Bicester Village railway station

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Bicester Village National Rail
BicesterTown WallsSE.jpg
New main building under construction, March 2015
Location
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
Operations
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*
2011/12 Increase 0.213 million
2012/13 Increase 0.214 million
2013/14 Decrease 0.208 million
2014/15 Decrease 88,440
2015/16 Increase 0.413 million
History
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
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* 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.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

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) northeast 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.

History[edit]

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]

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.[4]

1968 closure[edit]

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.

1987 reopening[edit]

Bicester Town station in 1992

Network SouthEast reopened the station as "Bicester Town" on 11 May 1987,[5] 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".[6] Since then operation of the line has been transferred from FGW to Chiltern Railways.

Since 1987 the frequency of trains varied and passenger numbers fluctuated accordingly. In the four years 2007–2011, more frequent trains increased the total number of passengers using Bicester Town by 258%.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] It was later amended to 2015.

2014 closure for rebuild, 2015 reopening[edit]

The station closed on 15 February 2014 (the last trains having run late on 14 February)[10] in order to allow upgrade of the line between Oxford and Bicester. The reopening, first planned for May 2015,[11][12] was delayed until 25 October 2015 with the official ceremony the following day.[13][14][15]

On 12 March 2015 Chiltern Railways announced that it would rename the station Bicester Village after the nearby designer retail outlet.[16][17] This change has been seen as controversial by many who live in Bicester who thought that it had taken place without proper consultation.[18]

Before it closed for the rebuild, 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. As part of the works the station was completely rebuilt as a two-platform station.

Station facilities[edit]

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.[19]

Services[edit]

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

The station is served by a half-hourly service between London Marylebone and Oxford.

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
  Winslow
Historical railways
Wendlebury Halt
Line open, station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Varsity Line
  Launton
Line and station closed

Future services[edit]

Main article: East West Rail Link

As of December 2016, the line eastward towards Bletchley is formally mothballed but actually unusable. However work is in progress to rebuild the line so that the Oxford–Bicester service may be extended to Milton Keynes Central and Bedford via Winslow and Bletchley.

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,[20] bringing the total number of trains to Oxford to four per hour, several times the frequency it had before rebuilding.

References[edit]

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. ^ "Oxford to Bicester, Banbury and Worcester". First Great Western. 
  5. ^ Butt 1995, pp. 33–34
  6. ^ The Bicester Link Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Office of the Rail Regulator data: 04/05, Decrease 50,197; 05/06, Decrease 48,685; 06/07, Decrease 43,950; 07/08, Increase 51,902; 08/09, Increase 59,964; 09/10, Increase 105,000; 10/11, Increase 157,000.
  8. ^ "Chiltern gets go-ahead for second Oxford-London rail link". The Oxford Times. Newsquest. 18 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Chiltern to take over Bicester – Oxford trains". RAIL (664): 25. 23 February – 8 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "Bicester – Oxford". Chiltern Railways. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Last train to run on Oxford to Bicester line before revamp". BBC News Oxford. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Chiltern Railway". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Keen passengers board the first trains to leave Oxford Parkway". Witney Gazette. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  14. ^ "Bicester Village station structure complete". BBC News. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "October 2015 timetable | Chiltern Railways". www.chilternrailways.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  16. ^ "Bicester Town station rebranded as Bicester Village". BBC Online. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Bicester Town station to be renamed Bicester Village after Chiltern Railways decision". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  18. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-31848702
  19. ^ Personal email from a site engineer
  20. ^ Train Services - East West Rail

External links[edit]