A long-awaited update has been given on the fate of an important level crossing, but there are concerns that it has come too late and “has few specifics.”

East West Rail (EWR) released a route update report last Friday (May 26) sharing details of how it plans to overcome the adverse effects of increased train passing at London Road level crossing in Bicester, once work is complete on the new rail line between Oxford and Cambridge.

READ MORE: London Road crossing to stay open following an agreement

Building on feedback given during EWR’s 2021 consultation, which presented six concepts aimed at allowing vehicles, walkers and cyclists to continue to pass from one side of town to another, the company has now narrowed its scope to three ideas.

EWR will now investigate the potential to maintain the existing crossing at London Road for local traffic, the possibility of a new road bridge south or east of the London Road level crossing and allowing accessible routes to cross the railway for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised traffic.

CEO of EWR Beth West said: “Quick reliable public transport linking Oxford to Cambridge continues to have widespread local support and our updated proposals, including those for the London Road level crossing in Bicester, have been shaped by hundreds of conversations we’ve had with local people, businesses and other stakeholders and the thousands of responses we received to our most recent public consultation.”

Despite being pleased with the update, Councillor for the Otmoor division in Bicester Calum Miller is concerned about the timeframe for delivering a more detailed proposal.

He said: “Time is against us. It took two years to publish a response to the consultation that has few specifics.

“Yet EWR want to open the line through Bicester in 2025. We can’t wait until summer 2024 to see detailed proposals in a statutory consultation.”

Victoria Prentis echoed Mr Miller’s gratitude for the update, but again expressed some concerns.

She said: “I welcome any proposal which keeps the London Road crossing open for local traffic and does not cut Bicester in half.

“However, it is important that the possible impacts of a new bridge at another location are properly assessed.”

Mrs Prentis will be speaking to Ms West this week to further discuss the proposals.

Options put forward by EWR for maintaining connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians included an accessible overbridge, either at or near the current crossing or at another locations, or an underpass at or near the crossing.

George Bennett, Chair of Bicester Bike Users Group said: “EWR have finally, and very belatedly, recognised the clear case for a pedestrian and cycle underpass at London Road.

“This is a crucial corridor for large numbers of walkers and bike users and an underpass is going to be the only accessible solution.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1