£161m Oxford upgrade shifts to 24/7 working

Network Rail is to increase working near Oxford station from 12 to 24 hours a day, after a project to improve the station was temporarily halted. 

The £161 million Oxford station upgrade was paused in June when contractors uncovered a brick arch under the surface at Botley Road bridge. 

The bridge, close to the station, carries the railway over one of the main roads into the city. Contractor Kier Group had been digging through a tangle of utilities - power lines, gas pipes, sewers, and cables. It was already a complex project… then they literally hit a brick wall. 

“We didn’t know anything about this structure when we started,” said Mark Dodd of Oxford Archaeology. 

“This is an inverted brick arch. It dates from the 1850s, when the railway was built. It runs under the Botley Bridge and extends about 100 metres. 

“The city of Oxford contains archaeological remains dating back to the prehistoric period, so there’s always the potential to discover a bit of history beneath the ground.” 

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Read this article in full in RAIL issue 991 here


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