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Upgrading the railway in the Oxford area

Updated May 2023

An artists impression of Oxford station after improvements

What’s happening

This summer, Network Rail will be advancing their plans to improve the railway around Oxford station as part of the Oxfordshire Connect programme.

This project aims to provide Oxford with extra capacity for more trains as well as better accessibility at the station itself.

These works involve:

  • Extensive signalling and track improvements, allowing trains to run at higher speeds
  • Bridge expansion to fit additional tracks
  • Building a new platform to help ease congestion
  • A new west entrance

The full programme is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. For more details visit Network Rail’s Oxfordshire Connect webpage.

This page will guide you through what’s happening, highlighting when trains will be affected and providing clear advice to help you travel as smoothly as possible during this time.

When are train services affected?

In order to upgrade the signalling and tracks, all lines through Oxford will be closed for nine days from Saturday 29 July through to Sunday 6 August.

In addition, there will also be a number of overnight and one-day closures before and after the core works as detailed below.

Overnight works will take place from 23:00 Saturday until 08:40 Sunday every week from 3 June to 16 July.

One-day closures will also affect train services in the Oxford area on the following days:

  • Sunday 13 August
  • Sunday 10 September
  • Saturday 16 September
  • Sunday 15 October

Please be aware that details for work in 2024 are still being planned and agreed. We will update this page with more details once these are confirmed.

How these works will affect trains

No trains will be able to run to or from Oxford. Replacement buses will run instead.

Map of disruption in the Oxford area during railway upgrades. Full information is included in text form on this page. 

Download a PDF version of this map (PDF, 461 KB).

Great Western Railway services

  • Trains will continue to run between London Paddington and Didcot Parkway
  • Trains will also run to a revised timetable between Hanborough and Worcester/Great Malvern/Hereford
  • A limited number of direct trains will continue to run between London Paddington and Worcester using an alternative route
  • Replacement buses will run between Didcot Parkway, Oxford and Hanborough, as well as between Oxford and Banbury

CrossCountry services

  • Trains will continue to run trains between Didcot Parkway and Reading/Bournemouth
  • Trains from Birmingham will terminate at Leamington Spa from Sunday 30 July until 1315 on Friday 4 August
  • On Saturday 29 July, and from 1315 Saturday 5 to Sunday 6 August, trains from Birmingham will terminate at Banbury
  • Replacement buses will run between Didcot Parkway and Banbury/Leamington Spa to connect with trains

Chiltern Railways services

  • Trains will continue to run between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway
  • Replacement buses from Oxford will connect with trains at Oxford Parkway

Our advice

  • Check carefully before travelling, departure times may be different to normal
  • Journey times on diverted trains or replacement buses will be extended so allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination
  • Consider starting your journey from a different station. Trains towards London run direct from Didcot Parkway and Oxford Parkway and these stations have plenty of car parking spaces

Replacement buses

Avoiding Oxford

Route Frequency End-to-end journey time
Didcot Parkway – Hanborough Hourly 40 minutes
Didcot Parkway – Leamington Spa1 (non-stop, operated by CrossCountry) Hourly 1 hour 25 minutes
Didcot Parkway – Banbury ( non-stop, operated by CrossCountry) Hourly 1 hour 5 minutes

To/from Oxford

Route Frequency End-to-end journey time
Leamington Spa2 – Banbury – Oxford (operated by CrossCountry) Hourly 2 hours
Banbury – Kings Sutton – Heyford – Tackley – Oxford Every 2 hours (Mon-Sat)
3 journeys a day (Sun)
1 hour 10 minutes
Hanborough – Oxford Hourly 35 minutes
Didcot Parkway – Oxford (non-stop) Every 20 minutes 45 minutes
Didcot Parkway – Appleford3 – Culham3 – Radley – Oxford Hourly 65 minutes
Oxford Parkway – Oxford (operated by Chiltern Railways) Every 30 minutes 20 minutes

1Buses run to/from Leamington Spa from Sunday 30 July to 13:15 on Friday 4 August

2Buses run to/from Leamington Spa on Saturday 29 July and from 13:15 on Saturday 5 to Sunday 6 August

3No Sunday service from this station

Where to catch our replacement buses

Buses will depart from the following locations:

Station Bus stop location
Appleford Unmarked bus stops in the village on B4016 near the notice board and post box
Banbury Front of the station
Culham By the steps at the rear of the Railway Inn on the old road
Didcot Parkway Short-stay car park
Hanborough Station car park
Heyford Front of the station
Kings Sutton Kings Sutton village square, near The White Horse
Leamington Spa The bus stop on Old Warwick Road (outside station)
Oxford Beckett Street car park
Oxford Parkway Front of the station
Radley Bus stops on Foxborough Road, near the Boyer Arms
Tackley Bus stops on Medcroft Road by the grass triangle

Have any questions about our replacement buses?

Some of our replacement bus routes for these works cover a large distance so it’s important to know what to expect when travelling on these services.

Please visit our Replacement Buses page for all the information you need, including:

  • Types of replacement buses we operate
  • Travelling with animals, bikes, pushchairs or large items of luggage
  • On-board facilities
  • Changing between train and bus
  • Accessibility

Help with your journey

If you are not able to travel on our replacement services, an accessible taxi can be arranged for you. You can do this by:

  • booking in advance at
  • speaking to a member of staff at the station on the day of travel*
  • use the Help Point available at all of our stations on the day of travel*

*please allow additional time as an accessible taxi may not be available immediately. Booking in advance is the best way to ensure a smooth journey.

Nuneham Viaduct repair works

Due to emergency repair works, the line between Didcot Parkway and Oxford is currently closed to trains. Replacement buses are operating between these stations. Visit our dedicated page for more details.

Unfortunately, the upgrade work due to take place in July/August could not be carried out whilst Nuneham Viaduct is under repair. Engineering works are usually planned many years and months in advance and are unable to be rescheduled for short-notice events.

Further information

For more specific information on the works or other train operators, please use the following links:

Still have questions?

If there is something you would like to ask us, get in touch with our team on social media, on Facebook or Twitter.