MP’S INTERVENTION ENSURES REDOUBLING OF COTSWOLD LINE STILL POSSIBLE
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MP’S INTERVENTION ENSURES REDOUBLING OF COTSWOLD LINE STILL POSSIBLE

The rail minister, Stephen Hammond, has acted to make sure that the planned remodelling and resignalling of Oxford station does not prevent future redoubling of the Cotswold Line. His decision came in a letter this week and follows a meeting with the Mid Worcesershire MP, Sir Peter Luff, last month.

At the meeting, Sir Peter explained how badly linked Worcestershire was to London by rail. He compared the service with the line to Norwich, which serves an almost identical population but has twice as many trains, all of them faster than the line through Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire to London. Sir Peter then explained his concern that the improvement work due to begin shortly at Oxford Station would mean that future redoubling work on the Cotswold Line would be ruled out for good.

In a letter to Sir Peter after the meeting, Stephen Hammond said,

“You concluded by asking for confirmation that the improvements to Oxford station and surrounding network currently under consideration by Network Rail with support from a number of stakeholders would not inhibit further redoubling of the Cotswold Line, in particular the section between Wolvercote Junction and Charlbury. Officials have informed me that these improvements if undertaken, would not inhibit further redoubling of the Cotswold Line, but equally would not make active provision for it.”

Commenting on the letter Sir Peter said,

“Worcestershire is very poorly served by train services to London. The Local Enterprise Partnership has recently highlighted its view that the full redoubling of the rest of the North Cotswold line would make a huge difference to businesses and residents in the county.

“So I am disappointed that there is no early prospect of redoubling further sections of the Cotswold Line.

“Although the letter that I received from Stephen Hammond falls short of my hope that we might get a pledge to redouble the line itself, it does guarantee that future redoubling will, after all, be possible after the work at Oxford is completed.

“This is a step forward and tells us that our aspiration for full redoubling remains alive, which is welcome news.”

ENDS


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