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Author Topic: London to the Cotswolds - General Information - updated July/August 2023  (Read 9265 times)
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« on: March 23, 2020, 12:41:23 pm »

New/altered text since last update in September 2021 is in BLUE

Name of Route

The North Cotswold Line (also known as The Cotswold Line, Cotswold & Malvern Line, Cotswolds & Malverns Line, and historically as part of The Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton railway (OW&WR) also known as ‘The Old Worse and Worse’, and The Worcester & Hereford Railway).


From Oxford to Worcester, and on Hereford via Great Malvern.
Double track infrastructure, except for single track sections between Wolvercote Junction and Charlbury Junction, Evesham West Junction and Norton Junction, Worcester Shrub Hill and Henwick, Malvern Wells and Ledbury, and Ledbury and Shelwick Junction.

The line has several manual signalboxes and some still feature traditional semaphore signalling.  It has several engineering features and architecture, detailed later, and passes through attractive scenery, especially between Moreton-In-Marsh and Pershore (the Cotswolds and Vale of Evesham), and between Malvern Link and Ledbury (the Malverns).

A map of the route can be found attached to the end of this post, which shows the route highlighted complete with other passenger railway lines in the immediate area in blue, freight lines in red and historical routes and stations in grey.  Image used with permission of owner Richard Fairhurst, taken from his amazing New Adlestrop Railway Atlas available at:

A cab ride of the entire route from Paddington to Hereford in Ultra HD, filmed during 2020, can be found here:


The line between Oxford and Worcester was built under an 1845 Act of Parliament and opened in 1851 as part of the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway.  The first stage of the Worcester and Hereford Railway opened between Henwick and Malvern Link on 25 July 1859. The bridge over the River Severn was approved for traffic the following year, and trains started running through from Malvern Link to Worcester Shrub Hill station on 17 May 1860. A short extension from Malvern Link to Malvern Wells opened on 25 May 1860.  On 13 September 1861 the final stage of the railway opened between Malvern Wells and Shelwick Junction. This junction is 1.75 miles north of Hereford station on the line between Hereford and Shrewsbury (which had opened in 1853) and it finally created a through route between Worcester and Hereford.

A replacement tunnel at Colwall was constructed in the mid-1920s as the original was not adequate and had been closed on several occasions.

Ten smaller stations on the line between Oxford and Worcester, and nine between Worcester and Hereford closed during the middle of the 20th Century, almost all during 1965 or 1966, as did a number of other routes leading off of the line, with stations that were formerly junctions including Kingham, Moreton-In-Marsh, Honeybourne, Great Malvern and Ledbury.  Also, at Evesham there were two stations alongside each other, the existing one and The Midland Railway one serving the Barnt Green to Ashchurch line.  For many years there was only an exchange siding connection between the two. In the 1950s a running connection was made, to enable Honeybourne – Cheltenham services to be diverted that way to Ashchurch.  The line from Honeybourne to Stratford-Upon-Avon still exists as a freight only route linking the storage and manufacturing facility at Long Marston.
Honeybourne station was a late casualty, closing in 1969, but it was not long until it reopened in 1981.

In 1971 double track was removed in various places, leaving a single track railway between Wolvercote Junction and Ascott-Under-Wychwood, and all the way from Moreton-In-Marsh to Norton Junction, save for a passing loop at Evesham.  Token working was introduced over two sections between Moreton-In-Marsh and Evesham and Evesham and Norton Junction, with machines installed in cabinets on the platform.  This was adequate throughout the 1970s and 1980s – indeed, in the 1970s there was a real threat of closure due to a lack of funds to maintain the route. But when passengers started to flock back to the railway in the 1990s, services were slowly added to the timetable and the single track sections soon became very constrictive in coping with growing demand, with the maximum number of trains operating not enough to cope effectively.  It often took hours to fully recover from knock-on delays caused by one initial delayed train.

Following serious floods, which washed parts of embankments away between Kingham and Moreton-In-Marsh, the line was closed for about a fortnight during July and August 2007 for repairs.

Increasing traffic finally saw some improvements authorised in 2008, and major works started in 2009 to re-double the 4 miles from Charlbury to Ascott-Under-Wychwood, and the long section of almost 16 miles between Moreton-In-Marsh and west of Evesham through Campden Tunnel.  This left single track sections at either end of the line from Wolvercote Junction to Charlbury, and from Evesham to Norton Junction and much improved punctuality and the ability to recover from delays.  Token working was removed at the same time, and new platforms built at Charlbury, Ascott-Under-Wychwood, and Honeybourne.  The newly redoubled sections opened in June 2011 (Charlbury to Ascott) and August 2011 (Moreton-Evesham).

Platform lengthening took place at several locations during 2018 and 2019 to help support the new Class 800/2 trains now predominantly serving the route.

In 2020, Worcestershire Parkway station was the first new brand new station to open on the line since Combe in 1935. In January 2017, WCC (Wiltshire County Council (Until March 2009))'s plans for Worcestershire Parkway were approved by the DfT» (Department for Transport - about). In February 2017, clearance work on the site began, and Worcestershire County Council appointed Buckingham Group Contracting as the developer as part of a design and build deal. Construction work finally began in early 2018, with a planned opening date in 2019. In November 2019, it was announced that the station would open on 15 December 2019. This was later pushed back to an unspecified time "early in the New Year." In January 2020, it was announced that the station would be further delayed but opening was expected 'well before' the May timetable change.  It eventually opened in February 2020, and as well as acting as a Parkway station, acts as an interchange with services on the CrossCountry route between Cardiff and Nottingham that stop on the low level platforms.

Also in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an emergency timetable on the route as passenger numbers fell by as much as 90-95% of normal levels across the railway industry.  From Monday March 23rd GWR (Great Western Railway) ran roughly an hourly service between Paddington and Worcester Shrub Hill or Foregate Street calling at the usual stations.  One train served Shipton per day in one direction only.  No trains served Combe, Finstock, or Ascott-Under-Wychwood.  Two evening trains continued on from Worcester to Great Malvern, but these were the only trains on the route beyond Worcester Foregate Street, as West Midlands Railway operated a shuttle bus service between Worcester and Hereford.

The emergency timetable was enhanced on Monday 18th May with GWR services from Paddington still running hourly, but extending to Great Malvern and Hereford on a similar frequency as the normal timetable.  The service at Shipton remained one train per day in one direction, and Combe, Finstock and Ascott-Under-Wychwood still remained without any services.  WMR resumed operating trains between Hereford and Worcester at the usual hourly levels of service, but their usual services from Great Malvern via Worcester to Kidderminster only ran from Worcester Shrub Hill onwards.  Similarly GWR services from Great Malvern via Cheltenham only ran from Worcester Foregate Street (and only twice per day), though passengers from Gloucester/Cheltenham to Worcester had the option of travelling via Worcestershire Parkway.

Further enhancements happened in early July, with the resumption of the ‘Halts’ train serving Combe, Finstock and Ascott as well as providing a more useable service at Shipton.

A largely normal timetable resumed in September with just a slight reduction to some late evening services, though passenger numbers remained low, especially when a further national lockdown was introduced in early November.  And in late January a few more services cuts were introduced to support a third wave of the virus, before the largely normal timetable resumed again.  Passenger numbers rose quite quickly when restrictions were largely removed during summer 2021.

In 2023 there were two significant infrastructure issues causing disruption.  Firstly in February a retaining wall for a bridge collapsed between Wolvercote Junction and Hanborough, which damaged a train that struck the rubble.  The line was closed for 12 days with services suspended between Oxford and Hanborough (and occasionally Moreton-In-Marsh) whilst repairs were made.

Then in early April Nuneham Bridge over the River Thames south of Radley became unsafe after being troublesome for quite some time due to the southern abutment slowly sinking into the ground.  The line was closed for over two months whilst major works were undertaken.  During that time North Cotswold Line services ran as far as Oxford with bus connections to Didcot for onward travel, or passengers could use the Chiltern Railways service between Oxford and London Marylebone.

Early summer in 2023 saw the introduction into service of West Midlands Railway’s new Class 196 'Civity' units on services between Hereford and Birmingham.


From Oxford, these are the stations currently open via Worcester to Hereford, together with their station code, date of opening and latest estimated annual passenger usage before COVID-19 reduced passenger numbers (2018/9), the number of platforms, and who manages it.

Oxford – OXF» (Oxford - next trains) (Opened 1852, replacing original station on another site from 1844).  Annual usage: 8,270,486.  Number of platforms: 4.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Hanborough – HND (Opened 1853).  Annual usage: 224,290.  Number of platforms: 1.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Combe – CME (Opened 1935).  Annual usage: 2,722.  Number of platforms: 1.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Finstock – FIN (Opened 1934).  Annual usage: 1,714.  Number of platforms: 1.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Charlbury – CBY (Opened 1853).  Annual usage: 285,784.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Ascott-Under-Wychwood – AUW (Opened as Ascott in 1853).  Annual usage: 2,638.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Shipton –SIP (Opened 1853).  Annual usage: 4,524.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Kingham – KGM (Opened as Chipping Norton Junction in 1855).  Annual usage: 181,790.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Moreton-In-Marsh – MIM (Opened 1853).  Annual usage: 273,018.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Honeybourne – HYB (Originally opened 1853, closed 1969, and reopened 1981).  Annual usage: 66,612.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Evesham – EVE (Opened 1852).  Annual usage: 234,006.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Pershore – PSH (Opened 1852).  Annual usage: 94,844.  Number of platforms: 1.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Worcestershire Parkway – WOP (Opened 2020).  Annual usage:  New station, no usage figures available yet.  Number of platforms: 3.  Managed by Great Western Railway.
Worcester Shrub Hill – WOS» (Worcester Shrub Hill - next trains) (Opened 1850).  Annual usage: 806,636.  Number of platforms: 3.  Managed by West Midlands Railway.
Worcester Foregate Street – WOF (Opened 1860).  Annual usage: 2,071,468.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by West Midlands Railway.
Malvern Link – MVL (Opened 1859).  Annual usage: 355,256.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by West Midlands Railway.
Great Malvern – GMV (Opened 1860).  Annual usage: 531,124.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by West Midlands Railway.
Colwall – CWL (Opened 1861).  Annual usage: 62,146.  Number of platforms: 1.  Managed by West Midlands Railway.
Ledbury – LED (Opened 1861).  Annual usage: 218,822.  Number of platforms: 2.  Managed by West Midlands Railway.
Hereford – HFD» (Hereford - next trains) (Opened 1854).  Annual usage: 1,241,788.  Number of platforms: 4.  Managed by Transport for Wales.

Train Services – between Oxford and Worcester

Trains are operated by Great Western Railway (GWR) and generally run hourly between Oxford and Worcester Shrub Hill (which are through services from/to London Paddington), throughout the week with a couple of additional services during peak times on weekdays.  The general calling pattern after Oxford is Hanborough, Charlbury, Kingham, Moreton-In-Marsh, Honeybourne, Evesham, Pershore, Worcestershire Parkway and Worcester Shrub Hill, though a few daily trains omit Honeybourne, and the odd couple omit Pershore and Worcestershire Parkway.  The last service from London on weekdays only runs as far as Worcestershire Parkway.

As of May 2023, through services to/from London Paddington also call at Reading, except for one evening peak service from Paddington.  Occasional additional calls are made at Didcot Parkway (more on Sundays), and one London bound train stops at Maidenhead on weekday mornings and Slough late weekday evening.  On Saturdays one late evening London bound train stops and Slough and on Sundays one late evening London bound train stops at Maidenhead and Slough.  Radley is also a calling point on many Sunday services.

The typical journey time between Oxford and Worcester Shrub Hill is 75 minutes, and between London and Worcester Shrub Hill is 2h 10m, though some are slower and some are quicker.  The fastest scheduled journey time is 65 minutes between Worcester Shrub Hill and Oxford and 1h 57m between Worcester Shrub Hill and London.  Journeys from Hereford to Worcester Foregate Street generally take around 40 minutes, to Oxford in around two hours and through to London Paddington in between 2h 50m and 3h 10m.  Many services were sped up in the December 2019 timetable change, though the nature of the route means that average speeds are still quite low compared with many other main lines.

First departure from Worcester Shrub Hill to London is just gone 5am on weekdays, and the last departure is just before 11pm.  The first departure from London to Worcester Shrub Hill is just before 6am (though an earlier train does run between the two stations via Swindon), and the last departure is just before 10pm – though a service does run as far as Worcestershire Parkway an hour later.  There is also an early morning service to Worcester which starts at Oxford at just gone 5am.  Services start slightly later on Saturdays and later again on Sundays.

Virtually all trains to and from London also serve Worcester Foregate Street, with the majority also serving Malvern Link and Great Malvern.  Between three and four trains per day (depending on day of week and direction) operate beyond Malvern serving Hereford, calling at Colwall and Ledbury, there used to be one of two per day more, but services were cut back in May 2023.[/color]

There are also stations which have a much less frequent service at Combe, Finstock, Ascott-Under-Wychwood, and Shipton.  Shipton has five trains that call on weekdays (three from Oxford, and two towards Oxford), and eight on Saturdays (four in both directions), but no Sunday service.  Combe, Finstock, and Ascott-Under-Wychwood are served by just the one commuter service on weekdays towards Oxford in the morning, and from Oxford in the evening, sometimes referred to as the ‘Halts’ Train.  Those three stations have no services on Saturday and Sunday.

There are no regular freight flows on the route, except for several freight services using the short section between Norton Junction and Worcester Shrub Hill which are mostly steel trains operating between Margam (South Wales) and Round Oak (West Midlands).  There are also trains operating in and out of the facility at Long Marston which join the line at Honeybourne heading to and from Worcester.  These are usually empty stock moves for vehicles heading to and from storage, or test trains for train manufacturer Vivarail who are based at the facility.

Train Services – between Worcester, Malvern and Hereford

As well as the London to Malvern and Hereford service detailed above, GWR also operate hourly services between Bristol Temple Meads and Worcester Foregate Street.  One of those trains extends through to/from Great Malvern in the evening, but three of them only go as far as Worcester Shrub Hill.  These services join the North Cotswold Line at Norton Junction near Worcester.  This timetable was introduced in May 2023 doubling the number of trains between Bristol and Worcester, but at the expense of reducing the number of trains that ran through to/from Great Malvern from five per day to just one.  Also instead of running to/from Bristol, they used to operate to and from a variety of places south of Bristol including Westbury, Warminster, Southampton, Brighton and Weymouth.

West Midlands Railway (WMR) also operate a service between Worcester Foregate Street (and occasionally Shrub Hill) and Hereford, calling at all stations, which is part of a through service to/from Birmingham New Street via Droitwich, Bromsgrove and University.  This service usually runs on an hourly basis throughout the week, with slight variations at peak times on weekdays and on Sundays there are several gaps of two hours, especially earlier in the day.

WMR also operate a service from Worcester Foregate Street (which occasionally go via Shrub Hill) that’s part of a through service to/from Birmingham Moor Street via Dorridge, Kidderminster and Stourbridge.  Most continue beyond Birmingham Moor Street to Dorridge or Stratford-Upon-Avon.  Services generally run twice per hour on weekdays, but with the odd hourly gap.  A few of these trains also used to run to/from Great Malvern, but these have yet to resume following withdrawal over the Covid-19 period.

There are no regular freight flows on the route, other than the short section at the end of the route from Shelwick Junction to Hereford on the Welsh Marches Line, which also sees regular passenger services operated by Transport for Wales.

Rolling Stock

Great Western Railway (GWR) London to Oxford, Worcester, Malvern and Hereford services are operated with Hitachi Class 800 or Class 802 Bi-mode units in either 5 or 9-car configurations.  9-car services are generally used at peak times, and 5-car services at off-peak times, though this is not always the case.  These trains operate in ‘diesel mode’ along the whole North Cotswold Line, but operate in ‘electric mode’ between London and Didcot.

One daily weekday GWR services operate between Oxford and Worcester in each direction using a 2-car Class 165 Turbo, and one daily weekday services operates between Oxford and Moreton-In-Marsh in each direction using a 2-car Class 165 Turbo.  In one direction (‘up’ in the morning, and ‘down’ in the evening), these trains form the ‘Halts’ trains which run to/from Didcot Parkway.

GWR services operating up from the Bristol direction between Worcester Shrub Hill and Worcester Foregate Street (and occasionally Great Malvern) are operated by either Class 158 or Class 165/166 diesel units in 2 or 3-car formations, along with some 5-car IETs (Intercity Express Train) and occasionally Class 255 ‘Castle’ Class 2+4 trains are used.

West Midlands Railway (WMR) services between Worcester Foregate Street and Birmingham Moor Street/Dorridge/Stratford are usually operated with Class 172 DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit) in 2, 3, 4 or 5-car formations depending on the time of day.  Services between Hereford, Worcester and Birmingham New Street are usually operated by Class 172, or increasingly by the new 196 DMUs, which have replaced Class 150s, Class 153s and Class 170s in recent years.

Catering and Station Facilities

All of the GWR services to and from London should have an at-seat trolley service and an aim to offer a First Class at-seat service on trains starting their journey on weekdays between 06:00 and 19:30.

None of the other GWR services, or any of the WMR services have any catering, but outlets are available at the larger stations en-route for at least part of the day, namely at Oxford, Kingham, Moreton-In-Marsh, Evesham, Worcester Shrub Hill, Worcester Foregate Street, Great Malvern, and Hereford.  Worcestershire Parkway should join that list soon once a tenant has been found.

Step free access for disabled passengers is available at most of the stations on route.  Exceptions are Kingham and Ledbury where access to the London bound platform is by steps only.  At Worcester Shrub Hill staff need to help passengers who cannot use steps if they need to get to or from Platform 2.  Some other stations have lengthy detours to get between platforms, Evesham is a good example where it is 400 metres platform to platform via a step free route.

All trains on the route comply with new access regulations, meaning at least one universal access toilet and wheelchair space is provided.  On the 5-car Class 800/2 trains, the wheelchair spaces are in first class, but standard class wheelchair passengers and their companions can use this area at no extra charge.

In terms of other station facilities, several stations have ticket offices, car parks, waiting rooms and toilets, with the National Rail Enquiries website giving full details:

Notable Engineering Features and Architecture

The route still retains some original features from its construction, including traditional signal boxes and station buildings.  Great Malvern in particular retains much of its charm and many original features and has a Grade II listed building.  It is also included in Simon Jenkins’ book 100 Best British Stations.  Charlbury is also notable for the original station building, a wooden chalet-type structure in the Italianate architectural style of Isambard Kingdom Brunel; together with the early station nameboard this is also a Grade II listed building which was restored in 1979.

Signalling on the route between Oxford and Hereford is controlled from a number of different locations, and by a number of different methods from the modern (Track Circuit Block with Axle Counters), to the traditional (Absolute Block). Some of the traditional signal boxes are architectural features in their own right. 

The location of control and their method of signalling, are:
Didcot, Thames Valley Signalling Centre, Oxford Workstation (OD) – Track Circuit Block with Axle Counters
Ascott-Under-Wychwood (AW) - Track Circuit Block to Oxford and Absolute Block to Moreton
Moreton-In-Marsh (MM) - Absolute Block (still retains some semaphore signals)
Evesham (E) - Track Circuit Block
Norton Junction (NJ) – Track Circuit Block to Evesham and Absolute Block to Worcester Shrub Hill (still retains some semaphore signals)
Worcester Shrub Hill (SH) – Absolute Block (still retains some semaphore signals)
Henwick (HK) – Absolute Block (still retains some semaphore signals)
Newland East (NE) – Absolute Block (still retains some semaphore signals)
Malvern Wells (MW) – Absolute Block to Newland East and Tokenless Block (Lock and Block) to Ledbury (still retains some semaphore signals)
Ledbury (L) - Tokenless Block (Lock and Block) to Ledbury and Tokenless Block to Shelwick Junction (still retains some semaphore signals)
Hereford (H) – Tokenless Block from Shelwick Junction to Ledbury, and Track Circuit Block from Shelwick Junction to Hereford.

Tunnels are located at:
1)   Campden Tunnel (between Moreton-In-Marsh and Honeybourne) at 98 miles from London.   It’s 887 yards long and double tracked.  It is also known as Mickleton Tunnel.
2)   Colwall Tunnel (between Great Malvern and Colwall) at 131 miles from London.  It’s 1586 yards long and single tracked.  It runs beneath the Malvern Hills, and opened in 1926 after problems with the original tunnel.  The entrances to the original tunnel can clearly be seen next to the current tunnel portals.
3)   Ledbury Tunnel (between Colwall and Ledbury) at 135 miles from London.  It’s 1316 yards long and single tracked.  It has a very narrow profile meaning special instructions apply should a train become stranded in it.

Viaducts are located at:
1)   Worcester Viaduct (just west of Worcester Foregate Street station) at 121 miles from London.  It’s 935 yards long and double tracked.  It bridges the River Severn at the western end.
2)   Ledbury Viaduct (just west of Ledbury station) at 136 miles from London.  It’s 372 yards long and single tracked.

Notable Railway Facilities

There are stabling facilities at Oxford, Worcester Shrub Hill and (to a limited extent) at Hereford.

There are engineering sidings at Honeybourne, where the freight only branch line to Long Marston leaves the main line.

There are also sidings or loops at Moreton-In-Marsh, Henwick, Malvern Wells, and Ledbury.

The ability to turnback trains is available at Charlbury (down direction only), Moreton-In-Marsh, Evesham, Worcester Shrub Hill, Worcester Foregate Street, Great Malvern (down direction only), Ledbury (down direction only).  In addition to that services have sometimes turned back at Hanborough in the up direction during periods of engineering work with the use of a Pilotman, and other emergency turnbacks can be done at various places.

Main Passenger Flows

Main passengers flows are to Oxford and London from Hanborough and Charlbury which is within daily commuting distance, and Worcester from the Malvern stations and Evesham/Pershore.

There are lots of secondary passenger flows, such as into Hereford from Ledbury, and tourism trade at Great Malvern and Moreton-In-Marsh.  The route has several medium sized stations with similar usage (around the 200,000-300,000 annual passengers mark) which means the frequent service is justified as trains usually pick up several passengers at each station en-route towards Oxford.  No station in its own right would justify an hourly service to London, but taken as a whole they all do.  This partly explains why average speeds are quite low compared with other similar routes out of London, as most trains stop at all the stations, bar the very small ones served by the daily ‘Halts’ train.

Ticket and Fare Data

The route as far as Worcester used to come under the Network SouthEast ticketing rules, meaning comparatively cheap day return tickets were available with quite relaxed restrictions on travel time in the peak hours compared to many locations a similar distance away from London on other routes.

Tickets were brought into line in 2015s though, with advance tickets becoming available to counter more restrictions for ‘walk up’ fares:

A Cotswold Line Railcard is available giving 34% discounts on off-peak journeys between Worcester Foregate Street and Oxford for £9.95 per year:

Current Issues

Whilst no means the worst route in the country, there are times of day when overcrowding is an issue on both the Hereford to Birmingham corridor and on the trains through to London (particularly beyond Oxford).  5-car trains are replacing 9-car trains too often leading to additional overcrowding.

Infrastructure remains pretty inflexible, and a delay to one train can easily knock on to several others.  The remaining single track sections, and lack of flexibility in the Worcester area are the main causes of this.

Worcester’s two city stations currently have no ticket barriers, and with limited ticket checks on board, there is a lot of ticketless travel on services into and out of Worcester.

The Customer Information Systems (CIS (Customer Information System)) at stations still relies on infrequent manual reports from the traditional signal boxes meaning when there are delays, their accuracy is not as good as it could be.  Sometimes delays won’t be shown accurately, or delayed trains are removed from the screens before they have departed.


There are several aspirations to improve services on the route being lobbied by a variety of interested parties:

1)   Further redoubling to allow two trains per hour between Oxford and Worcester in both directions. In January 2020 the North Cotswold Line Taskforce released a report and a House of Commons Westminster Hall debate took place. Having looked at a range of options, the North Cotswold Line Taskforce gave unanimous backing for what it calls Option 5, a redoubling of four miles of track from Wolvercote Junction, Oxford, to Hanborough station, and the redoubling of five miles of track from Evesham to Pershore. In addition, Option 5 includes second platforms at Pershore and Hanborough.

The combination of those elements in Option 5 would allow two trains an hour from Worcester Shrub Hill to London, additional services beyond Worcester to Malvern, Hereford and Kidderminster, a regular Worcester to London service in less than two hours, and faster services from Malvern and Herefordshire to London, as well as improved performance and reliability.

The aim is to secure funding for a detailed study, but an outline cost of £200m has been suggested.

2)   Electrification between Oxford and Hanborough and the wider route to Hereford.  Dovetailing the project above, the further electrification of the Great Western routes on the deferred section between Didcot and Oxford, along with a further extension to Hanborough has been suggested by NR» (Network Rail - home page) as a high priority project for funding and could form part of an early stage of the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy published by Network Rail in 2020.  That strategy suggests that Didcot to Worcester should form part of the ‘core’ electrification strategy, with the line from Worcester to Hereford forming part of the ‘ancillary’ electrification strategy, though detailed planning is at a very early stage.

3)   Reopening of the Honeybourne to Stratford-Upon-Avon line.  This has been promoted as a scheme for several years now, with the main stumbling block being the route into Stratford-Upon-Avon having been partially built on.  In July 2019 Stratford District Council has funded another report from Arup to consider the provision of a rail shuttle service between Honeybourne Station and Long Marston Airfield. It also includes a section discussing the possible onward rail link to Stratford-upon-Avon. The two together would constitute the Honeybourne Link.

The cost for the rail shuttle was £37m and in excess of £100m for the reinstatement of the onward line to Stratford-upon-Avon. There was also a high-level assessment of the potential sources of funding of the railway, which identified a major gap between these sources and the expected cost of such a project.

4)   Witney rail connection.  The town of Witney is constrained by poor road infrastructure and there is an aspiration to re-connect it with the railway network.  A possible new route between Witney and Hanborough has been suggested, along with reinstatement of the original line via Eynsham.

5)   Improvements to services between Birmingham, Worcester and Hereford. The West Midland Rail Investment strategy was published in 2018 and has an aspirational target to introduce an additional train per hour between Hereford and Great Malvern, continuing through Worcester to Birmingham by the mid-2030s.  This would require some infrastructure work on the current long single line sections.

6)   New station at Rushwick.  The South Worcestershire Development Plan Review, includes an aspiration for a station to serve new housing east of Worcester.  The station would be located near to the old Rushwick Halt railway station, between Worcester Foregate Street and Malvern Link.

Community Transport Groups

Cotswold Line Promotion Group -
Railfuture (Thames Valley Branch) -
Railfuture (West Midlands Branch) -
WOT (Witney Oxford Transport Group) -
Worcestershire Community Rail Partnership (CRP (Community Rail Partnership)) -
Friends of Malvern’s Railway -
Rail and Bus for Herefordshire -

Cab Ride of Route

Map of Route

Can be found in the attachment below:
« Last Edit: August 25, 2023, 03:03:51 pm by IndustryInsider » Logged

To view my GWML (Great Western Main Line) Electrification cab video 'before and after' video comparison, as well as other videos of the new layout at Reading and 'before and after' comparisons of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see:
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