On 6th October 1905 the Bicester Advertiser ran the following article about the London and North Western Railway Company’s new rail-motor service. One of a number of services started around the country that used a single coach powered by a steam engine at one end of the chassis.
The long talked of service of motor cars will be commenced on Monday next between Bicester and Oxford, in connection with the L&NW Railway. It was originally announced to commence about July last, but from some unexplained cause the idea for a time had to be abandoned.
There will be eight runs to and from Oxford every day, and on Thursdays and Saturdays there will be additional late cars. The fares are about the same as ordinary trains, but stopping places, in addition to those at present used by the Company, are provided at Wendlebury, Oddington, Charlton, Oxford Road, and Wolvercote.
A preliminary trip of the car was made from Oxford to Bicester yesterday, starting from Oxford about 12:30, and returning to Islip from Bicester soon after one o’clock. The six miles between Bicester and Islip was covered in about ten minutes, the journey between Bicester and Oxford, including stoppages, being given as thirty minutes.
The running of the car is extremely smooth, and the vibration from the engine scarcely perceptible. There are two compartments, one for non-smokers and one for smokers; and the car holds 48 passengers. It is electrically lighted and heated by hot water pipes; indeed the Company have considered in every respect the comfort of the public.
At Islip an excellent luncheon was provided for the guests, including representatives from the Company, local dignitaries, and members of the press, in a magnificent and elegantly fitted up dining saloon, belonging to the L&NW Railway Company, and which took the grand prize at the Paris Exhibition in 1900. The hope was freely expressed that this new feature in railway travelling would be remunerative to the promotors and a convenience to the public.
Then the following week, after the service had started, the newspaper reported on it again:
The venture of the L&NW Railway Company in establishing a motor-car system between Bicester and Oxford is a bold one, and everyone wishes it success. It deserves to succeed, and it will not be the fault of the promoters if it does not, for there are eight trains a day each way, and nothing remains but for the public to travel. The ordinary trains calling at Bicester, Islip and Oxford remain the same.
The car started running from Oxford on Monday morning, but a hitch occurred later on, owing to the bearings of the car becoming heated – a circumstance very frequent in newly made engines and carriages. The mishap was quickly remedied by an ordinary engine and corridor carriage being put on service. Such a delay is hardly likely to again occur, because the bearings soon get accustomed to the friction, and every mile travelled renders the chance of heating less.
But for the motor-car service to be a success the approach roads to the calling places must be improved, or in winter time very few persons will be able to reach them. The lane leading to Charlton station needs much improvement, but the road from Weston-on-the-Green to Oddington crossing, via Weston Wood, is practically impassable, even for two horses drawing an empty dung cart.