Upgrade work at Oxford Station this summer

There will be some changes to rail services in the Oxford area this summer as Network Rail upgrade the layout of tracks south of the station. There are also some works to stations, bridge repairs and removal of now defunct signalling equipment.

The works takes place between 22-30 July and is fully explained on the attached leaflet or at www.gwr.com/oxford2017

Detailed train and replacement bus times can be found online at GWR.com. Use the online point to point journey planner, or visit http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/service/pockettimetable/search and create a bespoke timetable.

Status Update

OBRAG held its Annual General Meeting on 24 January 2017. The minutes are posted here. Those attending provisionally agreed on a constitution (posted here), which will be ratified at the annual general meeting in 2018.

In the coming year, we identified the main priority for campaigning as improvement of evening service from London and maintaining or increasing service to Oxford. We will continue to write to Chiltern and to maintain pressure in order to accomplish these objectives. We are happy to coordinate with others who wish to write to Chiltern, and we will let you know when we send letters on behalf of OBRAG, so that you can support us if you wish.

Those attending also agreed that OBRAG would become affiliated with Railfuture, which makes us part of a nation-wide campaign group, advocating for ‘a bigger, better railway that more people choose to use’. This will offer us support and credibility as a part of a national network, as we transition into a rail user group. In order to do this effectively, however, we must be able to support ourselves and to show that we have an identifiable membership. Therefore, we agreed on an annual membership fee of £3 per person (or per couple for married/partnered individuals). The form for joining can be found here. (Please either email to an OBRAG officer or post to: Evershot, Kings Head Lane, Islip, Kidlington, Oxon., OX5 2SA.)

In the past Railfuture has subsidized OBRAG, and they continued to do so this year, covering the cost of renting the village hall for the AGM. We are grateful to them for their past support, and we will be paying them a membership fee in the future, out of the membership fees that we receive.

Other business at the meeting included the election of officers—Scot Peterson, Chair; and Richard Povey, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. 

 

Railcards on the 9:58 from Islip to Oxford

Many thanks to Ian East, who has clarified with Chiltern Railways that the following rail cards are valid on the 9:58 morning service from Islip to Oxford:

·         Family Railcard is valid.

·         Network Railcard is not valid- Chiltern are in touch with the Rail Delivery Group (ATOC) to see if an Easement can be put in place for this card.

·         Senior Railcard is valid- it becomes valid when the Off-Peak Day Return becomes valid.
·         16-25 Railcard is valid, but has a £12 minimum fare on weekdays before 10:00.
·         Two Together Railcard is also valid, as it is after 09:30

OBRAG AGM

 Message from the Co-Chairs:

The OBRAG AGM will be held Tuesday 24th January from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Terrace Room of Islip Village Hall. We have provisional agreement to have a speaker from Network Rail who will be able to explain and answer questions about the new and planned future infrastructure changes at Oxford railway station and their impact upon rail services for Islip, Kidlington and Bicester residents. This will hopefully provide us with some impartial information to use as a springboard for further discussion about how best to campaign for improvements to the current service, in particular the Islip timetable.

The OBRAG coffers are empty, so we will be discussing a membership subscription of £1 per month, to be paid either in one sum or as a standing order (here is a form: Membership application form). This will also make it easier to maintain a membership list, so that we can contact members by email, although meetings will continue to be open and developments and events will continue to be posted on the web site. We will also discuss a draft constitution (Constitution) with a standing committee of three members, a chair, a vice-chair/secretary, and a treasurer. We are happy to fill two places and would appreciate volunteers for a third, the duties for which could be quite minimal.

We anticipate that now that the rail lines and station are complete OBRAG will move in the direction of becoming a rail user group to represent the residents of Bicester, Islip and Kidlington, including affiliation with Railfuture (for more information see http://www.railfuture.org.uk/Welcome+to+Railfuture). Advantages would include access to a common legal fighting fund if OBRAG were ever to need it, being “plugged in” to wider national campaigns to improve the rail system and representation of OBRAG’s particular interests and objectives within these broader campaigns. Affiliation would cost £21/year for the entire organisation. Of course, we will continue to work in close cooperation with Islip Village Council, as well as other stakeholders in Kidlington and Bicester.

The order of business at the AGM will be a brief discussion of the past year’s events, the Network Rail talk, OBRAG campaigning strategy going forward, a brief discussion of the constitution (any changes will be delegated to a committee to report back next year) and election of the standing committee. We will conclude the meeting by 8.30 at the very latest.

We look forward to seeing as many people as possible there.

Richard Povey and Scot Peterson, Co-Chairs