THE first designs for a new railway station in Oxford have been revealed.

Futuristic images have been released by Oxford Science Park showing how a station on the site could look.

In what would be only the second station built in the city since 1935, it is envisaged that hundreds of commuters would use it daily to travel between central Oxford and the edge of Littlemore on the newly reopened Cowley Branch Line.

Oxford Mail:

Business leaders and MPs have long been pushing for the rail-line – currently used only twice a day by freight trains from the Mini factory – to open again to passengers.

A Government-backed report has called for it to open by 2019 but Chiltern Railways, which would run the service, has previously called this timetable ‘ambitious.’

Oxford Science Park believes the railway is vital to unlock its plans for a development known as the South Oxford Science Village.

This includes plans for 3,000 homes as well as new schools and infrastructure to support the growth of the campus – already home to more than 70 businesses.

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

Oxford Mail:

Picture created via Google Maps

Piers Scrimshaw-Wright, left, managing director of The Oxford Science Park, said: “Reopening of the Cowley Branch Line and development of a station at The Oxford Science Park will provide a significant boost to our future growth and a very credible and sustainable alternative transport option for our occupiers and visitors.”

Cowley councillor David Henwood, who represents Littlemore, said that there was much enthusiasm for the idea in the local area. 

The 3A bus that serves the estate currently stops at 8pm, leaving residents facing long walks or finding another way of getting home. 

Mr Henwood said there was a real need to boost public transport links to the estate. 

He added: “Everybody I have spoken to is keen to see it reopened. 

“Some of the older residents remember being able to use it before it shut, even being able to go as far as Bournemouth on trains leaving from the station.

“Public transport to Littlemore is currently poor - we have lots of bus stops but few buses - so this is a real opportunity to make it easier for us to get into Oxford.”

But Reverend Andrew Bevan, the minister at Littlemore Baptist Church, said it will depend on the frequency and cost of trains whether residents choose to use it.

He added: “It will have a lot of competition with people able to use bikes, taxis and buses to get to the city. 

“And, once at Oxford Station, it is still a long walk to get to the centre itself so it remains to be seen if it will save us time.

“It would only really benefit me if it was extended and I could travel direct to London or further afield.”

Potential new train stations, services and routes across Oxfordshire are being looked at as part of a Government-funded study with the ‘feasibility work’ required for the Cowley Branch Line progressing as part of this.

In 2014, a temporary stop was erected at Oxford Science Park for a passenger service transporting business leaders and politicians to demonstrate how easily it would be to re-open the line. 

It was hoped that a limited service could be running by 2019 but it remains to be seen if this is still realistic.

Rory Maw, the bursar of Magdalen College, which owns The Oxford Science Park said: “South Oxford Science Village offers a unique opportunity to create a vibrant new community, with affordable new homes where they are most needed: adjacent to public transport, with easy access to the existing road network and close to where people work. 

“Re-opening the Cowley Branch Line to passengers makes it an even more compelling proposition.”

When asked about whether the line was still on-track for a 2019 opening, a spokeswoman for Chiltern Railways declined to answer.

She said: “Chiltern is working closely with the Oxfordshire Rail Connectivity Study, which is looking at the development of the rail network in the area. 

“We are happy to work with all stakeholders to support delivery of passenger services on the Cowley line.”