GWR planning to restore direct Bristol to Oxford services

Bristol-Oxford route map 2024

Great Western Railway (GWR) is planning to run direct services between Bristol Temple Meads and Oxford for the first time in more than 20 years.

In response to growth in demand for leisure travel by train, GWR wants to run two return Saturday services between the cities from September. The trial would run until December. A direct service last ran in 2003.

Customers will be able to take in sights for these two popular destinations, with quickest direct journey times between the two cities starting from one hour 11 minutes.

Bristol & Oxford - tourist scenes
Bristol & Oxford – tourist scenes

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“We’re always looking at innovative ways of creating new business and improving connectivity. Changing customer patterns since Covid have provided a clear opportunity for us to expand our leisure offering and the Bristol-Oxford route is one which offers real potential.”

Initial Bristol to Oxford Timetable

GWR has requested to run the following services from 14th September 2024, including stops at Bath Spa, Chippenham and Swindon:

10.18 Bristol Temple Meads – Oxford

11.55 Oxford – Bristol Temple Meads (via Didcot)

15.18 Bristol Temple Meads – Oxford

17.12 Oxford – Bristol Temple Meads

Next steps

The proposal is still being discussed and needs approval from the Department for Transport and Network Rail.

Bristol Rail Campaign would be pleased to see restoration of this service. The autumn/winter timing of the trial will however miss the peak tourist season. We also feel as though leisure demand for this route would exist on Sundays. Weekday through services could be an aspiration if demand is there. 

Visualisation

Technical Architect Will Deakin has provided a useful tool which uses Office of Road and Rail (ORR) data to visualise passenger flows between stations. You can use it to see the passenger flows from Oxford and Bristol Temple Meads respectively.

You can also use this tool to see passenger flows from any other station, as long as you know its three-letter Customer Reservation System (CRS) code. Note that Bristol Temple Meads is not BTM, as is often incorrectly assumed, but BRI!


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