Kings Sutton villagers lose their evening train to Banbury after railway axes their early evening train

A King's Sutton man has objected officially to the axeing of a train that gives the village access to Banbury for the evenings.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 4:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 4:36 pm
David Evans, who has asked GWR to reinstate the evening train to Banbury

David Evans of Astropp Road has complained bitterly to Great Western Railway (GWR) about the timetable changes that mean people working in Oxford cannot get directly back to King's Sutton and those wanting to get in to Banbury for the evening are unable to use the train.

The village's bus service ended 18 months ago.

Great Western Railway says the stop has had to be left out to allow a new super-speed service to reach Banbury before another train using the line approaches, affecting its new timetable.

"Prior to the new timetable being issued, information at Kings Sutton station indicated no changes to our services on the Didcot Parkway to Banbury line. However, the 19.20pm weekday service no longer stops at King's Sutton as it always has done in the past," said Mr Evans.

"As a result, passengers using this service must now travel into Banbury and wait 20 minutes to catch another train that arrives at King's Sutton 30 minutes later than before. This is a major inconvenience for passengers travelling from Oxford. Passengers travelling to other stations along this line are not inconvenienced in this way."

"I've timed the length of time the train stops at King's Sutton on another service; just 35 seconds. So, even allowing for slowing down before the stop and the gradual acceleration away, it can only add a minute and a half at most to the journey time. Hardly much of an inconvenience to passengers on the faster service.

"I've checked the new GWR timetable for all the services to Banbury and beyond, coming through Reading and Oxford and there are no time clashes with any of these at the time the 19.20pm stopping service reaches King's Surron. This means that the faster train in question must be coming from London on the Chiltern line. If so, then why can't this stopping service wait a couple of minutes before it reaches the Chiltern line beyond Heyford to let the faster train through? Also, if the Chiltern line train was known to be running late then our train could run through first."

Mr Evans said he had contacted his MP, Andrea Leadsom and the BBC Watchdog programme.

"What I want from GWR is very simple; please restore this service to King's Sutton passengers as soon as possible and please don't wait until May. This matter doesn't require any formal review as it's a straightforward concern relating to an existing service; a concern that should never have arisen in the first place."

John Carter, spokesman for GWR, said: "On December 16 we introduced a new, direct peak-time, SuperFast service between Banbury and London Paddington, using our new Intercity Express Trains, taking 26 minutes off previous journey times.

"To make this long-held aspiration possible, we had to look very closely at the available train paths on this line and make some changes. To protect our performance and not get in the way of any other services our 19.20 from Oxford has to reach Banbury ahead of a Chiltern service and that means we had to make the difficult decision to remove the Kings Sutton call.

"We were able to keep the calls at Heyford and Tackley as they are on a different section of the line where no conflict occurs.

"There is still a ticket easement in place for customers travelling to or from Kings Sutton to circulate via Banbury," he said.

"You can take the 19.20 to Banbury but there is also the 19.39 CrossCountry service to Banbury arriving at 19.56 to connect with our 20.07 back to Kings Sutton, which will make the journey faster."