AS PART of an effort to open a train station at Cowley, the Government will give £300,000 to co-fund a study which will look into how new stations, services and routes across Oxfordshire can be developed. 

It is another part of the National Infrastructure Commission’s report which was given approval by the Chancellor yesterday – but the Government has not set any dates for when the development should be completed. 

The NIC, in a report released last week, said rail passengers should be back on the revived Cowley Branch Line by 2019 or Oxford’s future economic growth would risk being stalled.

Chiltern Railways, which operates services between Oxford, Bicester and London Marylebone, said it supported the ‘ambitious’ timescale to get trains running through Cowley within two years and that it will work with other operators to get that on track if it is possible. 

Further funding will also be spent on completing the East West Rail link by 2024. Its western branch starts in Oxford and it will provide a direct route to Cambridge, Bedford and Milton Keynes. 

The Treasury announced funding will be made available for Network Rail to improve the line, bringing new routes for passengers travelling from Bicester to Bedford and from Milton Keynes to Princes Risborough, with the first passenger services to be running in 2023, and for the project to be fully running by 2024.

Councillor Mark Shaw, the chairman of East West Rail’s western section board, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement is a real cause for celebration for all those who have been campaigning for East West Rail over more than 20 years, and, of course, all of our residents and businesses who will greatly benefit from the improved connectivity and economic opportunities the line will bring.”

The Oxford part of the East West Rail project was opened by Chiltern Railways between the city and London Marylebone via Bicester in December 2016.