Anneliese Dodds, Member of Parliament for Oxford East, recently visited to witness first-hand the transformative work being undertaken by Kier at Oxford Railway Station.
This visit, which took place on Friday, 22 September 2023, was made possible through the Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Rail Fellowship Programme, a unique initiative designed to represent the voice of the rail industry and foster collaboration between politicians and rail supply sites across the nation.
Kier, a leading UK infrastructure services, construction, and property group, was appointed by Network Rail in 2022 to spearhead the £65 million improvement project at Oxford Railway Station.
This comprehensive overhaul includes a series of enhancements, notably replacing the existing railway bridge over Botley Road, the main road into Oxford, with a broader structure featuring a four-meter-wide cycle and footways on either side of the road.
Further improvements encompass highway lowering and realignment, facilitating the passage of standard double-decker buses beneath the bridge for the first time, and replacing the existing footbridge.
During her visit to the site, Anneliese Dodds MP received a presentation from senior members of Kier, highlighting the focal benefits that the project will bring to the community and its creation of social value.
Key elements of the scheme include the construction of an additional platform and an overhead canopy, a new western station entrance, a modernised ticket office, a waiting room, restroom facilities, a café, and retail outlets. Furthermore, a subway will connect the western entrance to the new platform, enhancing passenger accessibility.
The commitment exhibited by Kier in enhancing the Oxford railway station resonated deeply with Annelise, an advocate for the re-opening of the Cowley Branch Line and who firmly believes that residents should enjoy improved transportation options within the city.
During her visit, Annelise also had the opportunity to engage with the dedicated workforce and members of the public. Their discussions underscored Keir’s unwavering focus on improving the station’s capacity, accessibility, safety, and overall passenger experience.
Anneliese Dodds, Member of Parliament for Oxford East, said: “The redevelopment of Oxford station is a huge and extremely complex project.
“There are many different elements at play in the enormous works being undertaken – not just to enlarge and enhance railway capacity but also to deal with the challenges of the local water system; the impact on road transport, cyclists, pedestrians and local businesses; and calibration with emergency services and utilities.
During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of talented engineers, including many women who are contributing their expertise to this project. Their presence underscores the importance of diversity and inclusion in this industry.
I realise that this project is having a significant impact on the city, and it was very helpful to be able to understand exactly why changes have had to be made to the timetable, for example. Once the project is finished, it will undoubtedly contribute to far more capacity and to many environmental improvements – and it is clear that the team on the ground are working really hard to that end”.
Robert Cook, Policy Director, RIA, said: “Government investment in rail projects of this scale is welcome news to RIA and its members. We are proud to have Kier as a valued member and it is a great success story to see this organisation engaged to deliver such a transformative project that is set to bring significant economic and social benefits. We also welcome the opportunities this offers the wider rail supply chain working on the project – particularly SMEs who will also benefit.“
Dan Hutchings, project director at Kier Transportation, said: “We were pleased to welcome Anneliese Dodds MP to the Oxford Rail site. We were able to showcase the crucial enhancements we’re making to the station as part of this significant improvement project, including the replacement of the existing railway bridge over Botley Road, the main road into Oxford.
“This project will provide key benefits to those that use the station, including an improved station entrance, ticket office, retail outlets and better accessibility. Thanks to RIA for organising the visit.”