A sleepy railway station in rural Oxfordshire could now be an unlikely beneficiary of the Crossrail project.

Originally opened in 1853, Hanborough railway station sits in the middle of the countryside on a single track railway between Oxford and Hereford. The station was nearly closed due to lack of passengers, but in recent years, passenger numbers have more than quadrupled to over 271,000 per year.

Today it’s still a single platform station with no waiting room and little else, but thanks to growing passenger use along the line, there are plans to restore the single track to double and reinstate the missing platform.

It’s here that Crossrail’s unexpected legacy will form part of this rural station’s upgrade, and it all stems from the rebuilding work at Abbey Wood in South London.

In order to build the brand new Elizabeth line station at Abbey Wood, the old 1980s ticket office had to be demolished, and a temporary replacement erected near by.

This temporary station was used for a few years while the new manta-ray style ticket hall was built, and has since been taken away. But it was designed to be taken down and reused — and reused it could be.

Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) are planning to use the stored flatpack station building — at Hanborough.

The proposal, subject to final costs of around £250,000 is being supported by West Oxfordshire District Council who are now considering providing £10,000 to the project.

If it all goes ahead, then a modular station built for Crossrail in South London will end up serving commuters in Oxfordshire. An unexpected legacy of Crossrail.


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  1. Bob McIntyre says:

    Sorry to correct your very bucolic description of Hanborough station but it isn’t in the middle of the countryside at all; it is on an industrial estate at the back of Blenheim Palace which also include the excellent Oxford Bus Museum.

    Whilst it does need a second track and platform, it is, in effect, a park and ride with most people leave their cars and take the train for the short rail journey into Oxford to avoid the traffic. However on a cold and frosty morning anywhere to stand in comfort would be nice!

    [But it dies rather underline the point that money for transport in this country goes to London first and the rest of us get the cast offs…]

    • Ian Visits says:

      It’s next to a small industrial estate, surrounded by countryside.


    • Matthew Kynaston says:

      Yup, looks like the sticks to me too.

    • Anon says:

      To pick up you last point, in London, 274,000 passengers a year would make the station one of the least used ones and it would not be getting any investment at all. With limited money, you spend it where it has the most impact, and that means where the most people will use it, which is London. Also, don’t forget that much of the money for London projects come from Londoners paying a lot for their transport – if residents of Oxfordshire want to pay more for their rail, either through fares or taxes, then they can.

  2. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Could Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) extend to Oxford and to provide a vital interchange with Great Western Railway, Chiltern Railways, Crosscountry and the proposed East-West Rail Link (Oxford-Cambridge line).

    Oxford railway station could be redeveloped if Crossrail were to extend with extra platforms being built and a large station building. Plus with bus stops (bus interchange), taxi ranks, large multi-storey car park and walking distance to the city centre and the University nearby from Oxford railway station.

    Oxford Parkway station which opened in 2016 that serves nearby Oxford Airport and P&R. Which is on the proposed Oxford-Cambridge line via Bedford.

    • Anon says:

      No, it couldn’t. Crossrail is at best a inner surburban service designed for high frequency and high usage, stopping at every station on the way.

      Extending to Reading is a bit much for this type of service, but just about okay. Further out, you need a different type of service – outer surburban, which local on the outskirts and then fast to London when you get closer. Oxford is far enough out to warrant an inter-city service, stopping at major towns only. This is not what Crossrail is.

      You want to keep extending Crossrail to provide more interchanges, but it already has those interchanges – that is what Reading is for. An interchange with East-West rail is pointless because all the major locations already have London services.

  3. I am trying hard to be supportive over the idea of reopening the Oxford- Cambridge rail route but if it actually happened I doubt it would actually attract many passengers. The most important fact missing from the entire project is that opening new rail routes from Milton Keynes to Oxford and Bedford is primarily for freight first and passenger trains come an awful long way back in terms of provision. The intended pattern of passenger services is designed to put off travel, not as an incentive. You will also notice no mention is included about electrifying these old routes.
    So the plans got frozen yet again. I wonder why?

  4. Martin Flatman says:

    We could do with a properly covered area to wait for London trains at Oxford Parkway Station too!

  5. Dee says:

    I hope they are going to put double the parking spaces, the grass verges are still being spoilt in the village

  6. Gwyn says:

    A quarter of a million users per year.
    A 240 space car park which is full each day.

  7. Tim says:

    274,000 p.a. = 750 a day.

    By way of comparison a single Victoria Line train of the 2009 rolling stock has a stated capacity of 864 passengers. Trains run a claimed every 100 seconds during the morning and evening peak.

    So, yes, by comparison very sleepy! Particularly so I imagine off peak.
    Anyway, good deal to get this shelter!

  8. Bruce Strouts says:

    We are about to move to Long Hanbrough. It’s very exciting about the revamp of the station. All ask is please make it look nice too. How about flower pots/beds. Plants that don’t need much maintenance would equally be good. It would make commuting a pleasant experience. A coffee/snack machine may be helpful too. People are more likely to use the facilities if it looks good. It will also help with vandalism. Vandals tend to spoil places that don’t look good. Security is important too. How about cctv? Don’t forget bins too.
    Thank you

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