on the line from Oxford to Worcester.

“With the scrapping of the Intercity 125s trains there is a real risk that Worcestershire will then be served only by inadequate, small and noisy diesel multiple-unit trains, and with a change at Oxford. That would undo all the good of redoubling the line and be a real blow to the county’s economy.

“That’s why I’m writing to the Transport Secretary and to the Managing Director of First Great Western to seek reassurance that bi-mode trains will run on the Oxford to Worcester line.”

ENDS


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