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Oxford,
21
June
2016
|
08:59
Europe/London

County council to campaign for better rail links in Oxfordshire

Extra rail capacity between Oxford and Didcot, new rail services from Oxfordshire to Heathrow Airport and major upgrades to Oxford and Didcot railway stations are on a list of improvements the county council will campaign to see delivered in coming years.

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Extra rail capacity between Oxford and Didcot, new rail services from Oxfordshire to Heathrow Airport and major upgrades to Oxford and Didcot railway stations are on a list of improvements the county council will campaign to see delivered in coming years.

The council’s cabinet will be asked to approve a new rail strategy at its meeting on June 28. The strategy contains a list of improvements that it will lobby the rail industry to deliver in the future, linked to the council’s wider “Connecting Oxfordshire” objectives.

The newly updated strategy takes account of the recent Hendy Review of Network Rail’s national investment programme and seeks opportunities to align rail industry plans with Oxfordshire’s planned growth areas.

Standing up for Oxfordshire

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council said: “Clearly the council does not have direct responsibility for the rail industry but we do have a responsibility to strongly stand up for Oxfordshire when it comes to getting our share of national finances to deliver local improvements.

“Obviously the railways interact very closely with every other form of transport in Oxfordshire and our joint partnership working with the rail industry is crucial to seeing through positive change that will benefit us for decades to come.

“The Oxfordshire public is familiar with many of our long-standing hopes – such as the opening of the Cowley branch line to passenger traffic and completion of East West Rail, building on the first phase opening making it possible to reach London Marylebone direct from Oxford.”

“We continue to campaign for those ambitions just as much as the more recent aspirations. We want to ensure that our county speaks with one strong strategic voice for the whole of Oxfordshire, not just small parts of it – seeking to make sure improvements in rail and other transport modes are synchronised and linked”

GWR Regional Development Manager Tom Pierpoint said: “We at GWR recognise the importance of rail to the economic prosperity of the communities we serve, and it is great to see Oxfordshire County Council share that vision. The Rail Strategy clearly shows a wide focus on key projects including improvements at Didcot, the Didcot to Oxford corridor, the North Cotswolds line from Oxford to the west, and better airport connections.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the authority, and to further build on the improvements that electrification of the line to Oxford and new electric trains will bring.”

What are the improvements that the council would like to see?

  • Promotion of a major upgrade to Oxford station, including additional platforms, through-lines and a new station building and transport interchange

  • Increased passenger and freight capacity between Didcot and Oxford, including opportunities for an expansion of Culham station

  • Development of the next stage of upgrades to Didcot Parkway station, including new multi-storey car park, northern entrance and new station building

  • Opening of the Cowley rail line to passenger services, with new stations serving the Oxford Science and Business parks

  • Promotion and support, with the Local Enterprise Partnership, for direct rail services from Oxfordshire to Heathrow Airport

  • Supporting the East West Rail consortium and Network Rail in the design and delivery of East West Rail Phase 2 to extend the line further East, with Phase 1 now almost complete (creating the new Oxford Parkway Station, linking the city and Bicester Village with London Marylebone)

  • Supporting, through a consortium approach with partner authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships, further capacity and service enhancements on the Cotswold Line, including upgrades to stations, bus and cycle connections

  • Development of a business case for a proposed new station in the Grove/Wantage area, assuming a future rail service linking Bristol and Swindon to Oxford and beyond;

  • Better Integration of rail and strategic bus/rapid transit networks as part of Science Transit

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