Bicester Village railway station

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Bicester Village National Rail
BicesterTown WallsSE.jpg
New main building under construction, March 2015
Place Bicester
Local authority Cherwell District
Coordinates 51°53′35″N 1°08′55″W / 51.8931°N 1.1485°W / 51.8931; -1.1485Coordinates: 51°53′35″N 1°08′55″W / 51.8931°N 1.1485°W / 51.8931; -1.1485
Grid reference SP586219
Station code BIT
Managed by Chiltern Railways
Number of platforms 2
DfT category F1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 0.157 million
2011/12 Increase 0.213 million
2012/13 Increase 0.214 million
2013/14 Decrease 0.208 million
2014/15 Decrease 88,440
Original company Buckinghamshire Railway
Pre-grouping London and North Western Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
1 October 1850 Opened as "Bicester"
March 1954 Renamed "Bicester London Road"
1 January 1968 Closed
11 May 1987 Reopened and renamed "Bicester Town"
15 February 2014 Closed to rail traffic for line upgrade
12 March 2015 Renamed "Bicester Village"
25 October 2015 Reopened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bicester Village from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Bicester Village (previously Bicester Town 1987–2015, Bicester London Road 1954–1987, Bicester 1850–1954) is the smaller of two railway stations serving the town of Bicester in Oxfordshire (the larger is Bicester North). It is 12 miles (19 km) miles north-east of Oxford on the Oxford to Bletchley line near its junction with the Chiltern Main Line. The renamed Bicester Village station reopened on 25 October 2015 with trains initially running between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone. All trains serving it are operated by Chiltern Railways.


Bicester London Road with two platforms in 1961

The Buckinghamshire Railway, which already had a route between Bletchley and Banbury, had powers to build a line to Oxford. The first part of this line, from a junction to the west of Winslow (at a point which became known as Verney Junction) as far as Islip, opened on 1 October 1850, and this included a station at Bicester.[1][2] Originally named "Bicester", the station was renamed "Bicester London Road" in March 1954,[2] although the nameboards were not altered until 20 September 1954.[3]

The station was closed, along with the rest of the Oxford – Bletchley section of the Varsity Line, on 1 January 1968.[2] However, the station was used by several excursion trains through the 1970s and 1980s.

Network SouthEast reopened the station as "Bicester Town" on 11 May 1987,[4] as the terminus of the Oxford to Bicester Line. From May 2009 First Great Western and Oxfordshire County Council branded the line "The Bicester Link".[5] Since then operation of the line has been transferred from FGW to Chiltern Railways.

Since 1987 the frequency of trains has varied and passenger numbers have fluctuated accordingly. In the four years 2007–11 more frequent trains increased the total number of passengers using Bicester Town by 258%.[6]

The station closed on 15 February 2014 (the last trains having run late on 14 February)[7] in order to allow upgrade of the line between Oxford and Bicester. The reopening, first planned for May 2015,[8][9] was delayed until 25 October 2015 with the official ceremony the following day.[10][11][12]

On 12 March 2015 Chiltern Railways announced that it would rename the station Bicester Village after the nearby designer retail outlet.[13][14] This change has been seen as controversial by many who live in Bicester and seems to have taken place without proper consultation.[15]


Bicester Town station in 1992

Before it closed in 2014 the station had one platform, a covered waiting area, seats, a clock, help point and public address. There were a number of cycle stands but no ticket facilities. Passengers could buy these on the train instead.

The line towards Bletchley is currently used only by freight. The East West Rail Consortium of local authorities plans to extend the Oxford – Bicester service to Milton Keynes Central via Winslow and Bletchley.

There was another track in front of the platform, beside the passenger and freight running line. This was the long reversing siding for the Bicester Military Railway, serving the local MOD depot.[16]

In August 2008 Chiltern Railways announced a proposal to build a new 14 mile (400 m) chord to link the Oxford to Bicester Line with the Chiltern Main Line to carry a new service between Oxford and London via High Wycombe. The single line between Bicester Town and Oxford was to be doubled and a new station built at Oxford Parkway. Approval was granted in October 2012,[17] and works were completed in autumn 2015. As part of the works the station was completely rebuilt as a two-platform station.

The Department for Transport has approved the Western Section of the East West Rail Link to link Oxford and Bicester with Milton Keynes and Bedford, as part of CP5. It was intended that trains to Bedford should start running by 2017,[18][19] but on 31 March 2014 Network Rail announced that this had been put back to 2019.[20]

The station has two car parks; between them they provide 230 standard spaces, plus 18 spaces for passengers with reduced mobility. The station also has parking for 60 pedal cycles and 18 motorcycles.[21]


North-east view of the remodelled station with an approaching train

From December 2008 the service on Mondays to Saturdays was improved with an evening service and a doubling of the service on Saturdays. The service was increased to 11 trains (12 on Fridays) on weekdays and 13 on Saturdays. From May 2009, further improvements saw extra trains in the daytime on Mondays to Fridays and a new all-year round Sunday service, with trains every 90 minutes.

On 22 May 2011 Chiltern Railways took over all passenger operations from First Great Western ahead of the new service between London Marylebone and Oxford that was due to start in 2013.[22] It was later amended to 2015.

Since the station reopened on 26 October 2015, it is served by a half-hourly service between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway, to be extended to the main station at Oxford from December 2016. Additionally, once the East West Rail Link is running, it is also planned to be served by an hourly ReadingBedford service and an hourly Reading–Milton Keynes Central service,[23] bringing the total number of trains to Oxford to four per hour, several times the frequency it had before rebuilding.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Islip or
Oxford Parkway
  Chiltern Railways
London Marylebone – Oxford
  Haddenham and
Thame Parkway

or Princes Risborough
  Future services  
Oxford Parkway   East West Rail Link
Reading – Bedford or Milton Keynes
Historical railways
Wendlebury Halt
Line open, station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Varsity Line
Line and station closed


Work progressing on concrete supports for the station platforms, March 2015
  1. ^ Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (July 2005). Oxford to Bletchley. Country Railway Routes. Midhurst: Middleton Press. Historical background. ISBN 1-904474-57-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 33. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  3. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2005, fig. 50
  4. ^ Butt 1995, pp. 33–34
  5. ^ The Bicester Link Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  6. ^ Office of the Rail Regulator data: see infobox at head of article.
  7. ^ "Bicester – Oxford". Chiltern Railways. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Last train to run on Oxford to Bicester line before revamp". BBC News Oxford. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Chiltern Railway". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Keen passengers board the first trains to leave Oxford Parkway". Witney Gazette. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Bicester Village station structure complete". BBC News. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "October 2015 timetable | Chiltern Railways". Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Bicester Town station rebranded as Bicester Village". BBC Online. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  14. ^ "Bicester Town station to be renamed Bicester Village after Chiltern Railways decision". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Oxford to Bicester, Banbury and Worcester". First Great Western. 
  17. ^ "Chiltern gets go-ahead for second Oxford-London rail link". The Oxford Times. Newsquest. 18 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "East West Rail – Western Section Prospectus" (pdf). Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "`". RAIL (685): 10–11. 14–28 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Bucks Herald (Press release). Johnston Press. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Personal email from a site engineer
  22. ^ "Chiltern to take over Bicester – Oxford trains". RAIL (664): 25. 23 February – 8 March 2011. 
  23. ^ Train Services - East West Rail

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