Cherwell Valley Line
|Cherwell Valley Line|
Appleford railway station
South East England
First Great Western
|Rolling stock||Class 43 "High Speed Train"
Class 165 "Turbo"
Class 166 "Turbo Express"
Class 180 "Adelante"
Class 220 "Voyager"
Class 221 "Super Voyager"
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Cherwell Valley Line is the railway line between Didcot and Banbury via Oxford. It links the Great Western Main Line and the south to the Chiltern Main Line and the Midlands. The line follows the River Cherwell for much of its route between Oxford and Banbury.
Current and former stations served
- Banbury, formerly called Banbury Bridge Street
- Kings Sutton
- Former station at Aynho for Deddington
- Former station at Fritwell & Somerton
- Heyford, formerly called Lower Heyford
- Former station for Bletchington, previously called Kirtlington
- Former station at Kidlington previously called Woodstock Road
- Former halt at Wolvercot Platform
- Former halt at Hinksey
- Former halt at Abingdon Road
- Former station at Abingdon Junction
- Culham, formerly called Abingdon Road
- Didcot Parkway, formerly called Didcot
The former station for Bletchingdon was always spelt "Bletchington", which is an alternative spelling for that village's toponym. The former halt at Wolvercote was called "Wolvercot Platform", with a deliberately different spelling of the village's name, to distinguish it from the London and North Western Railway's nearby Wolvercote Halt.
With the exception of the West Coast Main Line, this route is the only route on which domestic UK trains can tilt, something of which Virgin CrossCountry took advantage on trains from the WCML to Reading and beyond, using SuperVoyager trains that can tilt.
CrossCountry's new operator, Arriva, does not run much on the WCML, and considers it not worthwhile to activate the tilt mechanism for the short stretch of the Cherwell Valley line. For this reason many SuperVoyagers have been transferred to Virgin West Coast, who can use their tilting ability on the WCML. The majority of CrossCountry services on the Cherwell Valley line are now worked by standard non-tilting Voyager trains, and any remaining tilting Voyagers have had their tilt function disabled to improve reliability and cut costs.
The line makes three crossings of the River Thames between Oxford and Didcot:
In 1977 the Parliamentary Select Committee on Nationalised Industries recommended considering electrification of more of Britain's rail network, and by 1979 BR presented a range of options to do so by 2000. Some of these options would have included the whole Cherwell Valley line and the Banbury – Birmingham section of what is now the Chiltern Main Line plus the Coventry to Leamington line. The 1979–90 Conservative governments that succeeded the 1976–79 Labour government did not implement the proposal.
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