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Oxford Station Upgrade


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I see that a scheme to rebuild Oxford station has recently been given approval and funding from the DfT.

 

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/news/boost-to-oxford-rail-travel-following-69m-funding-confirmation/

 

The publicity images feature OLE gantries - which suggests that electrification may also be included - though given the train looks more like a Nottingham tram it may be unwise to use the image as an acurate one.

 

 

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It would make sense to put in the support structures for OLE even if electrification does not take place for a few years. 

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They started the OLE work to Oxford as part of the GWML scheme. Mast bases were in from Didcot as far north as Nuneham viaduct at least, and of course all of the bridges and structures had been raised in preparation.

 

It would be a relatively quick win to wire to Oxford (and the sidings) - the semi-fasts and stoppers could then be 387s , with possibly 769s for the Banbury jobs, and IEPs run on electric to Oxford with only the Cotswalds trains needing to be diesel otherwise.

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The substation at Radley has already been built, and I think the excuse for not doing Oxford was the rebuild/ upgrade, so electrification should follow in due course.

 

Whether it will though, that's the question...

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4 hours ago, Supaned said:

They started the OLE work to Oxford as part of the GWML scheme. Mast bases were in from Didcot as far north as Nuneham viaduct at least, and of course all of the bridges and structures had been raised in preparation.

 

It would be a relatively quick win to wire to Oxford (and the sidings) - the semi-fasts and stoppers could then be 387s , with possibly 769s for the Banbury jobs, and IEPs run on electric to Oxford with only the Cotswalds trains needing to be diesel otherwise.

 

3 hours ago, Zomboid said:

The substation at Radley has already been built, and I think the excuse for not doing Oxford was the rebuild/ upgrade, so electrification should follow in due course.

 

Whether it will though, that's the question...

 

By the time they get around to it, one or more of the following will be true;

the OHLE specfication will have changed

the already completed works have become damaged/corroded

hydrogen/battery power technology will have improved rendering the requirement for OHLE unnecessary

 

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I assume this means Oxford City Council have finally decided they don’t want to move the station to Oxpens which has been an unfunded on/off debate for several years.

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15 hours ago, Davexoc said:

 

 

By the time they get around to it, one or more of the following will be true;

the OHLE specfication will have changed

the already completed works have become damaged/corroded

hydrogen/battery power technology will have improved rendering the requirement for OHLE unnecessary

 

 

However its worth noting that small schemes do appear to be coming through - Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge, Kettering - Market Harborough and Leeds to Huddersfield.

 

As such Didcot - Oxford could yet manage to get past the 'Bionic Duckweed' brigade at the DfT.

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Another factor in electrifying Didcot to Oxford presumably indicates an eventual electrification of Oxford to Milton Keynes/Bedford/Cambridge i.e., resurrecting the freight electric spine concept.

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17 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

However its worth noting that small schemes do appear to be coming through - Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge, Kettering - Market Harborough and Leeds to Huddersfield.

 

As such Didcot - Oxford could yet manage to get past the 'Bionic Duckweed' brigade at the DfT.

It really should. A lot (all?) of the bridge work has been done and the substation is built. The only real obstacle is Oxford station itself, so if that's going to be dealt with then there's not really a good reason to not do it.

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The wires should go to Banbury at the least  because its a growing town and a railhead for the cotswolds ,Then wires should go from Marylebone to Banbury  with extension to Brum  following quickly thus a major railroute will be established.Perhaps the route to Aylesbury could run with hydrogen powered trains .Allied to all the above of course EWR should also be wired or am I hoping to much.

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5 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

The wires should go to Banbury at the least  because its a growing town and a railhead for the cotswolds ,Then wires should go from Marylebone to Banbury  with extension to Brum  following quickly thus a major railroute will be established.Perhaps the route to Aylesbury could run with hydrogen powered trains .Allied to all the above of course EWR should also be wired or am I hoping to much.

 

Yes you are. With the 'Bionic Duckweed' brigade firmly in charge at the DfT / HM Treasury any electrification in the immediate future is going to have to be small scale in project terms to get past them.

 

Didcot - Oxford is feasible because much of the prep work (aside from Oxford station) is done and no new feeder connections to the National Grid are required. A wider scheme covering Banbury, etc is a different order of magnitude entirely and 'unnecessary' in the eyes of the Government with Hydrogen (aka the latest incarnation of Bionic Duckweed) just round the corner.

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It's a step forward (although the Youth Hostels Association whose relatively new establishment will presumably have to be demolished may not think so), but I won't hold my breath.....

 

I'm intrigued by the reference to the Botley Road bridge, which 'will be replaced and the road lowered to enable standard double-decker buses to pass underneath for the first time'. At one time Oxford had fleets of highbridge and lowbridge buses, and every now and again a highbridge vehicle would attempt to pass under the bridge, with the inevitable result. However, IIRC, the bridge was rebuilt in the early 1980s, and from personal observation there is now no restriction on what buses run along Botley Road, and these vehicles are identical to those used elsewhere. 

 

Personally I still believe a much easier and cheaper solution would have been Up side bay platforms, say three, on the Beckett St car park site immediately south of the Botley Road; I believe there were objections to this by local residents, but given that once electrified, most if not all trains using these platforms would have been electric (Classes 387 and 80x), and in any case a row of buildings could have shielded the platforms from the homes, this could have been overcome, and would have provided the additional capacity needed on the through lines. 

 

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44 minutes ago, caradoc said:

It's a step forward (although the Youth Hostels Association whose relatively new establishment will presumably have to be demolished may not think so), but I won't hold my breath.....

 

I'm intrigued by the reference to the Botley Road bridge, which 'will be replaced and the road lowered to enable standard double-decker buses to pass underneath for the first time'. At one time Oxford had fleets of highbridge and lowbridge buses, and every now and again a highbridge vehicle would attempt to pass under the bridge, with the inevitable result. However, IIRC, the bridge was rebuilt in the early 1980s, and from personal observation there is now no restriction on what buses run along Botley Road, and these vehicles are identical to those used elsewhere. 

 

Personally I still believe a much easier and cheaper solution would have been Up side bay platforms, say three, on the Beckett St car park site immediately south of the Botley Road; I believe there were objections to this by local residents, but given that once electrified, most if not all trains using these platforms would have been electric (Classes 387 and 80x), and in any case a row of buildings could have shielded the platforms from the homes, this could have been overcome, and would have provided the additional capacity needed on the through lines. 

 

There most certainly is still a restriction under the Botley Road bridge.  Oxford Bus Co (successor to City of Oxford) still have high and lowbridge double decks.  The former are all in the 9xx series to identify them.  If it's and Oxford D/D with any other number they can pass that way.  I don't think Stagecoach use double decks that way.

 

According to Streetview the signs show 4.0m / 13' 0" although that appears a little conservative.  I think the lowbridge Oxford double decks are around 13' 5".

 

My thought is how they will arrange drainage under the bridge given how near to river level it is already.  It will be recalled that the lines past Hinksey Yard just to the south were raised substantially only a couple of years ago to overcome the regular flooding of the line there when the Thames breaks its banks.  Perhaps they plan to raise the whole station area as part of the project but that would be a huge undertaking.

Edited by Mike_Walker
Add bridge height
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28 minutes ago, Mike_Walker said:

There most certainly is still a restriction under the Botley Road bridge.  Oxford Bus Co (successor to City of Oxford) still have high and lowbridge double decks.  The former are all in the 9xx series to identify them.  If it's and Oxford D/D with any other number they can pass that way.  I don't think Stagecoach use double decks that way.

The S1 runs down Botley Road, and it's definitely a Stagecoach double deck. There's a couple of other S numbered routes along that way, but I haven't seen them to know.

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39 minutes ago, Mike_Walker said:

Oxford Bus Co (successor to City of Oxford) still have high and lowbridge double decks.  The former are all in the 9xx series to identify them. 

 

Interesting but are you sure that is still the case ? OBC's nos 901-3 are brand new Wrightbus Streetdecks, are these different from earlier Streetdecks in the 37x and 651 etc series ? And OBC 971-8 are Mercedes Sprinters ! 

 

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32 minutes ago, caradoc said:

 

Interesting but are you sure that is still the case ? OBC's nos 901-3 are brand new Wrightbus Streetdecks, are these different from earlier Streetdecks in the 37x and 651 etc series ? And OBC 971-8 are Mercedes Sprinters ! 

 

The Streetdecks are definitely too high for Botley Road and there are other D/Ds in the combined OBC/Thames Travel/ Carousel fleet that are in the 9xx series for the same reason.  I'm having lunch tomorrow with someone who will know exactly how high each type is so I'll ask.

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3 hours ago, Mike_Walker said:

The Streetdecks are definitely too high for Botley Road and there are other D/Ds in the combined OBC/Thames Travel/ Carousel fleet that are in the 9xx series for the same reason.  I'm having lunch tomorrow with someone who will know exactly how high each type is so I'll ask.

Historically any OBC bus numbered in the 9XX series was too high for Oxford Station bridge at 4.46m or in old money 14ft 6in. The current station bridge is approx. 14ft 2in and back in 1999 I was responsible for clearance testing the new Park & Ride Tridents 101-120 to ensure they wold go under safely as they were higher by two inches than the Olympians they were superseding. When the ex. London Titans were also replaced finally in 1999 this eliminated 'high-bridge' type buses from the OBC fleet, however due to operational requirements one or two more 9XX type did creep back in the fleet from sister Go-Ahead subsidiaries Go North East and Brighton which started the 9XX series back up to 922 on and off with the acquisition of Thames Travel and Carousel into the Oxford group. Carouse; vehicles don't normally operate into Oxford but Thames Travel does and the '9XX' numbers have crept up into the 940's.

Whist the hiatus of 9XX buses was prevalent it was decided to number the service vehicle fleet of vans and staff minibuses into the upper 9XX series so as to enable the existing alpha/numeric service vehicle numbers to be absorbed into the new group engineering computer system at the time and this has recently included the PickMeUp minibuses 971-80. The latest Streetdecks were a part diverted order from within the GAG and 901-909 arrived from Newcastle in a part exchange deal with seven of the X90 Plaxton Interdecks 72-78 which had been cascaded from the withdrawn OBC London service. The need for extra capacity on the Abingdon/Dicot services caused by social distancing regulations gave OBC a problem to which an ideal solution was arrived at. An interesting point is that Wright's who built the Streetdecks, didn't have a low height option until 2012 and 351-369 were some of their earliest low height examples.

I worked for COMS/OBC for 41 years up until I retired in 2015 and the Oxford Station bridge has always been a 'thorn in the side' when purchasing suitable new and second-hand buses at quickly to maintain service. We all thought the problem would be solved when the bridge was first raised in 1978 as up until that time we had to purchase ultra low Bristol VR's at 13ft 5in max height and ECW couldn't build a dual door one, only 13ft 8in being their normal height. I could say 'as a tribute to the bridge' I own ex. OBC Leyland Olympian 999 which was the highest number of the 9XX series. Anyway it is good news that the bridge will finally be raised yet again and I hope that I live long enough to see it!

COMS 999 PWL999W Quainton Road May 86 Slide 4709.jpg

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15 hours ago, Ron Ron Ron said:

Oxford_Station_illustrative_masterplan.j

 

 

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That looks as if both Up and Down through platforms will become islands. And the bus stops will be where I suggested bay platforms, which might not please the locals either.....

 

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As a local it wouldn't bother me particularly. It appears that there will be a bridge from the station deck down to the bus stops, and if you're going to the city centre then the station bus stops aren't all that helpful anyway, so access to/from the station is probably most important.

 

Looks like it'll wipe out most of the station car park though, so how/if that'll be replaced is a question. And how road access to the top of Roger Dudman Way will be maintained isn't shown.

 

Assuming of course that is what's planned. The other CGI that I've seen doesn't show a Reading style transfer deck...

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