DESIGNS for a new train station have already been drawn up as business leaders and MPs push for Oxford's Cowley Branch Line to be reopened next year.

A Government-backed report called for the rail line to be reopened for passenger services in 2019 and a £300,000 study into how it could happen was also commissioned.

Chiltern Railways said the timescale was 'ambitious' but the Oxford Mail can reveal plans for a new station at Oxford Science Park have already been drawn up as part of an architectural competition.

The scheme could also include another station at Oxford Business Park with journeys into the city taking less than ten minutes.

Oxford Mail: Cowley Branch Line - Google Maps

The park's managing director, Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, said: "The park had no new developments for around ten years but we turned the tap on last year with the new Schrodinger building.

"Other cities have been better at attracting investment in recent year but Oxford is now much better placed.

He added: "We need better public transport links, which would come through the Cowley Branch Line and plans for a new station here.

"There is a good bus service but it's not enough - it needs to be smarter and based on demand."

If services were to begin next year it would most likely be at a limited capacity but would increase as infrastructure improved.

The National Infrastructure Commission report said Cowley and East Oxford were already developing quickly and had the potential to grow further – but that growth was under threat if rapid work to reopen the line did not start soon.

The park, which has more than 70 businesses, could soon have more than 100 firms on site with two new buildings on the horizon.

But the majority of the 2,500 employees on the site drive to work every morning.

Lee Bryant, managing director of Sesui, a cloud communications firm based at the park, said: "The issues we are facing are around housing and infrastructure.

"Oxford has become as expensive as London due to a lack of housing and as people get older and want to start families they are moving further away.

"More than half of my workforce live over an hour away and everyone drives - we need the infrastructure and the train service to the park."

Oxford Mail:

The first journey on the prospective Cowley Branch line, stopping at Oxford Science Park. Ian Hudspeth and Chiltern Railways MD Rob Brighouse in November 2014.

The branch line has not been used by passenger services since 1963 after British Railways closed the Oxford to Princes Risborough line.

But the track remains and is currently used by BMW for freight.

Last week Oxfordshire Growth Board noted the Government's desire for a rail connectivity study and the reopening of the line and said it was a 'vital project.'

The board said it was part of a wider strategic vision including the Oxford Station redevelopment and East-West Rail linking Oxford and Cambridge.

But Oxford East MP, Anneliese Dodds, said linking the east of the city by rail was now most pressing.

She said: "It's really exciting to see the expansion of Oxford Science Park, it will be fantastic for the city.

"But we need to get the infrastructure right as well - I have long been asking for the reopening of the Cowley Branch Line to passenger services.

"I will really be pushing for this now as it's so important for the future of the city."

The shadow minister for science and innovation, Chi Onwurah, who visited the park earlier this week, said it was 'ridiculous' there was no train service linking the park and Oxford with Cambridge.

The Labour MP was shown the potential designs and backed the calls from business leaders to reopen the line to facilitate growth.

Dave Penney, managing director of Chiltern Railways - which would run the service, welcomed the proposals back in November.

He said: "The timescales are ambitious, but we would be happy to work with the National Infrastructure Commission, Network Rail and other relevant local stakeholders to support delivery of passenger services on the Cowley line."