The Anonymous Widower

Passing Didcot Power Station

On the way back from Oxford, I passed Didcot Power station.

The chimney is very distinctive and there are now only three cooling towers, whereas for a long time there were six.

I’ve never visited the site, but a roommate at Liverpool University; Martin Sykes worked on the building before going to university.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Oxford Station And Chiltern Trains

In a couple of years Chiltern Trains will go between London Marylebone and Oxford stations around the Bicester Chord. Wikipedia says this about how Oxford station will be expanded to accept the extra services.

The scheme also includes two new platforms at Oxford station, to be built on the site of the disused parcels depot. The new platforms would initially be five carriages in length, but provision will be made for them to be extended southwards to eight carriages.

These pictures show the Parcels Office.

I would suspect that any southward extension would use the car park.The Parcels Office is clearly shown in this Google Earth image of the station.

Oxford Station

Oxford Station

Note the two coach train in Platform 3, by the Parcels Office, with the white flat roof on the northern end of the station.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Oxford Station

Oxford station shares a lot of similarities and problems with the station at Cambridge.

Both were badly designed when they were built and although Cambridge now has new platforms and a lot of rebuilding, Oxford is still in need of expansion.

These pictures show the current station at Oxford.

Oxford though has one problem that is nowhere near as bad at Cambridge; freight trains.

All of the issues at Oxford are set out in this document on the City of Oxford web site. It pays particular attention to the following.

1. East West Rail Link

2. Noise and Vibration in the area.

3. Freight Lengthening Project that will allow longer freight trains to go through the station, which has been completed.

4. Electrification

It doesn’t deal with new platforms at Oxford station for both Chiltern Railways and First Great Western.

The work for Chiltern Railways is shown in this post, whereas that for FGW is probabably more extensive and is described in this section in Wikipedia.

Oxford station will be a very different and busier station in the next few years.



March 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Walk From Oxford Station

At Oxford station, I took a walk in a loop by the water and then along the railway, before crossing it on a bridge and returning along the Oxford Canal to the station.

It is a good walk, but it does need a few maps and fingerposts. This Google Earth image shows where I walked.

North Of Oxford Station

North Of Oxford Station

Note the bridge at the top and the station at the bottom.

I only took about an hour to do the walk and my main aim was to investigate the railway north of Oxford station, but Oxford station would certainly be a good place to start a walk either into the city or along the Thames or the Oxford Canal.

One thing that the walk showed me, was how much railway land there is in the area and with all the developments in services to the station, I’m sure it will be put to good use.

In some of the pictures you can see the Castle Mill development, which was nominated for the 2013 Carbuncle Cup.

From the railway side it looks fine, but I suspect from the river it grates in some peoples’ minds.

There is a noise debate rumbling on about the railway, which hopefully electrification will kill. But there will still be quite a few Class 66 hauled freight trains going through.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Works Around Reading

There is still a lot of work going on at Reading.

The main work, which is the viaduct is now substantially complete except possibly fdor electrification. But this is going on all round the area, between Slough and Didcot.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

A Welcome For First Great Western’s Franchise Extension

First Great Western’s franchise extension with all its new trains has been welcomed in the heart of Wiltshire according to this report in the Wiltshire Times, which is entitled TransWilts rail campaigners welcome First Great Western franchise extension.

The TransWilts is a community rail line, that I rode last year in a very clean Class 153 single-carriage train. This is a key paragraph in the Wiltshire Times report.

Following the franchise extension announcement, First Great Western confirmed that the TransWilts service will continue to run beyond the end of the three-year trial in 2016, with single carriage trains expected to be doubled to two carriages from May 2017.

In a few years time, it looks like this vital rail link will be getting near to a adequate service acoss Wiltshire.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

From Coventry To Nuneaton

The Coventry To Nuneaton Line is in the process of being upgraded, as this paragraph from Wikipedia details.

The line runs near to the Ricoh Arena football stadium on the northern edge of Coventry. Funding for two new stations, Coventry Arena and Bermuda Park, was approved in December 2011. New plans will also see the number of carriages increased from 1 to 3 and the service upgraded to half hourly, a new platform built at Coventry station and also future extensions of the line to Kenilworth and Leamington Spa.

After coffee with an old friend in Coventry, I decided to hop to Nuneaton using this line , from where I could get a train back to London.

The pictures show the character of the route and some of the building work at the new Coventry Arena station. I caught a glimpse of work at Bermuda Park station, but was unable to get a picture.

There is a third station being built in the area and that is Kenilworth station on the related Coventry to Leamington Line.

I think that the ambitious team that run Chiltern Railways will be looking to at least get a feeder service running from Nuneaton to Leamington, via Coventry and Kenilworth.

If HS2 goes ahead and Euston station is rebuilt, this could be an invaluable route to take pressure off the West Coast Main Line

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Threading The Midland Metro Through Birmingham City Centre

I’ve been wanting to take this set of pictures for some time.

So on my way to Coventry, I took the train to Birmingham Snow Hill station and then followed the Midland Metro construction back to Birmingham New Street station.

According to Wikipedia, the Line One Extension of the Midland Metro, should connect Snow Hill and New Street stations in 2015. This may still happen, but to my untrained eye, there seems to be a lot of work to be done.

But when completed, it will be an invaluable asset to the City of Birmingham.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Good Progress At The Bicester Chord

I went past the Bicester Chord today on my way to Birmingham and Coventry and some progress has seemed to have been made since I last did this in November last year.

The start of services is supposed to be in September 2015, when Chiltern Trains will reach Oxford Parkway station.

For more about this chord and the stations being built in the area; Bicester Town, Islip and Oxford Parkway, there is a lot of information at the Oxford to Bicester Collaboration web site.

Every project and especially major ones, should have a web site as good as this one.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Graham Miller Doesn’t Exist Any More

Yesterday, I got a letter from the Inland Revenue and it used the name I have on my passport, which I’ve used since I met my late wife in 1967.

As Hackney Council have also finally got round to changing my name on the Electoral Roll, the only place that Graham Miller exists now is with junk mailers and cold callers, who bought it off a list from an old Electoral Roll.

So I can now bin all mail addressed to Graham and be rude or humorous to cold callers who ask for Graham, in addition to those who ask to speak to Mrs. Miller.

Incidentally, it should be a criminal offence to ask for someone who has died in a cold call.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | World | | 2 Comments


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