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Future of Oxfordshire rail network mapped out in new study

A new study highlighting future opportunities to expand Oxfordshire’s railway and help deliver economic growth to the region was published on Wednesday 30 June. The Oxfordshire Rail Corridor Study (ORCS) looks in detail at the county’s predicted growth in jobs and housing over the next two decades and presents an industry vision for how the rail network can best support it.

Commissioned and funded jointly by the Department for Transport and the Oxfordshire Growth Board, the study has been produced by Network Rail, with oversight from the Growth Board, in collaboration with industry partners and the County and City Councils, to help develop an overarching strategy for rail development.

The study recommends a number of potential future improvements to support increasing interconnectivity across Oxfordshire. Subject to future funding and viable business cases, these include increasing capacity through Oxford station, reopening the Cowley branch line, plus additional services to Hanborough. It also recommends additional infrastructure to provide greater capacity in and around Didcot, including the proposal for a new station at Wantage/Grove, subject to additional main line infrastructure.

It identifies parts of Oxfordshire’s rail network where demand for train services is expected to increase in the medium (2028) and long-term (2033), giving recommendations for how this additional demand could be met. This includes improving connections between Oxfordshire’s seven growth hubs, as well as improving the city’s connections with Birmingham, Reading and Bristol.

A more detailed study of this report will appear in the Autumn (Volume 2 No 1) issue of Great Western Star - Ed.

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