A 25 PER CENT rise in passenger numbers has seen Hanborough railway station overtake Kingham to become the second busiest in West Oxfordshire after Charlbury.

Figures released by the Office of Rail Regulation show that between April 2012 and March last year, 172,684 journeys were made from and to Hanborough, up from 137,454 in the previous 12 months.

A decade ago, 69,997 journeys were recorded there.

And the increase came before a £400,000 extension to the station car park was opened last July, with spaces for 191 cars to accommodate demand from commuters driving to the station from Witney, Woodstock, and other parts of the district.

Train operator First Great Western said growth had continued, though at a slower pace, since the ORR figures were compiled.

The Cotswold Line Promotion Group, which represents passengers on the Oxford-Worcester route, now wants to see the three-coach platform extended and improved facilities for passengers provided at the station, which is off Main Road in Long Hanborough.

John Ellis, the group’s chairman, said: “The CLPG is delighted by the figures showing the growth in passengers at Hanborough, which must be contributing to reducing congestion on roads around Oxford.

“This growth is now producing problems of capacity for passengers getting on to and off trains at Hanbor-ough's short platform. We hope that FGW and Network Rail will progress the case for a longer platform in the near future.”

And the group’s treasurer, Andrew Wilkins, who is also the parish transport representative for Hanborough, added: “Hanborough now has higher numbers of passengers than Kingham, which has a booking clerk on duty each morning, but no regular staff presence.

“I think there is now a good case for some staffing at Hanborough, in the morning peak in particular, to improve customer service.”

An FGW spokesman said the company was looking into the possibility of a platform extension but there were no plans to provide staff at present.

He added: “We are pleased to see an increase in passengers using our stations. We are continually looking for ways to improve the customer experience.

“Whether that is through additional capacity or better facilities at our stations, we are willing to make the investment to ensure we offer the best service possible.”

Although Kingham was overtaken by Hanborough, there was also an increase in traffic there, from 156,668 passenger journeys in 2011-12, to 169,496 in 2012-13, a rise of eight per cent.

Charlbury remains the busiest station on the Cotswold Line, with a total of 271,738 journeys recorded, up from 253,202 in 2011-12, a rise of 7.3 per cent, keeping it ahead of Evesham, in Worcestershire, where 258,190 journeys were made.

Shipton station, which serves Shipton and Milton-under-Wychwood, saw a 7.4 per cent increase in traffic, with 5,028 journeys recorded, up from 4,680 in 2011-12.

There were falls in traffic at Ascott-under-Wychwood, from 2,702 journeys to 2,484; at Combe, down from 2,838 to 2,112 journeys; and Finstock, from 1,982 to 1,970. All three have a limited train service.