Oxford City Council leader Susan Brown joined local MP Anneliese Dodds to walk the Cowley Branch Line to highlight the potential of the route to provide passenger services.
The Cowley Branch Line is a local rail line currently only used for freight to and from the BMW plant at Cowley. Oxford City Council and a range of local partners are keen to see the line opened for passenger use as well, providing a fast, reliable and low-carbon transport link into the city centre. Network Rail is currently undertaking a study into the feasibility of opening passenger services on the line. Government committed £300,000 of funding to support this work.
Last month Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council announced proposals to tackle congestion on all major routes into Oxford and improve public transport links into and across some parts of the city.
“Cowley Branch Line is a working rail route, but currently not open for passengers. We want to see better rail connectivity into and through Oxford to help tackle congestion and provide fast, low-carbon transport. Opening the Cowley Branch Line to passengers will support BMW Mini, the Oxford Business Park, Oxford Science Park and connectivity for East Oxford residents and businesses.
“The City and County Councils are taking bold measures to address transport issues in Oxford, and our proposals to tackle congestion in the next couple of years would transform road travel into the city. Better rail connectivity will help us take that further faster, reducing pollution, speeding up journey times and increasing passenger capacity across public transport.
“An upgraded Oxford Station is a key piece in the jigsaw. It’s needed to enable the passenger services to run from Cowley. It is also vital for the new East-West rail link that will connect Oxford with Cambridge. There is a real opportunity to develop Oxford as a national rail hub and the global gateway to the city.”
Council Leader Susan Brown