Oxfordshire’s rail system has accommodated significant growth in the last decade but needs to continue to develop and growth to link important regional growth hubs across the Oxfordshire area.
Oxfordshire’s local authorities have established highly ambitious plans for housing and employment growth across the county over the coming decade, which form part of a central government strategy to build one million additional homes in the arc from Oxford to Cambridge by 2050.
Rail will form a key part of the transport infrastructure that will support that growth, but to do so will require additional capacity for freight and passengers, new journeys across Oxfordshire, and potentially additional stations.
This investment will help to grow and support the local economy and will mean that Oxfordshire residents and businesses will be even better connected to places, business, jobs and opportunities. Journeys to and from stations in Oxfordshire have increased by 69% in the 10 years to 2019 against a UK average of 42%, with growth in the last 5 years particularly significant, averaging 5.2% annually against a national average of 2.7%.
Oxford is strategically located at the heart of a rail corridor that supports key economic growth and transport initiatives across the UK, north and south as well as east to west, with a high volume of passenger and freight traffic. We will continue to deliver a package of schemes to improve safety, capacity, connectivity and journey times for passengers and freight as well as support the zero-carbon emissions and modal shift from road to rail to reducing commuting into and across Oxfordshire.
The Oxford Corridor Capacity Improvement Scheme forms part of a package of rail enhancement schemes which provide extra capacity for the rail network and additional facilities at the station and surrounding area:
- Oxford Corridor Phase 0 was commissioned in December 2016 and included provision of two new platforms on the east side of the station to allow a new train service to be introduced between Oxford and London Marylebone.
- Oxford Corridor Phase 1 was commissioned in July 2018 and included extensive track re-modelling in the Oxford area, extended train stabling sidings to the north of the station and full re-signalling of the whole railway between Didcot and Heyford which unlocked additional rail capacity and improved operational flexibility.
- Up carriage sidings – We're working on installing shore supplies which will allow the electric trains to be plugged into an electricity supply to allow for cleaning without having to run the engines to help reduce noise from idling trains supporting the wider community and environment.
Oxford Corridor Phase 2
The rail infrastructure in the Oxford Station area is reaching full capacity and cannot accommodate any forecast in service enhancements as anticipated in the 2024 indicative train service specification.
Therefore, to increase capacity, Oxford Corridor Phase 2 is being developed, and subject to funding, will provide the following improvements:
- A new platform will be achieved by building another platform face (Platform 5) and associated track to the west of Platform 4, creating an island platform. The platform will include new customer facilities including a café, toilets, waiting room and train staff facilities, with a new canopy the full length of the island platform.
- A new entrance on the western side of the station with retail outlets and customer facilities in the new concourse area. Step-free access to Platforms 4 and 5 will be provided via a subway from the new western entrance to a new lift and stairs up to platform level. Platform 4/5 will also remain accessible to the rest of the station and the main (east) entrance concourse via the existing footbridge and lifts.
- A new track bridge span over Botley Road to accommodate the track to the new Platform 5.
- Replacement of the main track bridge span over Botley Road that will incorporate highway improvements to provide a 4m wide segregated cycleway and pedestrian footpath and improve the road gradient and clearances to improve the height under the bridge.
- New Higher speed crossovers at Oxford North Jn to support the proposed East West Rail service provision to Oxford and freight towards Bicester which will deliver a 2-minute journey time saving for Oxford services.
The project will complement the introduction of East West Rail services and unlocks additional local and freight services to support regional growth. It is scheduled to be delivered in phases between 2022 and 2024.
Level crossing closures
The Oxford corridor is a key freight route from the port of Southampton to the Midlands and the North and increasing demand for rail freight means more train paths are required. More trains would increase the risk at two level crossings along the route, Sandy Lane and Yarnton Lane; therefore, in order to reduce level crossing risk, to improve safety and reduce instances of misuse, these level crossings need to be closed. The output this will provide is two trains per hour additional freight paths, capacity for additional Birmingham to Oxford services, and increased maintenance access and safety improvements.
To provide alternative access across the railway, a ramped and stepped footbridge will be provided at Sandy Lane and a stepped footbridge at Yarnton Lane.
Oxford Station Masterplan
Working with Oxford City Council and their consultants, we are supporting further master planning to understand development opportunities for the wider station area that incorporate additional capacity requirements for future growth in rail, as well as improvements to the wider realm and environment for the station area to transform the gateway to the City.
East West Rail
East West Rail is creating a new direct east-west rail link between Oxford and Cambridge. Serving communities across the area, it will cater for future growth, with the support of new local services which are quicker. This will support the thriving OxCam Arc of science and business. Find out more about East West Rail.