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Architects vie to put train station on map
ARCHITECTS are set to design the revamp of Oxford railway station.
Councillor Jean Fooks said a competition was being run by the Royal Institute of British Architects for the best design for the station.
She said: “It is very exciting there will be an architect to design the station. That doesn’t happen to stations generally so it’s great news.
“The plans for the railway in Oxford look really good, but clearly you have to look at the effects of increasing traffic on people who live nearby.”
The masterplan for Oxford’s rail future was greeted with enthusiasm by residents at a meeting on Wednesday.
More than 100 people packed into a crowded room at Oxford Town Hall to hear the proposals.
Network Rail principal strategic planner for the western region, Chris Aldridge, said plans were to make Oxford a central hub for the UK’s railways.
He said: “It is a great opportunity to develop Oxford. I think the city has a great rail future and we will be working closely both with Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to make it happen.
“We will be developing it to work as a hub for trains to run across the UK. So far, Oxford has been a terminating point but this will change that.”
Mr Aldridge said plans were to build another platform at the station and extra tracks.
That will double the number of trains which run through Oxfordshire at the moment.
Adrian James, 50, from Osney, said: “I live near the station and use it. Oxford is a world-class city so it is brilliant we are now going to get our world-class station.
“Everyone in the world knows Oxford and they arrive at that station, and my god what they must think of it at the moment. People in Botley need to feel better connected, too.”
The £70m development proposed for the county is part of the countrywide £300m plan by Network Rail announced on Tuesday. At the moment there are 11 trains per hour running through Oxford.
In 2019 that number is set to double to 22 in total.
But people who live near the railway lines said the plans to double the number of trains filled them with dread.
Keith Dancy, from St Peters Road in Wolvercote, said: “My pictures fall off the walls when a train goes past, the vibrations are so bad.
“My neighbour even thought she was having a heart attack when the freight trains went past she was shaking so much, so it is not good news for us.”
Mr Aldridge said he did not know what kind of mitigation people who live near the rail lines might receive but Network Rail would look into it.
Extra track lines at Oxford station will also mean freight trains can pass through the central tracks between platforms at the station while passenger trains load and unload.
The Royal Institute of British Architects was unavailable for comment.