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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.

Bicester Village National Rail
Bicester Village - Chiltern 168107+168325 London service.JPG
Class 168s at Bicester Village
Location
PlaceBicester
Local authorityCherwell District
Coordinates51°53′35″N 1°08′55″W / 51.8931°N 1.1485°W / 51.8931; -1.1485Coordinates: 51°53′35″N 1°08′55″W / 51.8931°N 1.1485°W / 51.8931; -1.1485
Grid referenceSP586219
Operations
Station codeBIT
Managed byChiltern Railways
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryF1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Decrease 0.208 million
2014/15Decrease 0.088 million
2015/16Increase 0.413 million
2016/17Increase 1.311 million
2017/18Increase 1.979 million
History
Original companyBuckinghamshire Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
1 October 1850Opened as "Bicester"
March 1954Renamed "Bicester London Road"
1 January 1968Closed
11 May 1987Reopened and renamed "Bicester Town"
15 February 2014Closed to rail traffic for line upgrade
12 March 2015Renamed "Bicester Village"
25 October 2015Reopened
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* 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.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK railways portal

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Bicester London Road with two platforms in 1961

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.[1][2] (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,[2] although the nameboards were not altered until 20 September 1954.[3]

There was another track in front of the platform, beside the passenger and freight running line. This was the long reversing siding for the Bicester Military Railway, serving the local MOD depot.[4]

1968 closureEdit

The station was closed, along with the rest of the Oxford–Bletchley section of the Varsity Line, on 1 January 1968.[2] However, the station was used by several excursion trains through the 1970s and 1980s.

1987 reopeningEdit

 
Bicester Town station in 1992.
 
Bicester Town station in 2010.

Network SouthEast reopened the station as "Bicester Town" on 11 May 1987,[5] 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".[6] 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%.[7]

In August 2008, Chiltern Railways announced a proposal to build a new 14 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.[8]

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.[9] It was later amended to 2015.

2014 closure for rebuild, 2015 reopeningEdit

The last trains ran late on 14 February 2014[10] before the station was closed to allow upgrade of the line between Oxford and Bicester. The reopening, first planned for May 2015,[11][12] was delayed until 25 October 2015 with the official ceremony the following day.[13][14][15]

On 12 March 2015, Chiltern Railways announced that it would rename the station Bicester Village after the nearby designer retail outlet.[16][17] This change has been seen as controversial by many who live in Bicester who thought that it had taken place without proper consultation.[18]

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.[19]

Station facilitiesEdit

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.[20]

ServicesEdit

 
A Chiltern Railways service to London Marylebone

The station is served by a half-hourly service between London Marylebone and Oxford.

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Islip or
Oxford Parkway
  Chiltern Railways
Oxford–Bicester line
London Marylebone – Oxford
  Haddenham and
Thame Parkway

or Princes Risborough
  Future services  
Oxford Parkway   East West Rail
Reading – Bedford or Milton Keynes
  Winslow
  Historical railways  
Wendlebury Halt
Line open, station closed
  London and North Western Railway
Varsity Line
  Launton
Line and station closed

Future servicesEdit

As of December 2016, 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 OxfordBedford service and half-hourly Oxford–Milton Keynes Central service are planned,[21] bringing the total number of trains to Oxford to five per hour, several times the service frequency it had before rebuilding.

ReferencesEdit

 
Work progressing on concrete supports for the station platforms, March 2015
  1. ^ Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (July 2005). Oxford to Bletchley. Country Railway Routes. Midhurst: Middleton Press. Historical background. ISBN 1-904474-57-8.
  2. ^ a b c Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 33. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  3. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2005, fig. 50
  4. ^ "Oxford to Bicester, Banbury and Worcester". First Great Western.
  5. ^ Butt 1995, pp. 33–34
  6. ^ The Bicester Link Archived 23 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Chiltern gets go-ahead for second Oxford-London rail link". The Oxford Times. Newsquest. 18 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Chiltern to take over Bicester – Oxford trains". RAIL (664): 25. 23 February – 8 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Bicester – Oxford". Chiltern Railways. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014.
  11. ^ "Last train to run on Oxford to Bicester line before revamp". BBC News Oxford. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Chiltern Railway". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Keen passengers board the first trains to leave Oxford Parkway". Witney Gazette. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Bicester Village station structure complete". BBC News. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  15. ^ "October 2015 timetable | Chiltern Railways". www.chilternrailways.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Bicester Town station rebranded as Bicester Village". BBC Online. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Bicester Town station to be renamed Bicester Village after Chiltern Railways decision". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  18. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-31848702
  19. ^ http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/BIT/details.html
  20. ^ Personal email from a site engineer
  21. ^ [1]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ As of 2018, this line terminates at the Chiltern Main line pending reinatement work between Bicester and Bletchley.

External linksEdit