The Anonymous Widower

First Designs For A New Railway Station In Oxford Revealed

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Oxford Mail.

The article talks about opening a new station at Oxford Science Park on the freight line that is used to access the Mini factory at Cowley.

There is also this map in the article.

The service would be run by Chiltern Railways, so will it be a shuttle to Oxford Parkway station or a full service to Marylebone?

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Electrification Of The East West Rail Link

East West Rail has this question about electrification in the FAQ.

Q: Will East West Rail be electrified and if so, when?

A: It is expected that the Western Section of the East West Rail link will include electrification of the line between Bedford and Oxford.

Bletchley to Oxford is expected to be completed first during the 2014-2019 railway funding period.

Bedford to Bletchley will follow, probably in the next railway funding period 2019-2024, as part of the wider work done to electrify the Midland Main Line to Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The Office of Rail Regulation has confirmed funding in principle for the electrification.  The exact amount of funding and scope is expected to be determined by the ORR by March 2015 following detailed development between NR, DfT and the train operators.

I will take this as a qualified yes or it would be desireable.

Bletchley to Oxford electrification is stated as being done first and if that timetable is met, it would be likely to be completed before services start on these routes.

  • Oxford to Milton Keynes
  • Milton Keynes to London via Aylesbury.

As both Oxford and Milton Keynes are currently or will be electrified by then, the services between the old and new cities could be performed by a 100 mph EMU, like a Class 387 train, which could then continue to Reading if required.

But there are no plans to electrify any of the London to Aylesbury Line. To complicate matters Chiltern Railways have a shortage of suitable diesel trains.

So although the line might be ready in 2019 or so, there would appear to be no chance of Chiltern Trains running between London and Milton Keynes.


Wikipedia gives the length of the passenger section from London to Aylesbury Parkway as about thiry nine miles.

So this probably means that the line could be run by Class 387 IPEMU trains, if there was some electrification in Marylebone station to charge the trains before they travelled North.

It is an interesting possibility.

Especially, as an electrified Marylebone, would probably allow the same trains to run services to electrified stations at Bicester Village, Oxford Parkway and Oxford.

December 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Oxford Parkway Station

This is Oxford Parkway station on the day it opened.

I like it except for the blue bricks.

Otherwise it ticks a lot of boxes.

  • Plenty of car parking.
  • Two trains per hour service
  • A last train to London at 22:45
  • Regular buses to Oxford City Centre
  • A coffee shop
  • A covered waiting area with seats.

The only thing I’d like would be an M & S Simply Food.

I thin that because of the traffic problems in Oxford, that this station may have the problem of being too successful!

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

The New Service Between Oxford Parkway And Marylebone Starts Today

Chiltern are starting their new service to and from Oxford Parkway station today and this article in the Bucks Free Press entitled Commuters predict overcrowding when ‘major’ changes are made to train services has a distinct feel of gloom.

Here’s a flavour.

Some features of the new timetable include scrapping the 7.40 Gerrards Cross to Marylebone service, leaving passengers to catch the 7.49 to London, which will be formed of seven carriages instead of five.

But I liked this comment added to the article.

Is this the same part of South Bucks that has been campaigning vociferously against building new railways? That’s fine, but you can’t then complain when the existing ones run short of capacity which has to be redistributed occasionally.

My only worry about the service, is whether Marylebone is big enough to cope with all the new traffic.

Although, as someone who’s only ever commuted for perhaps a year in his life, I can’t understand why anybody would want to spend three hours or more of every working day on the train!

I do actually think, that when Crossrail has opened and Great Western Railway starts running electrified services to Paddington and effectively the West End, the City and Canary Wharf, there will be a swing back to the traditional route.

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Oxford Or Oxford Parkway Station?

I ask this question, as the new Oxford Parkway station opens on the twenty-sixth of this month.

I have just looked at the times and it would appear that the half-hourly services between Marylebone and Oxford Parkway, will take about an hour.

The current service between Paddington and Oxford station isn’t a consistent service, with some services taking forty minutes and other direct services taking an hour longer.

So for the next few months, until Chiltern Railways hopefully arrive in Oxford station in Sprint 2016, it’ll very much be a question of personal convenience and preference.



October 15, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Network Rail’s Problems In Oxford

Oxford is going to be a big rail hub with  over the next few years the following projects being completed or at least underway.

1. Chiltern Railways from Oxford Parkway to Oxford station. Services to Oxford Parkway station will start on October 26th 2015, with services to Oxford city centre starting in spring 2016. I’ll believe the last part of that, when a Chiltern Railways train takes me to Oxford. When I visited in March 2015, little seemed to be happening at Oxford station in preparation for the arrival of this service.

2. Oxford station to be substantially upgraded with more platforms and possibly two island platforms for through trains. Again in March 2015, little seemed to be happening.

3. Chiltern Railways from Oxford station to the Science Park on the Cowley branch.

4. Electrification between Didcot and Oxford.

5. The creation of the East-West Rail Link

But according to the August 2015 of Modern Railways, they are having severe problems in the area North of the station, which I explored in a walk in March 2015. This is said.

On top of that, there is a hint of exasperation with the local authorities about the glacial pace of the planning process:  it took two and a half years to get approval for a pedestrian crossing to replace a footbridge for Chiltern’s mew line to the city centre, because allotment holders used to wheeling barrows of compost across the line were complaining about the new up-and-down route they would have to take over the bridge. New railway staff accomodation in Oxford is mired in similar planning mud.

Cambridge have upgraded their railways in recent years, and although they have had delays on the new Cambridge North station, there doesn’t seem to have been the same planning mud.

The question has to be asked if the good burghers of Oxford would prefer that money was spent on improving transport infrastructure in more welcoming places. The writer obviously feels strongly as he goes on to say this.

While not wishing to stand in the way of democracy , Network Rail is pointing out that there is a window of opportunity for modernising the route to Oxford that could be lost unless local authorities embrace it wholeheatedly. With NR’s spending plans under pressure, there is a danger that Oxford will be put in the “too difficult” pigeonhole and the caravan will move on. Then it would really be back to the 1970s, with changing at Didcot becoming the best option to reach Paddington at some times of day.

I had a friend who lived in Oxford and he used to say that the Council liked to keep cars out of the City. Perhaps, it is more fundamental than that, and the Council would prefer to keep everybody out of the city, so they can continue to lead their cloistered lives, untroubled by the Twentieth Century, let alone the twenty-first.

Do the same people, who blame Network Rail for their well-documented problems, like these at Oxford and those at Manchester, fully support the improvements in the first place or do they really want money to be spent on their own pet projects?

We certainly need a planning system that allows people to air their views and protest, but also one that takes more account of the good of the majority after all contra-arguments have been rejected.

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Station Now Arriving Is Running Late

Network Rail is creating several new stations in the UK. But not every one seems to be going to the original schedule.

In the following, which lists current new station projects in Wikipedia, I have not included any Crossrail or Borders Railway stations.

Appleby Bridge

The station at Appleby Bridge would appear to be progressing according to the latest plan and could open on time in August 2015. I went past the site recently but didn’t manage to see much.

Bermuda Park

Bermuda Park station is a small station in Nuneaton, but according to this story in the Nuneaton News, construction appears to be going well for an opening this year.

Cambridge Science Park

Cambridge Science Park station was originally approved in December 2013 scheduled to open in December 2015. This has now slipped to December 2016.

When I last went past the area in March 2015, there appeared to be little happening.

Cassiobridge And Watford Vicarage Road 

Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road are two new tube stations being built on the Croxley Link of the Metropolitan Line linking it to Watford Junction. The link and the new and updated stations were due to open in 2016, but after the takeover of the project responsibility and management by Transport for London, the completion date is now a more realistic 2018.

Coventry Arena

Like Bermuda Park, Coventry Arena is a new station on the Coventry to Nuneaton Line. Like Bermuda Park, things seem to be going well for a scheduled opening in May 2015.


Cranbrook station is a small single-platform being built in Devon, perhaps using ideas borrowing from James Cook. Progress is summed up by this story in the Exeter Express and Echo.

Ebbw Vale Town

Ebbw Vale Town is a new terminus station for the Ebbw Vale Railway, being built for the town and various reports say it will open this year.


If ever a station was delayed by great crested newts on the line, it is the new Ilkeston station. This story on the BBC details the problems, which mean that this important station will be delivered over two years late.

Would the Germans, French and Italians allow this sort of construction delay? The Chinese would probably serve them with ginger, pak choi and noodles.


Kenilworth  station has had a protracted gestation period, with an original planned opening of 2013, which is now scheduled for December 2016, with this report in the Leamington Observer saying work will start this year. It looks impressive and it is one I’m looking forward to use.

Kirkstall Forge

Thje builders must be confident of the schedule for Kirkstall Forge station, as the Wikipedia entry gives a completion date of the  station is given as October 2015, which is confirmed on this page on the Leeds Metro web site. When I passed recently, there certainly seemed to be an embryonic station at the site.

Lea Bridge

It was hoped that Lea Bridge station would reopen in late 2014, but despite one sighting of the orange army, nothing seems to be happening. and the new hoped-for opening date of December 2015 would appear to be optimistic.

Oxford Parkway

Oxford Parkway station is not only a new station, but one at the interim end of a new privately-funded railway route from London. As it is key to the opening of the line, I would suspect that the planned opening date of September 2015 will be achieved.


Wixams railway station was originally promised to be completed this year. This report on Bedfordshire on Sunday takes about broken promises and a much-delayed station. In other words, it is an aspiration, that has not been planned.

The lateness with some of these stations is a trend that is worrying, but in many cases it seems that you can’t blame the politicians but bad planning and the not getting everything sorted before announcing start and finish dates.

And of course there are the newts at Ilkeston!


April 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Good Progress At The Bicester Chord

I went past the Bicester Chord today on my way to Birmingham and Coventry and some progress has seemed to have been made since I last did this in November last year.

The start of services is supposed to be in September 2015, when Chiltern Trains will reach Oxford Parkway station.

For more about this chord and the stations being built in the area; Bicester Town, Islip and Oxford Parkway, there is a lot of information at the Oxford to Bicester Collaboration web site.

Every project and especially major ones, should have a web site as good as this one.

March 24, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment