UNVEILED: MAJOR IMPROVEMENT PLANS FOR OXFORD: New platform and footbridge at Oxford station

Thursday 26 Nov 2009


Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western

Plans for long awaited improvements to Oxford railway station have been revealed this week by Network Rail and Oxfordshire County Council. 

The proposed enhancements aim to improve the station to meet increasing demand for rail travel.  They are an important part of the county council’s Government funded Access to Oxford project, an aim of which is to ensure greater opportunity is available for people to access the city by train.

Central to the proposed improvements is Network Rail’s aspiration to create a new bay platform at Oxford station.  This would be used by trains terminating at Oxford from the south and would help to increase capacity and improve reliability by freeing up the existing through platforms for other services.  It would be located on part of the long-stay car park in Becket Street.

Plans also include Oxfordshire County Council’s commitment to replace the existing pedestrian and cycle bridge over Botley Road.  This will provide a seamless link between the new platform and the existing station.  The design and architecture of the new bridge will act as a ‘gateway’ to Oxford from the west.

Subject to securing funding for both projects, it is envisaged that both the platform and bridge will be operational in 2011.  In addition, there are also plans to make improvements to the station forecourt area to better accommodate buses and taxis.

These plans form the first phase of a Masterplan for Oxford station being developed by Oxfordshire County Council.  The Masterplan will outline a long term vision for the station taking into account other rail proposals announced over recent months.

These include Chiltern Railways' Evergreen 3 plans to run trains from Oxford via Bicester and High Wycombe to London Marylebone, the East-West Rail Consortium’s plans to reopen the line from Oxford to Milton Keynes as well as Network Rail’s plans to electrify the railway between London and Oxford.

With so many organisations preparing to invest in Oxford station it is imperative that this is done in a co-ordinated way.  The Masterplan will ensure each of the proposals complement one another and contribute towards an improved Oxford station that the city can be proud of, both in terms of capacity for trains and station buildings which improve the experience for passengers. The Masterplan also considers the wider role of the station as part of the regeneration of Oxford’s West End, particularly how it can contribute to the proposed redevelopment of Frideswide Square.

Oxfordshire County Council and Network Rail will be discussing their initial plans with stakeholders over the coming weeks and will be holding a series of exhibitions in the new year to give the public an opportunity to comment on the plans and feed into the design process, before submitting a planning application to Oxford City Council in the spring.

Exciting proposals

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Cabinet Member for Growth and Infrastructure at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “These exciting proposals for Oxford station form the first part of our major transport project, Access to Oxford.  This project is a clear demonstration of strong partnership working between ourselves and Network Rail to provide an improved Oxford station, ensuring that rail can continue to contribute towards meeting the transport challenges we are facing in the county.”

Chris Rayner, Network Rail route director, said: “Oxford station is a vital transport hub handling almost five million passengers each year. If we’re to continue to provide the level of service that rail users expect and deserve then important changes need to be made.

"Our plans for a new platform and the accompanying new pedestrian link will make a lasting difference to passengers in Oxford and pave the way for further improvements at the station in the coming years. We look forward to meeting with people from across the community to discuss our plans in more detail and to listen to their views.”

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