Network Rail and the Department for Transport (DfT) have been urged to ‘think big’ by campaigning group Railfuture, after funding was announced to redevelop Oxford railway station.

The DfT has approved a £69 million plan to add a fifth platform and new Western entrance to the station, requiring a replacement of the Botley Road bridge.

This will enable a new rail service to Milton Keynes to start by 2025, as part of East West Rail’s plans to reconnect Oxford with Cambridge.

Plans to develop the revamp will be funded by cash from the DfT which is mainly aimed at improving the capacity of the station.

Dave Richardson, spokesman for the Thames Valley branch of Railfuture has called for DfT to ‘think big’.

Read also: £69m pledged to new Oxford railway station entrance and upgrades

Mr Richardson said: “With two major new rail routes added in a decade – Marylebone via Bicester and High Wycombe in 2016, and Milton Keynes via Bicester by 2025 – Oxford is playing a leading role in the regeneration of Britain’s railways.

"There is probably nowhere else in the country that can boast two new rail routes in less than a decade, but let’s continue to build on that. Re-opening the Cowley branch to passengers, as proposed by Chiltern Trains, would be another important step."

Railfuture has also published plans for an ‘Oxford Metro’ network of local trains and trams that could be created in the longer term, which could include re-establishing a rail link between Oxford and Witney and opening new stations.

“We know there are significant funding challenges and also capacity issues with the existing rail network, despite the extra platform at Oxford station," Mr Richardson continued.

“But let’s think big and start the conversation now, or we will have no chance of hitting our carbon reduction targets.”