COTSWOLD Line Rail passengers are being given early warning of changes to train services during work over the next 15 months to reinstate double track on much of the line.

Network Rail’s western route enhancement director Mike Gallop and Cotswold Line redoubling project manager Ross Mahoney outlined the timetable for completion of the £67m project at the Cotswold Line Promotion Group’s recent annual meeting.

There will be a number of line closures and alterations to late-night trains. Replacement bus services will operate during all the closures.

  • Sunday, June 27: Line closed between Oxford and Kingham for track renewal at Ascott-under-Wychwood.
  • July 3-4 and July 11: Line closed between Moreton-in-Marsh, in Gloucestershire, and Worcester for track renewal at Evesham.
  • October 2-3, and October 10: Line closed between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester while a new bridge is fitted at Honeybourne.
  • December 13, 2010-May 20, 2011: Line will close at 9.30pm Monday-Thursday to allow overnight tracklaying work, with the last two trains in each direction between Oxford and Worcester replaced by buses.
  • May 28-June 5, 2011: Line closed between Oxford and Moreton-in-Marsh for installation of new junction at Charlbury and commissioning of signalling.
  • June 6, 2011: New Charlbury-Ascott double track due to open.
  • August 6-August 21, 2011: Line closed Kingham to Worcester (some trains may be able to run to Moreton-in-Marsh over this period) for installation of new junctions and commissioning of signals and new track.
  • August 22, 2011: New Moreton-Evesham double track section due to open.

Mr Gallop told the meeting in Moreton-in-Marsh that although punctuality was much better than it had been two years ago, when the enhancement plans were first outlined, the redoubling was still needed, because the line was working at 100 per cent of its capacity, with little scope for recovery when things went wrong, nor to add extra services.

He added: “Do not underestimate the will of Network Rail to do this work. We have fought long and hard for this project and to drive it through to this point.

“It will be a hard job, with people out working on the line every night for many months, whether it’s fine and dry, or foggy with the temperature down at two below.”