Alternative rail routes announced as London to Oxford line gets key upgrade

Thursday 21st July 2016

Great Western Railway is reminding passengers to plan their journeys for the first half of August in advance as Network Rail undertake flood protection work between Oxford and Didcot Parkway.

Fastest journey time? Check National Rail Enquiries and print your own timetable.

The work, to raise the height of tracks to protect them against flooding, will take place between Oxford and Didcot Parkway from Saturday 30 July until Sunday 14 August.

Additional work will also see the railway between Oxford and Banbury closed from Saturday 30 July to Sunday 7 August (for signalling improvements), and between Oxford and Hanborough (for Bridge repairs) from Wednesday 3 August to Sunday 7 August.

Buses will replace trains between Oxford and Didcot Parkway, while some other services will be diverted around the work.

Oxford Station Manager Richard Fry said:

“We’ve worked closely with Oxfordshire County Council and Network Rail to make sure customers can still get to where they need to go while the work is happening. We’re encouraging people to plan their journeys ahead of time through National Rail Enquiries to make sure they pick the route that is best for them.

“The improvements being made will bring Brunel’s railway into the 21st century providing a more resilient infrastructure and paving the way for the new electric trains. These improvement works will allow passengers to take advantage of the full benefits of electrification once complete: new trains, faster, more frequent services and importantly, given the growth this network has seen in recent years, more seats.”

Network Rail’s commercial scheme sponsor for the project, Joanna Grew, said:

“We care about passengers and our neighbours and so it was really important to us to work with the Environment Agency to find a solution that provides the best value for money for the taxpayer; will make an important contribution towards increasing reliability for passengers; and enables us to work together to limit disruption for our neighbours.”

Travelling between Oxford and Didcot during the work?

Rail replacement coaches will operate in both directions up to every 12 minutes taking approximately 30-40 minutes; where customers can connect for onward services.

Travelling between Oxford and London?

In addition to our usual services between South Wales, Bristol and Cheltenham Spa (calling at Didcot) we will also operate:

  • An hourly service between London Paddington and Didcot calling at Slough and Reading
  • Two stopping services an hour calling at London Thames Valley stations between London Paddington and Didcot
Travelling between Oxford and Hereford?
  • One service an hour between Oxford and Worcester Foregate Street, with connecting London Midland services to Hereford
  • Peak hour trains in both directions between London Paddington and Worcester will be diverted via Cheltenham Spa extending journey times by 40 minutes

GWR rail tickets will be accepted on Chiltern Railway services and a number of local bus routes. For the fastest journey times check the National Rail Enquiries website, where you are also able to print your itinerary.

For some journeys passengers may wish to travel on local bus services. GWR has also provided financial support to bus services that have lost their council funding in recent weeks for the duration of the work. This will see the Thames Travel T2 service from Oxford to Abingdon via Cowley, Berinsfield and Culham running to an amended timetable for the duration of the works.

This service will also provide a new peak time connection from Cowley and Oxford City Centre towards Hinksey Hill and Bagley Wood to Culham and Berinsfield.