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£260M Oxford rail link proposed

Witney to oxford rail line

A new 16km, £260M rail link from Witney to Oxford has been proposed by a local lobbying group to open up new development opportunities to the west of the city.

The new line has been proposed by the Witney Oxford Transport Group (WOT) and would run east from Witney to Yarnton, where it would join the main line running south into Oxford.

The new section of track between Witney and Yarnton would “broadly follow” the A40 corridor and the old Witney branch line which was closed in the 1970s. A new station at Witney would also be built as part of the plans.

Witney to oxford rail line

Witney to oxford rail line

WOT committee member Richard Stow said a 2016 report by consultant Aecom looked at a number of options and concluded that a new rail link was viable.

Oxfordshire County Council is currently looking to adopt a bus priority route running from Eynsham, just west of Oxford, to the city centre.

Stow told New Civil Engineer that the bus route would not be sufficient to meeting future demand.

“We very much feel that this bus route is only a sticking plaster solution in the short term and doesn’t even connect to Witney,” said Stow.

Instead Stow is pushing for the new line to be built in the next 10 to 20 years. The project proposal has now been submitted to local and national MPs in the hope that it receives long term support.

The first phase of project involves opening up the existing freight line south of Oxford to Cowley. A new station at Cowley would then provide new opportunities for housing and commercial development to the south east of Oxford. Stow said he expects this phase to be delivered within two to three years.

Stow added that a third phase could be added to the Witney line to extend it to Carterton, allowing a much wider area to be developed and housing targets to be met.

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