Bicester Village railway station
Bicester Village (2015–present, previously Bicester Town 1987–2014, Bicester London Road 1954–1968, Bicester 1850–1954) is one of two railway stations serving the town of Bicester in Oxfordshire (the other is Bicester North). It is 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Oxford on the Oxford-Bedford line[a] 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.
Class 168s at Bicester Village
|Local authority||Cherwell District|
|Managed by||Chiltern Railways|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|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 Rail – UK railway stations|
|* 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.|
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, which ran from a junction to the west of Winslow (at a point which became known as Verney Junction) to Islip, opened on 1 October 1850, and this included a station at Bicester. (At its maximum extent, the line extended from Oxford to Cambridge and thus became known as the Varsity line). Originally named "Bicester", the station was renamed "Bicester London Road" in March 1954, although the nameboards were not altered until 20 September 1954.
The station was closed, along with the rest of the Oxford–Bletchley section of the Varsity Line, on 1 January 1968. However, the station was used by several excursion trains through the 1970s and 1980s.
Network SouthEast reopened the station as "Bicester Town" on 11 May 1987, 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". Since then, operation of the line has been transferred from FGW to Chiltern Railways.
Since 1987, the frequency of trains has varied and passenger numbers have fluctuated accordingly. In the four years 2007–2011, more frequent trains led to an increase in the total number of passengers using Bicester Town by 258%.
In August 2008, Chiltern Railways announced a proposal to build a new 1⁄4 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.
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 Monday-to-Thursday, 12 on Fridays, 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. It was later amended to 2015.
2014 closure for rebuild, 2015 reopeningEdit
The last trains ran late on 14 February 2014 before the station was closed to allow upgrade of the line between Oxford and Bicester. The reopening, first planned for May 2015, was delayed until 25 October 2015 with the official ceremony the following day.
On 12 March 2015, Chiltern Railways announced that it would rename the station Bicester Village after the nearby designer retail outlet. This change has been seen as controversial by many who live in Bicester who thought that it had taken place without proper consultation.
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, and ticket machines provided.
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.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
London Marylebone – Oxford
or Princes Risborough
|Oxford Parkway||East West Rail
Reading – Bedford or Milton Keynes
Line open, station closed
|London and North Western Railway
Line and station closed
As of December 2016[update], 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 East West Rail is running, an hourly Oxford—Bedford service and half-hourly Oxford–Milton Keynes Central service are planned, bringing the total number of trains to Oxford to five per hour, several times the service frequency it had before rebuilding.
- Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (July 2005). Oxford to Bletchley. Country Railway Routes. Midhurst: Middleton Press. Historical background. ISBN 1-904474-57-8.
- Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 33. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
- Mitchell & Smith 2005, fig. 50
- "Oxford to Bicester, Banbury and Worcester". First Great Western.
- Butt 1995, pp. 33–34
- The Bicester Link Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Office of the Rail Regulator data: 04/05, 50,197; 05/06, 48,685; 06/07, 43,950; 07/08, 51,902; 08/09, 59,964; 09/10, 105,000; 10/11, 157,000.
- "Chiltern gets go-ahead for second Oxford-London rail link". The Oxford Times. Newsquest. 18 October 2012.
- "Chiltern to take over Bicester – Oxford trains". RAIL (664): 25. 23 February – 8 March 2011.
- "Bicester – Oxford". Chiltern Railways. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014.
- "Last train to run on Oxford to Bicester line before revamp". BBC News Oxford. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- "Chiltern Railway". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
- "Keen passengers board the first trains to leave Oxford Parkway". Witney Gazette. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- "Bicester Village station structure complete". BBC News. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- "October 2015 timetable | Chiltern Railways". www.chilternrailways.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- "Bicester Town station rebranded as Bicester Village". BBC Online. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- "Bicester Town station to be renamed Bicester Village after Chiltern Railways decision". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
- Personal email from a site engineer
- As of 2018[update], this line terminates at the Chiltern Main line pending reinatement work between Bicester and Bletchley.