Rail barriers down 24 minutes per hour

Bicester railway level crossings.London Road.'100901M-A061
Bicester railway level crossings.London Road.'100901M-A061

DRIVERS using London Road in Bicester could be waiting for 24 minutes every hour once the new rail service to Oxford and London Marylebone is running.

Details of level crossing closures were revealed at a presentation to Bicester Town Council’s planning committee on Wednesday.

Councillor James Porter asked Chiltern Railways representative Steve Barker: “Local people are interested in the level crossing on London Road – have you got any idea how long it will be closed per hour?” Mr Barker responded: “It will be 24 minutes in an hour. But as part of the Transport and Work Act modelling, the computer simulation showed tailbacks don’t build up that much – it will be in short sections of two minutes.

“Some people will be inconvenienced, but will typically wait up to two minutes. Four minutes is the worst case.”

The presentation came as Chiltern Railway announces major changes to its Evergreen 3 project to create a new Oxford to London Marylebone service via Bicester. The project, which has faced years of delay due to a public inquiry and a new legal challenge, is now to be combined with the East-West Rail link joining Bicester with towns such as Milton Keynes and Bedford.

The combined project could have a price tag nearing £500million.

Mr Barker said Bicester Town station would be getting “a fair bit of attention” under the plans.

New facilities could include a coffee shop, toilets, and a canopy to protect passengers from the elements. Extra parking and road improvements are also likely to be included.

Plans shown on Wednesday revealed a second entrance to the station from London Road to remove the temptation for drivers to jump the level crossing if they are late for a train.

Bus stops on London Road would also be moved, and a new pedestrian crossing would be installed on the town centre side of the road.

Mr Barker also denied rumours the station would be renamed Bicester Village station. Chairman of the planning committee, Councillor Richard Mould, said: “Speaking for all electors, we would prefer the name to stay as Bicester Town station.”