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East West rail, Bletchley to oxford line


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Theirs been alot of activaty recently on the bletchley section.

Its nice to see and hear locos running at the end of my back garden.

 

Shame its just GM locos now..

Edited by porkie
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It'll be interesting to see the results of this weeks Engineering Works at Bletchley Station. Bletchley Power Box is supposedly shutting this week, I remember I paid a visit or two when it was first commissioned in 1965.

 

Hopefully the Oxford Branch will re-open as double track with a new station at Winslow.

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Not sure why, but where the line goes over a bridge into newton longville.

Their is a fence going across the track.

The Oxford Branch is now truncated at that point; I don't think the recent track renewals is on the same alignment as the original track. When they start on reinstating the Oxford Branch I would think it will be double track, so it will all need relaying  / realigning again.

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The section is single line behind my house, then splits to double track for the flyover.

 

Has it always been single track?

The last proper train i remember on it was an ARC stone train from wolverton.

Being hauled by a class56.

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I travelled on the line before it closed and I'm pretty sure it was all double track from Oxford to Cambridge. Wikipaedia confirms this for Oxford to Bletchley "During 1982 the entire length of the Bletchley-Oxford section, which was still double-tracked throughout, was used for diversionary passenger services while a bridge at Hill Wooton, between Coventry and Leamington Spa was replaced"

 

Although the line closed to regular passenger services in 1967 (with Oxford to Bicester reopening twenty years later) It was used for freight until it was "mothballed" in 1989. In the 1960s it was a fairly slow line operated with rather unpleasant two car DMUs and a lot of passengers between Oxford and Cambridge preferred to travel via London.

It seems slightly odd that the 1967 closure coincided with the start of Milton Keynes' planned development as a new city*  which should have made a line connecting the three cities far more viable. I think though that the general Whitehall view back then was railways were an outmoded form of transport that didn't really have much of a future once the motorway network had been built.

 

*( Despite its quarter million population Milton Keynes still isn't a city but as a town it's a bit odd as it incorporates the established towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford) .

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I travelled on the line before it closed and I'm pretty sure it was all double track from Oxford to Cambridge. Wikipaedia confirms this for Oxford to Bletchley "During 1982 the entire length of the Bletchley-Oxford section, which was still double-tracked throughout.

 

The section from Bedford to Sandy was always single.

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The section is single line behind my house, then splits to double track for the flyover.

 

Roughly at that point there used to be a Signal Box called "Fletton Sidings" which controlled the junction to the Flyover and Bletchley Station Line. Also in the early sixties it controlled the exit from the Fletton Brickyards and also the exit from the "Chord Line" which was a link from the down fast to the Oxford Branch. This chord was used on daily basis for a short brick train that ran from Bletchley Yard to Lambs Siding (Lambs Brickworks) it then used to shunt before making it's way via the Chord Line to Newton Longville (London Brickworks) and then onto Swanbourne Sidings a couple of miles to the west. Incidentally the London Brickwork Sidings were located between Selbourne Avenue and the current end of line at the Newton Road Bridge.

Edited by Pannier Tank
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Never realised the track layout was that busy.

Was the flyover built after the old carrage sheds were knocked down

 

The signal for the flyover is two doors up from me.

Will have to try and get out to the old football club as their is a nice walk way that follows the track upto the flyover.

Edited by porkie
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Pages 8 and 9 of December 2012's Modern Railways has an article on the proposed works on the Oxford-Bletchley-Bedford line, which goes under the name of 'East- West Rail- Stage 1'.

In short:-

The entire route is to be relaid, eventually as a double-track railway.

New stations at Winslow and Newton Longville, and Water Eaton Parkway.

A new chord is being built between the Oxford- Bletchley line, at Bicester Town, and the Chiltern line, allowing through working to Marylebone. This latter is being sponsored by Chiltern Trains, and goes under the name of 'Evergreen 3'(the previous Evergreens have been the redoubling works on the Chiltern line itself).

Ultimately, though it is not mentioned in this article, the aim is to electrify the line throughout, allowing electrically-hauled freights to run from Southampton to the WCML and Midland mainline.

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I renewed the point between the Bedford - Bletchley and Flyover line a few weeks back. The trapping arrangements changed slightly coming off the flyover.

Elsewhere in the same magazine, there is mention of 'capability for extending Bedford- Bletchley services to Milton Keynes'; would this have been in conjunction with that? Edited by Fat Controller
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This rebuilding is going to revitalise Nth Bucks ,the link fom Aylesbury to MK will really help employment and add journey,s on the WCML for Virgin .Also the continuation to the MML will open up new opportunities for leisure travel ,but I hope the units used to Bedford are more reliable than those used now .The real shame is that this could have been up and running some years ago if all the studies had been actualy acted on instead of being shunted into a dead end siding.Still its all happenning now and we have a new era to look forward to ,I think our local bus company will lose many passengers to MK but, that will be no loss,give me a train any day,roll on opening day!

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Elsewhere in the same magazine, there is mention of 'capability for extending Bedford- Bletchley services to Milton Keynes'; would this have been in conjunction with that?

I'm not sure if there will be an integration of the two services (Aylesbury - MK and Bletchley - Bedford) at some time in the future to create through trains from Aylesbury to Bedford or whether the Bedford trains will effectively be kept separate with either connection at Bletchley or some through working to Aylesbury.  Running Aylesbury - Bedford via MK is going to produce both an extended journey time and won't do much for set utilisation either so I think the two routes will remain fairly discrete, especially with the need to reverse at Bletchley for an MK - Bedford train (and vice versa).

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I'm not sure if there will be an integration of the two services (Aylesbury - MK and Bletchley - Bedford) at some time in the future to create through trains from Aylesbury to Bedford or whether the Bedford trains will effectively be kept separate with either connection at Bletchley or some through working to Aylesbury.  Running Aylesbury - Bedford via MK is going to produce both an extended journey time and won't do much for set utilisation either so I think the two routes will remain fairly discrete, especially with the need to reverse at Bletchley for an MK - Bedford train (and vice versa).

I wonder if there are thoughts of a 'Bletchley High Level', either on the viaduct itself, or on its approaches?
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Guest 838rapid

WoW,

 

I used to work as a Guard over this route many moons ago,All them traincrew operated level crossings..

 

Memory serves we even took ARC 59's to Wolverton for a  while..

 

Used to take it in turns as who went to get Buns from bakery whilst train was unloaded...

 

History..

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*( Despite its quarter million population Milton Keynes still isn't a city but as a town it's a bit odd as it incorporates the established towns of Bletchley, Wolverton and Stony Stratford)

and also Woburn Sands & Newport Pagnell!

I've now learned that it's entirely up to a civil parish whether to be a village or a town though a town can include several parishes some of which may in turn have decided to be towns. To be a city though you need a royal charter and Milton Keynes didn't get one last time it applied in 2011.  I don't think it makes much difference administratively.

On the other hand the citizens of Kidlington, which is due to be served by the Water Eaton Parkway station on this line, have despite a 17 000 population which is larger than several English cities, decided to remain Britain's largest village.

There is a Milton Keynes village in the town of Milton Keynes which proudly maintains its separate identity as a village with its own cricket team etc. 

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Guest 838rapid

So they didn't scrap all them train's then..

 

Single ended too I notice,

 

That must have improved reliability and cured the issues. :scratchhead:  :scratchhead:

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