How East West Rail would benefit Oxford

With around 5000 businesses employing over 100,000 people, Oxford’s importance as an employment hub is clearas is its global reputation for excellence. East West Rail could ease the pressures of constrained growth, opening up access to new homes, office and lab spacemaking it easier to live and work in the area. With regular and more affordable services from the local area to the likes of Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge, Oxford would be better connected with other economic hubs across the UK. An upgraded station would have more capacity and the improved railway connections would provide wider access to talent, reduce congestion and improve air quality locally.

    EWR would connect to most of the north-south main lines making it easier to reach the rest of the UK from Oxford. With better connections to UK airports, overseas destinations would also be more accessible. 

    Faster, regular and more affordable local train services through Bicester, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Bedford and across the region would mean easier everyday journeys by rail rather than car.  

    More trains with better connections would result in less reliance on car travel, reducing traffic and congestion while improving air quality in the area.

    East West Rail would connect people with friends and family across the region with a new service from Oxford to Cambridge via the communities in between. With better links to the rest of the UK through interchanges with East Coast, Midland, and West Coast Main Line services, it will be easier to reach loved ones a little further afield, too.​ 

    East West Rail would make it easier for more people to live and work in the area, which means Oxford city centre will rely less on tourism, students and commuters. Independents and a range of businesses would be more likely to thrive. Planned improvements to the city centre and the railway together would be a catalyst for increased prosperity for all.

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What's next for Oxford?

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 is 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. 

What work is required in the Oxford area?

    Work is already being carried out at Oxford station by Network Rail. At the statutory consultation, we’ll present information about the work needed to enable the full EWR service.

    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.

Why are we proposing this work?

    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: 
    * Add new platforms so more trains can use the station.  
    * Build new infrastructure south of the station. 
    * Make improvements to the station itself. 
    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 summer of 2024.

    Work to build the railway between Bicester and Bletchley is almost complete, 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’ll share our proposals for this section of the route at the statutory consultation. 


East West Rail - Borders Rail Case Study
East West Rail - East Meets West
East West Rail - See how EWR would make it easier to get out and about across the UK
East West Rail - Unlocking the Science Supercluster
East West Rail - Transforming everyday journeys

Documents & factsheets

  • Benefits of East West Rail factsheet
  • Freight factsheet
  • Our approach to the environment factsheet
  • Route Update Report


  • East West Rail preferred route
  • Existing route from Oxford Parkway to Bicester
  • Existing route from Oxford station to Oxford Parkway
  • Potential track changes in Oxford

Meet your community engagement team

Here at EWR Co, we’re passionate about hearing what local representatives and their communities think about East West Rail. It means we can work together as we build a successful project that will deliver shorter journey times, lower transport costs and ease pressure on local roads while bringing people closer to the things that matter most – jobs, friends and family.

Meet your Community Engagement Manager, Gail Buckland and your Local Representatives Groups Engagement Manager, Sarah Jacobs.

Head over to our community hub where we’ve set up 15 Local Representatives Groups in all areas along the route where we will deliver EWR and have a dedicated page to our events.

Find out more
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Upcoming events

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Community conversations

8 May 2024
Cutteslowe Pavilion Hall, Cutteslowe Park, Oxford, OX2 8ES

Find out more

Statutory consultation

Summer 2024

Find out more

Latest stories

We're delivering EWR over several stages. This includes:

  • Upgrading an existing section of railway between Oxford and Bicester  
  • Bringing back a section of railway between Bicester and Bletchley  
  • Refurbishing existing railway between Bletchley and Bedford  
  • Building brand new railway infrastructure between Bedford and Cambridge 

East West Rail trains are expected to start running between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes in 2025, with services extending across the route in the coming years – following planning approvals and construction of the new railway.

What’s next? 

We expect trains to start running on this section of the railway to Bletchley/Milton Keynes in late 2025. To build and operate a railway which would extend services from Oxford beyond Bletchley/Milton Keynes, we need to apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) and as part of this are required to carry out a statutory consultation. We are carrying out consultation over two stages, the first of which we expect to take place this summer.

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