National Rail
Banbury railway station MMB 06 165012 168005 165003.jpg
The north end of Banbury station in 2011
General information
LocationBanbury, District of Cherwell
Grid referenceSP462404
Managed byChiltern Railways
Other information
Station codeBAN
ClassificationDfT category C1
Original companyGreat Western Railway
Key dates
2 September 1850[3]Opened as Banbury
after July 1938Renamed Banbury General
1958[3]Rebuilt by BR
after 1961Renamed Banbury
2016/17Increase 2.489 million
 Interchange Increase 0.289 million
2017/18Increase 2.619 million
 Interchange Increase 0.351 million
2018/19Increase 2.787 million
 Interchange Increase 0.406 million
2019/20Increase 2.870 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.310 million
2020/21Decrease 0.631 million
 Interchange Decrease 50,400
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

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.


A 1911 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Banbury.
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 upon.[5]

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-mile (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 Culverhouse.[6] The Station was rebuilt into its present form in 1958.[3]

Banbury was once a junction for the line to Buckingham, however that closed in the 1960s. There was also another station 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 journey[7] and the "Ports to Ports Express" between the North-East (Newcastle, Middlesbrough etc.) and South Wales (Cardiff, Newport) used the Great Central Railway branch line and the Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway, and passed through Banbury[7] as well as Newcastle — Bournemouth, Newcastle — Southampton, YorkSwindon Sleeper, Bournemouth — Birkenhead Woodside/Manchester Piccadilly, etc.[7] Most Cross Country Services in Britain passed through Banbury, which helped the growth of the town and its cattle market.

After nationalisation in 1948, the station was renamed Banbury General to distinguish it from Banbury Merton Street station. Banbury Merton Street was closed in 1966,[8] and the suffix was officially discontinued by 1974,[9] although it remained on tickets until the Edmondson type ticket machines were replaced in the early 1980s.[citation 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 commenced.[10] The new station of 1958 was designed by Howard Cavanagh.[11]

Passenger traffic at Banbury has grown rapidly: between 2003 and 2010, the number of passengers using the station increased by 85%.[12]

Former services through Banbury

The station


Railway lines which served Banbury
Banbury Bridge Street
(now Banbury)
Banbury Merton Street
Kings Sutton
Map of the platforms at Banbury station before the 2016 alterations
Map of the platforms at Banbury station before the 2016 alterations

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 and 4 from west to east, whilst the three bays were numbered 2, 5 and 6. All but one have since been re-designated: the present-day platform 2 was formerly platform 3, whilst the unnumbered bay at its northern end was originally platform 2,[13] and present-day platforms 3 and 4 were formerly platforms 4 and 6 respectively.[14] 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, numbered 1 to 4 from west to east, and 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. Platform 1 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 Birmingham Moor Street/Snow Hill and Kidderminster, and CrossCountry services to Birmingham New Street, Manchester, the North East and Scotland, while platform 3 is for Chiltern services to London via Bicester, and CrossCountry services to Oxford, Reading and the South Coast.

Platform 4 is a bay platform 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 until 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 Rail.[15]

Two new lower-quadrant semaphore signals were installed in late 2010 to allow passenger trains in platforms 1 and 2 to depart in the up direction. Their numbers were BS27 and BS33, and they were controlled from Banbury South signal box.[16]

A nine-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 Saltley.[17]


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

It is the northern terminus of Great Western Railway's local services from Oxford which operate Mondays to Saturdays only.[18]

Banbury is also served by CrossCountry services between Birmingham New Street and Reading.[19]

2008 train fire

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. There were no reported deaths or injuries from the blaze, which was only a minor fire.[20]

2015 Harbury Tunnel landslip

Between 31 January and 13 March 2015, all services north of Banbury were suspended and replaced by buses due to a major landslide at Harbury Tunnel, north of Fenny Compton.[21][22] Over 100,000 tons of earth and rock subsided on the western side of the line during ongoing work to stabilise the cutting, which had been a known problem area for some years (and had suffered a similar but smaller collapse in February 2014). Remedial work was carried out to remove more than 350,000 tons of material, re-profile the cutting walls and improve drainage. In the meantime, all Chiltern services from London and all CrossCountry services from Reading and the South Coast 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 on 13 March 2015, three weeks earlier than originally estimated.[23][24]

2016 signal box demolitions

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 of the North box were run between 10 August and 2 October with commemorative tickets issued. The lever frames from the North box were moved to Ironbridge to be preserved. The nameboards from both boxes were presented by Network Rail to the Great Western Trust at Didcot Railway Centre where one of them is on display in The Signalling Centre.[25]

Services and operators

Preceding station
National Rail
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 also


  1. ^ Turner, John Grey (7 October 2007). "Banbury Station relief line and sidings" (photograph).
  2. ^ Railway Track Diagrams. Vol. 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, R.V.J. (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, N.H.; Harvey, P.D.A.; Hollings, Marjory; Hook, Judith; Jessup, Mary; Lobel, Mary D.; Mason, J.F.A.; Trinder, B.S.; Turner, Hilary (1972). A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 10. Victoria County History. pp. 18–28. ((cite book)): |first1= has generic name (help)
  6. ^ "Application for a licence for refreshment rooms at the G.W.R. station". Banbury Advertiser. England. 11 February 1904. Retrieved 30 January 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ a b c "Cross-Country Routes". Mike's Railway History. EngRailHistory. May 2008.
  8. ^ "Station Name: Banbury Merton Street". Disused Stations. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  9. ^ Slater, J.N., ed. (July 1974). "Notes and News: Western's last "General"". Railway Magazine. London: IPC Transport Press Ltd. 120 (879): 361. ISSN 0033-8923.
  10. ^ "Leamington Spa Station (GWR)". Warwickshire Railways. A brief overview of the station. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  11. ^ Lawrence, David (2018). British Rail Architecture 1948-97. Crecy Publishing Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 9780860936855.
  12. ^ Office of the Rail Regulator data: see infobox at head of article.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Vic; Smith, Keith (February 2003). "fig. 107". Didcot to Banbury. Western Main Lines. Midhurst: Middleton Press. ISBN 1-904474-02-0.
  14. ^ Simpson, Bill (1997). A History of the Railways of Oxfordshire. Vol. Part 1: The North. Banbury and Witney: Lamplight. p. 28. ISBN 1-899246-02-9.
  15. ^ Route 17 West Midlands (PDF). Route Plans 2007. London: Network Rail. 2007. p. 35.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Railway upgrade in Banbury area means Chiltern line will close for nine days" (Press release). Network Rail. 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 29 August 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
  18. ^ Table 116 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  19. ^ Table 51 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  20. ^ "Train Fire is out". Oxford Mail. Newsquest. 14 March 2008.
  21. ^ "Landslip stops Chiltern Line trains at Harbury Tunnel". BBC News. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  22. ^ "Harbury Tunnel landslip to close railway for several weeks" (Press release). Network Rail. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Harbury landslip line to reopen three weeks early". Railnews. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  24. ^ Network Rail Website Retrieved 20 April 2015
  25. ^ Sproule, Luke (1 August 2016). "End of an era at Banbury Station as signalmen work last shift". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 9 August 2016.

Coordinates: 52°03′36″N 1°19′41″W / 52.060°N 1.328°W / 52.060; -1.328