Two new Oxford stations by 2022?

Two extra train stations for passengers could open at Oxford Science Park and Cowley linking them to Oxford and the train line to London Marylebone by 2022, according to Oxford City Council leader Bob Price.

The idea was brought up by a Chiltern Railways director at a meeting held on Thursday night at the Saïd Business School in Oxford’s Park End Street.

Graham Cross, business development director at Chiltern, said once the planned connection from Kidlington’s Oxford Parkway to Oxford Railway Station is complete they will look at extending the line to the south of the city.

Councillor Price said: “It’s a must.

“A lot more jobs will be opening up there because there are still some empty units.

“We need to be able to get more people there so they don’t just have to use buses.”

Chiltern ran a one-day test in 2014, running a passenger train between Oxford Science Park Station near Littlemore and Cowley Branch Station by the Mini plant.

Currently the Cowley station is only used by freight trains and the science park station is unused.

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) leader Ian Hudspeth was one of the passengers.

Speaking at the business school to representatives from rail and housing companies,  Mr Cross said: “We’re looking to expand Oxford’s rail service.

“It’s not yet a project, it’s a prospect. But this will be the next area of development.

“There’s a very significant demand to improve Oxford’s rail service.”

Chiltern Railways currently operate the line between London Marylebone and the new Oxford Parkway station, which opened in October.

Work to open the new line between Oxford Parkway station and Oxford Railway Station is due to be completed by the end of this year, with the first trains leaving Oxford on December 12, according to Chiltern managing director Dave Penney.

It had been earmarked to open this Spring, but Chiltern Railways confirmed the delays today.

Councillor Hudspeth said: “I’m 100 per cent behind that idea. I can see the appeal. It’s difficult to get around that side of town.”

The idea was discussed at a meeting of Oxford leaders and delegates from Oxfordshire housing developers, law firms and architects, hosted by the Constructing Excellence Oxford Club.

Discussions focused on projects and development across Oxfordshire.

Amongst the speakers were councillors Price and Hudspeth and the MP for Oxford East and Abingdon Nicola Blackwood.

Plans to trial driverless cars on Oxford’s roads were also debated.