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Banbury railway station

banbury railway station, banbury railway station contact number
Banbury railway station serves the town of Banbury in Oxfordshire, England The station is operated by Chiltern Railways, on the Chiltern Main Line, and has four platforms in use


  • 1 History
    • 11 Former services through Banbury
  • 2 The station
    • 21 Layout
    • 22 Services
    • 23 2008 train fire
    • 24 2015 Harbury Tunnel Landslip
    • 25 2016 Signal Box demolitions
  • 3 Services and operators
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


A 1911 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Banbury

Banbury Bridge Street station opened on 2 September 1850,4 some four months after the Buckinghamshire Railway L&NWR opened its Banbury Merton Street terminus When meadows and the recently disused racecourse at Grimsbury were sold to the Great Western Railway GWR in about 1850, the owner also sold the other part of his land, north of the Middleton road to the Banbury Freehold Land Society, which was financially backed by Cobb's Bank, on which to build middle-class houses, but development was slow at the time and some plots were never built upon5

The station was going to be part of the GWR's Oxford and Rugby Railway, before the problems with changing gauges at Rugby prevented it The 24 miles 39 km single track extension from Oxford to Banbury did open, and at first Banbury was just a single platform through station works were continuing to Birmingham however the popularity of the line meant that the route was soon double tracked barely two years later, and the station was given an extra platform in an up and down configuration By 1882, an extra Up Goods Line had been laid on the East side of the Station outside the Train Shed; together with a Transfer Line to the LNWR Route In 1903, Banbury had south and north bays "cut" into the Up Platform; along with an extra bay on the downside at the North end There was a Down Goods Loop north of the Station; all this to cope with traffic from the Great Central Main Line, which joined at Banbury North Junction in 1900 The inclusion of terminating bays and goods loops reflected Banbury's increasing strategic position in the National network In 1904 the refreshment rooms were rebuilt to the designs of Percy Emerson Culverhouse6 The Station was rebuilt into its present form in 19583

Banbury was once a junction for the line to Buckingham, however that closed in the 1960s There was also another station very nearby at Banbury Merton Street Banbury Bridge Street station occupied one of the most strategic and important locations in the entire rail network in Britain For example, the Aberdeen to Penzance Express used the Woodford Halse branch of the GCR through Banbury as part of its journey7 and the "Ports to Ports Express" between the North-East Newcastle upon Tyne, Middlesbrough etc and South Wales Cardiff, Newport used the Great Central Railway branch line and the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, and passed though Banbury7 as well as Newcastle — Bournemouth, Newcastle — Southampton, York — Swindon Sleeper, Bournemouth — Birkenhead Woodside/Manchester Piccadilly, etc7 Most Cross Country Services in Britain passed through Banbury, which helped the station become just as, if not more, important than the London termini,citation needed and also helped the growth of the town and its cattle market

The station was renamed Banbury General after nationalisation in 1948 to distinguish it from Merton Street station The suffix was officially discontinued by 1974,8 but remained on tickets until the Edmondson type ticket machines were replaced in the early 1980scitation needed

The current railway station is on the site of the Great Western Railway line that opened to Banbury in 1850 The original station's overall roof survived until 1953, five years before a rebuild in 1958 The rebuilding of the station was delayed due to the Second World War,3 and could have been based on the GWR's new station at Leamington Spa, which was finished just before war commenced9

Passenger traffic at Banbury has grown rapidly: between 2003 and 2010, the number of passengers using the station increased by 85%10

Former services through Banburyedit

  • "Ports to Ports" Middlesbrough/Hull/Sunderland — Cardiff/Newport/Swansea/Barry Island/Barry
  • Bournemouth — Birkenhead
  • Birkenhead — Doverclarification needed Margate and Brighton via Reading and Redhill This was operated jointly by the GWR and the SR, southbound once daily by one company and northbound by the other

The stationedit


  • v
  • e
Railway lines which served Banbury
Great Western Railwaypresent Chiltern Main Line
Oxfordshire Ironstone Railwaynow closed
GCR link from Woodford Halsenow closed
Banbury Bridge Streetnow Banbury Station
Banbury Merton Streetnow closed
Banbury to Verney Junction Branch Linenow closed
Kings Sutton
GWR Banbury & Cheltenham Direct Railwaynow closed
Aynho Junction
GWR Cherwell Valley LineOxford Canal Line
Great Western RailwayChiltern Main Line
Map of the platforms at Banbury station

After the rebuilding of the station in 1956–58 there were six numbered platforms: these were formed into two islands, the western one having two through tracks and a single bay at its northern end, whilst the eastern island had a single through platform, but two bays, one at each end The two islands were connected to each other, and to the station entrance hall, by a footbridge

At that time, the three through platforms were numbered 1, 3 & 4 from west to east, whilst the three bays were 2, 5 & 6 All but one have been re-designated since — the present-day platform 2 was formerly platform 3, whilst the un-numbered bay at its northern end was originally platform 2;11 and present-day platforms 3 & 4 were formerly 4 & 6 respectively12 Platform 5, at the northern end of the present platform 3, has lost both its track and its number

The present station has four numbered platforms plus one active bay not numbered, numbered 1 to 4 from west to east, and are grouped as two island platforms

Platform 1 is a through platform used as a bay platform by Great Western Railway's terminating local trains to Oxford and commuter trains beyond to Reading and Paddington, and by Chiltern Railways through and terminating services from the south – all terminating trains at this platform travel a short distance up the line before reversing back to the same platform and boarding outbound passengers, unless a train has since occupied the platform, which then means the train reverses to platform 3 to board passengers, It is also used as an emergency through platform if one of the others is out of use for any reason

Platforms 2 and 3 are through platforms: platform 2 is for Chiltern services north to Leamington Spa, CrossCountry services to Birmingham New Street, Manchester, the North West and Scotland; platform 3 is for Chiltern services to London via Bicester and CrossCountry services to Oxford, Reading and the South Coast

There are also two terminal platforms: platform 4 is for terminating Chiltern services to and from London; An unnumbered bay platform known as Platform 2 Bay was used by terminating Chiltern services to and from Birmingham and Stratford It was filled in during August 2016 Freight loops serve as main through lines for non-stopping freight trains Most passenger services passing Banbury stop at the station, and heritage trains stop here to fill up on water

Many redundant loops and sidings surround the station: most of these were for goods services stopping at Banbury, which have all disappeared Two goods loops survive to allow the stoppage of goods trains for the uninterrupted passage of passenger trains

The station is being considered for remodelling to improve operational flexibility by Network Rail13

Two new lower-quadrant semaphore signals were installed in late 2010 to allow passenger trains in platforms 1 & 2 to depart in the up direction Their numbers were BS27 and BS33, and were controlled from Banbury South signal box14

A 9-day long blockade to re-signal and complete alterations to the track layout at the station layout began on 30 July 2016 Both remaining manual signal boxes were closed with new multiple aspect signalling commissioned and all lines through the station coming under the control of the West Midlands Signalling Centre at Saltley15


Chiltern Railways provide most trains to Banbury, their Monday - Friday off-peak service consisting of:

  • 3 trains per hour to London Marylebone
  • 2 trains per hour to Birmingham Moor Street, of which one continues to Birmingham Snow Hill

It is the northern terminus of Great Western Railway's local services from Oxford which operate Mondays to Saturdays only16

Banbury is also served by CrossCountry services between Birmingham New Street and Reading, many of which run through to either Manchester Piccadilly or Newcastle Central northbound and Southampton Central or Bournemouth in the opposite direction there is also one daily through train to Guildford and Edinburgh Waverley except Sundays17

2008 train fireedit

On 14 March 2008 a CrossCountry Voyager forming the 16:25 service to Derby had a fire in the air vents while standing at platform 2 at Banbury Passengers in both trains at the station and the station itself were evacuated Fire crews arrived and the fire was extinguished No one perished in the blaze, which was only a minor fire18

2015 Harbury Tunnel Landslipedit

All services north of Banbury were suspended & replaced by buses after 31 January 2015 due to a major landslide at Harbury Tunnel, north of Fenny Compton1920 Over 100,000 tons of earth & rock subsided on the western side of the line during ongoing work to stabilise the cutting, which has been a known problem area for some years and had suffered a similar but smaller collapse in February 2014 The line remained closed for several weeks until remedial work to remove more than 350,000 tons of material, re-profile the cutting walls and improve drainage was completed In the meantime Chiltern services from London and CrossCountry services from Reading and the South Coast all terminated at Banbury and a rail replacement bus service was run to Leamington Spa for onward connections to Birmingham New Street, Manchester, the East Midlands and the North East Network Rail reopened the line open again on 13 March 2015 three weeks earlier than originally estimated2122

2016 Signal Box demolitionsedit

Both Banbury South and Banbury North signal boxes were demolished in mid 2016, the South box on 10 August and the North box on 8 October Tours were run between 10 August and 2 October to see the North signal box Commemorative tickets were issued for the tours The lever frames from Banbury North have been moved to Ironbridge to be preserved The stairs, doors and other items were preserved at the Banbury museum23

Services and operatorsedit

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Leamington Spa   Chiltern Railways
London to Birmingham
  Kings Sutton
  Chiltern Railways
Birmingham to Oxford
  Oxford or Kings Sutton
  Chiltern Railways
Chiltern Main Line
fast services
  Bicester North
London Marylebone
Leamington Spa   CrossCountry
Manchester — Bournemouth
Newcastle — Reading
Terminus   Great Western Railway
Cherwell Valley Line
  Kings Sutton
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
  Great Western Railway
Oxford and Rugby Railway
  Kings Sutton
Line and station open
Disused railways
Chalcombe Road Halt
Line and station closed
  Great Central Railway
Banbury branch

See alsoedit

  • History of Banbury, Oxfordshire


  1. ^ Turner, John Grey 7 October 2007 "Banbury Station relief line and sidings" photograph 
  2. ^ Railway Track Diagrams Book 3 4th ed Diagram 13B ISBN 0-9549866-1-X 
  3. ^ a b c d Daniel, John 15 March 2011 "A selection of Great Western stations" The Great Western archive John Daniel 
  4. ^ Butt, RVJ 1995 The Directory of Railway Stations Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd p 26 ISBN 1-85260-508-1 R508 
  5. ^ Crossley, Alan ed; Colvin, Christina; Cooper, Janet; Cooper, NH; Harvey, PDA; Hollings, Marjory; Hook, Judith; Jessup, Mary; Lobel, Mary D; Mason, JFA; Trinder, BS; Turner, Hilary 1972 A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 10 Victoria County History pp 18–28 
  6. ^ "Application for a licence for refreshment rooms at the GWR station" Banbury Advertiser England 11 February 1904 Retrieved 30 January 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive subscription required help 
  7. ^ a b c "Cross-Country Routes" Mike's Railway History EngRailHistory May 2008 
  8. ^ Slater, JN, ed July 1974 "Notes and News: Western's last "General"" Railway Magazine London: IPC Transport Press Ltd 120 879: 361 ISSN 0033-8923 
  9. ^ "Leamington Spa Station GWR" Warwickshire Railways A brief overview of the station Retrieved 19 February 2015 
  10. ^ Office of the Rail Regulator data: see infobox at head of article
  11. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith February 2003 "fig 107" Didcot to Banbury Western Main Lines Midhurst: Middleton Press ISBN 1-904474-02-0 
  12. ^ Simpson, Bill 1997 A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire Part 1: The North Banbury and Witney: Lamplight p 28 ISBN 1-899246-02-9 
  13. ^ Route 17 West Midlands PDF Route Plans 2007 London: Network Rail 2007 p 35 
  14. ^ Plumb, Geoff February 2011 Pigott, Nick, ed "New Semaphores at Banbury" The Railway Magazine Vol 157 no 1318 Horncastle: Mortons Media p 10 ISSN 0033-8923 
  15. ^ "Railway upgrade in Banbury area means Chiltern line will close for nine days" Network Rail press release 19 July 2016; Retrieved 1 August 2016
  16. ^ Table 116 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  17. ^ Table 51 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  18. ^ "Train Fire is out" Oxford Mail Newsquest 14 March 2008 
  19. ^ BBC News - Landslip stops Chiltern Line trains at Harbury TunnelBBC News article 02-02-2015; Retrieved 2015-02-19
  20. ^ Harbury Landslip; Network Rail Press Release 19-02-2015; Retrieved 2015-02-19
  21. ^ Harbury landslip line to reopenRailnews news article 4 March 2015; Retrieved 5 March 2015
  22. ^ Network Rail Website Retrieved 20 April 2015
  23. ^ End of an era at Banbury Station as signalmen work last shift Oxford Mail 1 August 2016

External linksedit

  • Train times and station information for Banbury railway station from National Rail
  • "Signals at Banbury" Horsham: Adrian the Rock 4 June 2006 Retrieved 21 September 2009 

Coordinates: 52°03′36″N 1°19′41″W / 52060°N 1328°W / 52060; -1328

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