London Road Level Crossing Update

The long awaited announcement by East West Rail on the future of the level crossing following public consultation in 2021 has now been made.

Click here to read the section of its latest document that is relevant to this.

For more advanced information on the issues and options that are contained in the Technical Report section of EWR’s latest information please click here

The main points are:

➡ The level crossing may now be able to remain open for traffic

➡ A new underpass or bridge for pedestrians there is a possibility

➡ A road bridge for traffic or a traffic underpass on London Road is ruled out

➡ A new road bridge crossing (that could be lifted into position) over a suitable route to the south or east of the existing crossing may be a possibility

➡ A detailed proposal for consultation will not be put forward until next year

Click here to read the latest comment by the LVCA Chairman.

A BBC South TV news report broadcast on 29th May can be viewed here

What are your thoughts now? Join in and comment on the LVCA’s facebook page.

London Road level crossing

East West Rail is holding a public event at the John Paul II Centre in Bicester on Wednesday 12th July 2023 between 2pm and 8pm. This is an opportunity to meet the EWR team and discuss latest announcements and plans surrounding the London Road level crossing.

London Road Level Crossing Report on Meridian TV

Meridian TV visited our area and broadcast a report on 30th March 2023 that focused on the issues and possible solutions to keeping a route open across the East West rail line at London Road when the new train services start.

Comments were provided by the Chair of Langford Village Community Association, Carole Hetherington, Oxfordshire County Councillor Calum Miller, and a number of local residents.

If you missed Natalie Verney’s report on broadcast tv, it’s still available to watch here.

Meridian TV’s Natalie Verney reports on Bicester’s London Road level crossing on 30th March 2023

What solution do you wish to see? Post a comment here or on the LVCA facebook page.

London Road Latest on BBC Radio Oxford

The Level Crossing at London Road in Bicester

LISTEN to the latest media coverage on the issue of Bicester’s London Road Level Crossing.

CLICK on the ▶ play button below

BBC Oxford David Prever Breakfast Club 21/3/23 at 0820

COMMENT on this post below or on the LVCA facebook page.

Councillors push for level crossing funding

The East West Rail scheme should be good news for Bicester overall. However, as residents will be aware, Network Rail have ignored the London Road level crossing in all of their consultations for Phase 2 of the scheme (EWR2). Officially the position of Network Rail and local councillors is that there are no plans to close the crossing. 

When the line through to Bletchley, Milton Keynes and Bedford reopens from 2023 it will result in at least 3x as many trains running (with the prospect of more to come in future).

Whether or not the road is actually closed, when the crossing is closed for 45 minutes in an hour (as seems likely) the net effect will be similiar. EWR2 significantly impacts on the level crossing, increasing congestion and effectively cutting off Langford Village from the town centre.

We have made it clear that simply closing the crossing (as many residents fear), or doing nothing is not an option. We and many others have been pushing for clarity on the issue. A solution is needed that will allow an accessible route into town to be maintained whilst removing the conflict between road and rail at the level crossing. 

The LVCA is objecting to the EWR2 scheme not just because of the lack of a solution at London Road but also due to the lack of electrification. 

Network Rail say in their statement of case to the forthcoming Public Inquiry that “the extended closure times are comparable to other busy level crossings around the UK which are considered to operate safely”. Some improvements to signalling are planned to be implemented as part of EWR2 which could reduce the cumulative barrier down time by 25-40 minutes per 24 hour period – i.e. up to 2 minutes per hour could be saved. These improvements could be implemented by 2022.

However, I will be pointing out that running just one extra train each hour wipes out any time savings. We already know there will be more trains than originally planned; building 1 million houses in the region will surely mean even more trains, and the railway through Bicester already has the capacity to handle more trains – both passenger and freight.

On 25 October the Oxford Mail confirmed our Councillors pledge to push for London Road level crossing funding. See also this article here.

Network Rail say they are “committed to working with Oxfordshire County Council (as the Highways Authority) to secure a permanent road solution (overbridge or underpass) for London Road Level Crossing”.

As I have said, such a solution appears not to be funded. And as was posted on this site in 2017 a replacement bridge or tunnel at London Road could cost more than £60 million. The cost is no doubt considerably more than it would have been, had it been implemented in 2015. Yet if a solution is delayed beyond 2023 the cost will sky-rocket. 

Whilst no announcement on funding was forthcoming in the Budget on 29 October, it does seem that things could be moving forwards at last and the elephant in the room is not going to be ignored. Getting it right first time is often the best and most cost effective way.

London Road level crossing

Langford residents suffering ongoing delays and problems at the London Road level crossing may wonder what is being planned to address this, especially in view of the increased number of passenger and freight trains that will eventually run when the East West Rail link to Bedford and beyond becomes operational.

A road bridge is planned to replace the level crossing on the ring road at Charbridge Lane, but the London Road crossing is more challenging. A report published in January 2017 by Network Rail for Oxfordshire County Council, titled “Development of Identified Options for London Road Level Crossing, Bicester – Key Findings”, outlines the problems involved and the options available. Two potential underpass options are being considered, with cost estimates varying between £61 million and £65million, and a bridge option is also under consideration at a cost of up to £44 million. A copy of this 3-page report can be downloaded from the OCC website.