The redevelopment of the Oxford station, which is one of the busiest stations in the south of England, will support increased freight and passenger services and bring faster journeys to better serve passengers.
Work on the project is expected to begin in September 2022 and is scheduled for completion in 2024.
Network Rail is undertaking the project, with support from the UK Government’s Department of Transport (DfT) and the Oxford City Council, with funding of £161m ($194.2m).
The project is part of the Oxford Corridor Phase 2 project, which is being undertaken to improve the rail network in the Oxfordshire region and increase passenger and freight services.
Oxford Station redevelopment project background
Oxford station witnessed approximately 8.7 million passenger journeys a year during the pre-pandemic period.
The Oxfordshire region has recorded significant growth in passenger numbers, with journeys to and from Oxford over the last ten years increasing by 63%, which is more than the national average of 42%. The station also ranked third worst in terms of passenger satisfaction among 56 stations, as per the 2018 National Rail Passenger Survey.
The redevelopment project is being undertaken as rail infrastructure at the station area has reached full capacity and will not be able to support the planned increase in services of three additional passenger trains per hour by 2024.
Furthermore, the existing timetable requires trains to be stopped outside the station and the services have long turnaround times in the bay platforms. Pedestrian flows are also expected to increase by 2024, which may lead to crowding, especially on the footbridge between Platforms 3 and 4.
Oxford station redevelopment project details
The existing station includes the main station building, north and south bound platforms, two bay platforms, two through lines for freight and non-stopping trains, and associated buildings and structures, along with a station forecourt with taxis and a bus interchange. The majority of the station improvements will take place on the station’s western side surroundings.
The west side of the existing Oxford station will be rebuilt and reconfigured by building a new track and island Platform 5, next to the existing Platform 4, to accommodate the new train services.
A new entrance next to Botley Road bridge that will link to the new platform will also be built. The entrance building will be a linear and frame-like gateway building that spans above a quad-inspired plaza, creating a high-quality urban public realm.
The new entrance will relieve pressure from the existing entrance, thereby improving passenger flows and reducing walking times for passengers living on the western side of the station. The east side main entrance and secondary entrance, including Platforms 1, 2, and 3, will remain unchanged.
The entrance has been designed to cater to approximately 20% of the station users. The latest enhancements will be compliant with the existing platforms and station evacuation norms, resulting in enhanced pedestrian flow.
New toilets and baby rooms will be built at Platforms 4 and 5. New lifts and stairs will also be installed between the western entrance and platforms.
The Botley Road bridge will be replaced and upgraded, creating additional height clearance, which will allow standard size double-decker buses to pass underneath the bridge for the first time. A 4m cycle/footway will be also built on each side to encourage walking, cycling, and sustainable transport.
The work includes the demolition of buildings surrounding the station, road alignment works at Roger Dudman Way, the Sheepwash Bridge replacement, and road safety improvement at Botley Road junction.
Roger Dudman Way will be realigned to create a safer road layout for junctions with Botley Road.
The project received £72.7m ($96.18m) towards the final design and enabling works from Oxford City Council. It was granted £78.6m ($94.80m) in August 2022 by the UK Government.
Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), an organisation that fosters economic development in Oxfordshire, announced a contribution of £10.5m ($12.66m) towards the project.
IDOM, an architecture firm based in Spain, was selected by Network Rail in November 2021 to design the Oxford station, as part of the Design Services Framework (DSF).
Kier Group, a construction company based in the UK, was contracted by Network Rail in March 2022 for design and enabling works at the railway station under a contract worth £65m ($84.76m). WSP, an engineering services company based in Canada, will serve as Kier’s strategic design partner for the project.
Network Rail selected
The masterplan for the station was developed by AHR, an architectural and building consultancy company.
SYSTRA, an engineering and consulting company based in France, was contracted to develop and manage a contaminated land strategy by Network Rail.
The project is expected to bring significant economic and strategic benefits to both freight and passenger services. It will increase the capacity at the station and improve connectivity across the region, including Banbury, Birmingham, and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
The project will support future electrification, brining savings through asset management/maintenance, improve pedestrian flow across the station, and add road safety. It will also enable freight services, equivalent to approximately 500 lorries per day, creating supply chain resilience and supporting sustainable transportation.