Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bicester update 14th March 2014

I took the opportunity for a very quick visit to Bicester while passing on the M40 but this was a costly mistake as I got caught up in a very long delay further north!  I knew that Bicester Town station had closed on 15th February and wanted to check if work had started.  I am pleased to report that it is indeed underway and there was evidence of this from the station to the site of the new chord.  It would have been disappointing for regular users of the station if this was not the case.  The station itself is still pretty much as it was on my last visit.  It is going to replaced by a brand new twin platform station.  However the track has been removed with the exception of a short stretch straddling the level crossing. Diggers were in evidence at the station site and at Tubbs crossing.  A huge pile of ballast was being stored on the other side of the line to the station.
 First stop was at the station itself.  Looking towards the entrance, Heras fencing has closed off access to the platform.  Two small notices advise that the station is closed.
 However more information about the work and the bus replacement service is displayed on the noticeboards on the wall to the left of the approach.
A closer look at the timetable and planned work. The compatibility with the East West Rail project is noted.
 Looking through the security fencing across the platform.  I am pretty sure that the remains of the former second platform have been exposed.  The large heap of ballast can be seen in the background.
Looking west from the same spot.  The double track is still in place a short distance from here which I observed passing over the line by Bicester Village on the bypass.
  Moving round to the level crossing, this looks west towards the station.  Short section of track not yet removed.  Will go when the level crossing is reconfigured to double track I am guessing
 Now looking east.  The signal that protected the level crossing has gone.
 A better view of the trackbed.  No Heras fencing here to obscure the view.
A closer view of the platform.  A lighting rig sits on the platform which hopefully won't be needed now the longer days are coming.
 I then moved on to Tubb's Crossing where I was surprised to find a hive of activity!  The foot crossing is being replaced with a footbridge.  The crossing had been diverted to the west and this was extremely busy so photographing here was difficult.  There appeared to be drainage problems here and a large pit has been dug.  This picture looks across the pit to the original crossing site.
 Moving over the temporary crossing, this looks east.  You can just make out the Marylebone line through the "arch" of the digger on the left.
Now looking west.  The trackbed has been cleared and you can see how it was once a double track mainline railway and will become so again next year.
 Finally round to Gavray Drive where the work to constuct the new chord is being carried out.  This looks towards the future junction on the London to Birmingham line.  It would be nice to think that the row of shipping containers in the DHL yard had just arrived by rail by sadly it is not rail connected.
 A digger was working on the embankment when I arrived.  It looks as if the existing embankment is being stripped of vegetation and tree roots.
 Here is the bridge that crosses the future East West line.  No more rail delivery of material now the line has been lifted unless it is being routed via Claydon Junction which would require a reversal.  It is only an east facing junction. That will have to wait for another day.
 A large pile of earth has replaced the pile of used ballast that was here last time..
 A row of small dumper trucks parked up with one large one.  A bulldozer was working on the trackbed just behind them.
 Turning to the left, the cleared track bed.
 Judging by this van parked outside the work site, the dreaded Japanese Knotweed must have been discovered.  Provision to deal with this was made in the Evergreen 3 proposal.  Judging by the phone number, it has travelled a fair way!

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