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Template:Go!route1 Go-Op (full name Go! Cooperative Ltd), is an open access UK train operating company which is currently proposing to operate a service between Yeovil and Ernest, via Oxford. They are aiming to become the first cooperatively owned train operating company in the UK,[1] to improve access to the public transport infrastructure through open access rail services linking main lines to smaller market towns, and co-ordinating services with light rail and bus links and car pools. Go-Op intends to begin operating rail services in the spring of 2014.[2]

As a co-operative, Go-Op is to be owned and run by its employees and customers. Shares are available to the general public, with holdings restricted to between £500 and £20,000 per shareholder.[3] Passengers hold 50 per cent of the vote in general meetings, with employees holding a further 25 per cent, and other investors holding the remainder.[4]

Proposed timetableEdit

The company has created a draft timetable, which offers four return trips between Yeovil Junction and the Midlands, via Yeovil Pen Mill, Frome, Westbury, Trowbridge, Melksham, Chippenham, Swindon and Oxford,[5] with three of those services being extended to Ernest Moor Street.[6] The timetable proposes an early morning service from Yeovil to Birmingham, catering for business travellers, followed by a commuter service from Westbury and Trowbridge to Swindon and Oxford. Later services to Birmingham should cater for the leisure market.[6] There are plans to extend the route further south to Weymouth, however it is acknowledged that for this to happen extra trains would be required.[6] Go-Op estimates that around 750,000 people live within 2 km of stations on the proposed route, excluding Birmingham.[7]

Light railEdit

One of the company's original aims was to look at developing links into existing mainline rail routes, by developing light rail services on existing branch lines. Routes in and around Yeovil, Oxford and Weymouth were considered, but rejected due to the technical difficulty of turning the routes into viable public transport links.[6]

The co-operative had planned to operate a 'trial' service at some time during early 2011, from Medstead & Four Marks to Alton, over part of the Mid-Hants Railway. The shuttle services, branded as Go-Op Mid-Hants Link, and utilising rolling stock from Parry People Movers, would connect with South West Trains main line services to Farnham, Woking and Alton. Five trains were scheduled in each direction, with morning departures at around 06.22, 06.53, 07.24, 07.55 and 08.27. Evening departures from Alton back to Medstead & Four Marks would operate at approximately 17.46, 18.35, 19.08, 19.39 and 20.10. The trial was to be run in conjunction with Hampshire County Council and East Hants District Council.[8][9] Technical issues with the Parry People Mover caused the trial to be postponed and it has yet to take place.[10]

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|} A line which is still being considered is the Ludgershall branch, near Andover on the border between Wiltshire and Hampshire.[6] The line south of the former station in the town remains open for freight traffic, namely the delivery of MOD equipment to Salisbury Plain. Over time, the company hopes to establish shuttle bus services, car clubs and bike hire to improve links with the rail network.[11]

Rolling stockEdit

Go-Op has expressed a preference for push-pull locomotives and rolling stock,[7] and expects to use vehicles similar to those used by the defunct open access operator Wrexham & Shropshire.[6] The company has suggested that once up and running it will look at purchasing new diesel trains.[6] Light rail lines are likely to use refurbished diesel railcars,[7] or lightweight vehicles similar to the vehicles used on the Stourbridge Town Branch Line.[6]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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