Rail Minister Wendy Morton has announced today that Oxford station is set to receive an injection of £161m worth of upgrades, which will aim to deliver quicker journeys, increased freight and passenger services and a brand new fully accessible entrance. These upgrades are currently scheduled for completion by 2024 and will support the economic growth within the area through the creation of almost 10,000 jobs.
The extensive infrastructural upgrades will see the creation of a brand-new track, platform and a fully accessible entrance on the west side of the station, ensuring a smoother experience for passenger travel. These new features will help to alleviate congestion within the station, as it currently stands as one of the busiest through the South of England, seeing 8.7 million passenger journeys a year pre-pandemic. The new track and platform will dramatically improve the overall capacity of the station, maximising the network for the local area by boosting connections, the economy and creating new job opportunities.
The funding investment within the project will extend from just station renovations, seeing renovations to the existing road bridge on Botley Road. There is a planned extension to create a four-metre width cycling and walking path, as well as raise the bridge in a bid to allow access for a standard height double-decker bus to pass underneath, for the first time in its history. It will also fund three new high-speed crossovers to be created, which will enable trains to turn around in the station, increasing services and reducing journey times.
Rail Minister, Wendy Morton said:
“While union bosses continue on their campaign to inflict maximum disruption to the lives of everyday people with strikes, I am busy getting on with the job at the hand, modernising our railways to create one which is fit for the 21st Century and meets the needs of the modern-day passenger.
“This £161 million will truly transform the region, increasing the number of services for passengers, boosting economic growth by connecting people to new opportunities and increasing freight services between the South and Midlands.
Whilst these upgrade works will have major benefits to the economic stability and growth within the local area, they will also play a key role in supporting ambitions for decarbonisation and net-zero within the UK. Through the upgrades and maximisation of line capacity, the project will see the increase of freight services via rail, producing an overall reduction of about 500 lorries per day between Southampton Ports container hub, the Midlands and North West. Increasing the supply chain through rail freight haulage will support the environment but also reduce road congestion for the local residents within the areas.
Mike Gallop, Network Rail’s Western route and strategic operations director, said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded this significant amount of funding from the Department for Transport, which will enable us make positive substantial improvements to Oxford station and railway for the benefit of our passengers and freight customers.
“A new entrance, new additional track and platform, and improved accessibility will transform this station so that is fit for the 21st century and significantly enhance its capacity for increases in passenger numbers and future services such as East West Rail."
Oxford Station is one of the first projects delivered through the Government’s new scheme SPEED (Swift, Pragmatic and Efficient Enhancement Delivery) which aims to halve the time it takes to complete a rail infrastructure project and slash the cost of project delivery - helping local areas to build back better through investment. To learn more about the SPEED initiative, click here to find Rail Technology Magazine’s recent interview with Christian Irwin OBE, Rail Investment Centre of Excellence Director at Network Rail.
Work at the station will begin later this year, with the Botley Road improvements expected to be completed by the end of 2023 followed by the new platform and entrance which is set to open in 2024.
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