Oxford to Bicester
A major upgrade of the existing railway line from Oxford to Bicester was completed in December 2016, and services are already running on this section of the line (operated by Chiltern Railways). However, further work will be needed to enable the full EWR service of four trains per hour, which are required to meet projected passenger numbers. This will better connect businesses and academia in Oxford with their current and future workforce and help people in Oxford to access opportunities across the region.
Upgrades to Oxford station
Work is already being carried out at Oxford station by Network Rail. At the statutory consultation, we’ll present information about the work that we would need to undertake to enable the full EWR service.
Increasing capacity in the Oxford area
We’re looking at what improvements are needed to the track in the Oxford area to increase capacity and enable for EWR trains to approach and turn around at Oxford station.
At Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village stations, we’re exploring what work might be needed to accommodate EWR services.
Keeping connections at London Road level crossing
To maintain vital connections at London Road level crossing in Bicester into the town centre, we’re looking at whether it’s possible to keep the crossing open for existing traffic, and options for road bridges and underpasses.
Why are we proposing this work?
- Add new platforms so more trains can use the station.
- Build new infrastructure south of the station.
- Make improvements to the station itself.
- The potential to maintain the existing crossing for local traffic. To do this, we are looking at the service patterns on this section of the line, as well as possible enhancements at the level crossing. This would most likely require highways works in the vicinity of the crossing to discourage use by non-local traffic.
- The possibility of a new road bridge south or east of the level crossing. We’re working with local stakeholders to identify a suitable location for a new road bridge and exploring the feasibility of using a type of bridge that is constructed off-site and then moved into position using a crane to minimise disruption.
- Accessible routes to cross the railway for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised local traffic. We know how important it is to maintain connections for pedestrians and cyclists and the options we’re exploring include an accessible overbridge at or near the current level crossing; an accessible underpass at or near the current level crossing; and an accessible overbridge that crosses the railway at another location.
Work is already being carried out at Oxford station by Network Rail to improve capacity, accessibility and the passenger experience for all those using the station and this will also help to accommodate the increase in passengers generated by EWR. But further work will be needed to enable the full EWR service.
In 2021 we talked with Oxford communities about our plans to:
A new platform and entrance on the western side of the station are already being delivered as part of Network Rail’s Oxford Corridor Phase 2 scheme. Network Rail may also reopen the Cowley Branch Line to passengers, meaning trains could change direction (turn back) south of the station.
To be sure that EWR could operate should the full Network Rail schemes not be completed as expected, we’re also working with them on a number of EWR specific enhancements as a contingency.
We’ll also explore if more trackwork is needed to boost capacity between Oxford station and Oxford North Junction, and we’re working with Network Rail to better understand this.
We’ll present additional information on our proposals for Oxford station at the statutory consultation, which we expect to take place in the first half of 2024. link.
Work to build the railway between Bicester and Bletchley is underway and the Department for Transport is currently in the process of procuring an operator to run these services from 2025.
We’re continuing work to identify the most suitable locations for passing loop between Oxford and Bletchley which would allow faster trains to overtake slower stopping services safely.
We’re considering what work is required at Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village stations to serve the additional passengers resulting from the new EWR services. One of the main considerations is how to improve access to both stations via more sustainable forms of transport as this would affect any need for the expansion of the existing parking at these stations.
We’re also conducting further work to identify the best option for London Road level crossing in Bicester (you can read more about this below).
We’ll share our proposals for this section of the route at the statutory consultation.
We recognise that London Road level crossing provides a vital route for people to get into the town centre on foot, by bicycle, public transport and car. Once all EWR services are introduced on the line, the barriers are expected to be down for a significant portion in every hour. At the 2021 public consultation we explored a number of concepts at the crossing to keep the town connected and minimise inconvenience, and aiming to improve safety, enable a faster, reliable train service, and reduce traffic disruption.
Thanks to community feedback, alongside further studies, five of the six concepts presented at the 2021 consultation have been ruled out. Whilst we’ve yet to confirm a preferred solution, we’re now investigating:
We’re undertaking further studies and technical assessments of these options to identify our preferred option for the London Road level crossing and we’ll present our findings for comment at the statutory consultation.
What's next for this section?
We’ll provide further details of our developed proposals for how East West Rail will serve Oxford to Bicester at the statutory consultation which we expect to take place in the first half of 2024.
How will services be delivered?
We’ve designed the delivery of the East West Rail project with the community in mind. Ensuring minimal disruption, while making sure the services are reliable from the start. All to provide the best value for the taxpayer.
To achieve this, we will be introducing services in three "connection stages", with the first services between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes expected to start running around 2025. To learn more, watch our helpful video below.Watch
Our role is to oversee delivery of the project between Oxford and Bletchley. We're also designing the section of railway between Bletchley and Cambridge.Learn more
Whether you’d like to share your ideas about East West Rail, ask a question, or just find out more information, we’d love to hear from you.Get involved