“Ambitious” plans to reopen the railway line in Cowley next year have moved a step closer.
Oxford’s Cowley Branch Line is currently open to freight traffic serving the BMW plant, but plans to reopen the rail line to passenger services at two new stations could happen as early as 2019.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford Christine Simm said “people would welcome” the opening of the railway in Cowley and that “it’s a really good move”.
She said: “Anything that improves connectivity in the city is excellent, so I’m very much in favour of it and think that it’s very exciting.
“Maybe lots of people don’t realise that the line is still there, but it is and it can be brought into use.”
Councillor Simm added that she did not know for certain what the impact on commuter traffic would be, but said “it could well help to ease congestion”.
“It could take 10 minutes to get into the centre of town, which would be good because it takes longer than that now obviously and it’s good for people working on the business park as they can get in and out of town quicker.”
Stations could be opened at Oxford Business Park and Oxford Science Park.
Dan Williams, development director for Oxford Business Park, said: “We have worked with Chiltern Railways since this project’s inception.
“In our view, receiving the investment required would be a game changer for Oxford and deliver really powerful returns by creating a truly multi-modal travel framework for the city.”
Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, managing director at Oxford Science Park, said he was “pleased” with the increased support for the line which he believes “will have a major impact on job creation and inward investment”.
A government report published in November 2017 proposed opening the service to Cowley by next year before completion of the East-West Rail line connecting Oxford and Cambridge.
The National Infrastructure Commission report said completion of the new rail service by 2030 was central to plans for creating vibrant new towns to ease the housing shortage.
A spokesperson for Chiltern Railways said: “We welcome the proposals set out in the NIC report.
“The timescales are ambitious, but we would be happy to work with the NIC, Network Rail and other relevant stakeholders to support delivery of passenger services on the Cowley line.”
The station at Watlington Road, Cowley, closed to passenger services in 1969.