What is WOT Group?
WOT Group is a voluntary, cross-party, community group set up by West Oxfordshire residents seeking practical solutions to the dire local transport situation. The district is extremely reliant on the already severely congested A40 with up to 32,000 vehicles per day using the route. This situation will be further exacerbated by the more than 10,000 new houses which will be built along the A40 corridor over the next ten years.
WOT Group’s key campaign is focused on restoring a rail link between Oxford, Eynsham, Witney and Carterton. A rail link provides a much faster, cleaner and higher-capacity transport solution than either cars or buses. Oxford would be reachable from Eynsham in 9 minutes, from Witney in 16 and Carterton in 22. These represent savings of more than 70% compared to current bus travel times in peak hours.
Rail usage in the county has increased markedly since 1997. There were 21.7 million entries and exits to Oxfordshire rail stations in 2019-2020, a 197% increase since 1997 and a 26% increase since 2015-16. Witney, Carterton and Eynsham collectively represent one of the largest populations not just in the county, but also in the country, without a rail link. This situation has negative economic, social and environmental impacts on the district. The people of West Oxfordshire deserve better.
On March 5th 2021, we submitted a bid to the Department for Transport’s Restoring Your Railways Ideas Fund for a grant to fund economic, engineering and environmental feasibility studies for restoring this route. We are delighted to have received the encouragement of the Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, who said that the Witney-Oxford rail line “would be ideal for this fund”. We expect to hear back in the summer.
We have also conducted a survey of local residents to seek their views on restoring the railway line. As of March 4th 2021, 97% of the 771 respondents supported exploring the potential of restoring the railway line and 95% stated that they were likely to use it. The survey remains open and if you would like to respond please do so via this link.
The Proposed Rail Route
The old route has a number of issues which means that it would be both very hard and very expensive to reinstate it along the original alignment (see ‘History’ section).
The proposed route follows the A40 very closely. Please see this Google Earth presentation for an overview of an indicative route (please click on the ‘Present’ function on that page on arrival).
We consider that that the locations of both the Eynsham and Witney railway stations to be relatively straightforward (respectively, adjacent to the planned Eynsham Park & Ride and south west of the A40 / A415 junction). However, there are a number of options for the Carterton railway station.
These are our views. We are keen to work collaboratively and constructively with all parties to discuss all aspects of the route.
is a wholly voluntary and not for profit organisation founded in 2013 and a member of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) reg no. 20100.
We were founded with the help of Railfuture and thanks to a small start-up grant from the RSA (then South Central Region). In addition to our founding members, we actively cooperate with other groups such as the Campaign for Better Transport, Sustainable Witney, the CPRE Oxfordshire and Bus Users Oxford.