Cherwell Valley Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cherwell Valley Line
Appleford railway station platforms in 2009.jpg
Appleford railway station, on the Cherwell Valley Line.
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Oxfordshire,
South East England
Stations 7
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) CrossCountry
First Great Western
Rolling stock Class 43/HST
Class 165 "Turbo"
Class 220 "Voyager"
Class 221 "Super Voyager"
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Cherwell Valley Line
Chiltern Main Line to Leamington Spa
former Verney Junction Branch
M40 motorway
King's Sutton
former Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway
M40 motorway
Aynho Jct: Chiltern Main Line to Bicester North
Fritwell & Somerton
Oxford Canal
former Shipton cement works
former Blenheim & Woodstock branch line
Oxford Canal
former Buckinghamshire Junction Railway
Cotswold Line to Worcester
Duke's Cut
A34 Oxford Western Bypass (Wolvercote Viaduct)
Wolvercot Platform
Oxford North Junction: Oxford to Bicester Line
Sheepwash Channel
former gas works
Osney Railway Bridge over River Thames
Oxford (Grandpont) station
Hinksey Halt
former Millstream Junction
Abingdon Road Halt
A423 Oxford Southern Bypass
Kennington Jct: Wycombe Railway to Mini factory
Abingdon Junction
Abingdon Jct. with former Abingdon Railway
Nuneham Railway Bridge over River Thames
Culham Cutting
Appleford Railway Bridge over River Thames
gravel pits
Didcot North Junction
Didcot Railway Centre
Didcot Parkway on GW Main Line
( Swindon – Reading )

The Cherwell Valley Line is the railway line between Didcot and Banbury via Oxford. It links the Great Western Main Line and the south to the Chiltern Main Line and the Midlands. The line follows the River Cherwell for much of its route between Oxford and Banbury.

Current and former stations served[edit]

The former station for Bletchingdon was always spelt Bletchington. The former halt at Wolvercote was called Wolvercot Platform, with a deliberately different spelling of the village's name, to distinguish it from the London & North Western Railway's adjacent Wolvercote Halt.


Passenger services are provided by CrossCountry and First Great Western. First Great Western has designated the local service between Oxford and Banbury the Oxford Canal Line.

The line carries a large and increasing volume of freight between the Port of Southampton and the English Midlands.


With the exception of the West Coast Main Line, this route is the only route on which domestic UK trains can tilt, something of which Virgin Cross Country took advantage on trains from the WCML to Reading and beyond, utilising SuperVoyager trains that can tilt.[1]

CrossCountry's new operator, Arriva, does not run much on the WCML, and considers it not worthwhile to activate the tilt mechanism for the short stretch of the Cherwell Valley line. For this reason many SuperVoyagers have been transferred to Virgin West Coast, who can use their tilting ability on the WCML. The majority of CrossCountry services on the Cherwell Valley line are now worked by standard non-tilting Voyager trains, and any remaining tilting Voyagers have had their tilt function disabled to improve reliability and cut costs.[citation needed]

River Thames[edit]

The line makes three crossings of the River Thames between Oxford and Didcot:


In 1977 the Parliamentary Select Committee on Nationalised Industries recommmended considering electrification of more of Britain's rail network, and by 1979 BR presented a range of options to do so by 2000.[2] Some of these options would have included the entire Cherwell Valley line and the Banbury — Birmingham section of what is now the Chiltern Main Line plus the Coventry to Leamington line.[2] Under the 1979–90 Conservative governments that succeeded the 1976–79 Labour government the proposal was not implemented.

Under plans for the Great Western Electrification project announced in July 2009, the Cherwell Valley Line will be electrified from Didcot only as far as Oxford.[3]


  1. ^ BBC News
  2. ^ a b Anonymous (Winter 1979). Railway Electrification. British Railways Board (Central Publicity Unit). pp. 0–2, 8. 
  3. ^ "Rail Electrification". Britain’s Transport Infrastructure. Department for Transport. July 2009.