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Rail station remains on right track
A RAILWAY station that came close to closure in the 1960s is now the second busiest in West Oxfordshire after a 25 per cent jump in passenger traffic in just one year.
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. In the mid-1960s, a notice proposing its closure was issued by British Railways.
The increase moved Hanborough ahead of Kingham station, where there was also a rise in traffic, of eight per cent, though Charlbury remains the busiest on the Cotswold Line.
The increase came before an extension to the car park at Hanborough, costing £400,000, was opened last July, with spaces for 191 cars to meet demand from commuters driving to the station.
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 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 recent figures showing the growth.
“It is now producing problems of capacity for passengers getting on to and off trains at Hanborough’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 - where there is 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.
Elsewhere in Oxfordshire, Radley station also saw a double-digit rise in traffic, up 16.1 per cent, with 114,766 journeys in 2012-13, up from 98,846 in 2011-12, which itself represented a 16.5 per cent rise on 2010-11.
The number of passengers beginning or ending their journeys at Oxford station rose from 6.2 million to 6.3 million, more than double the 3,064,362 recorded in 1997-1998, the first year after the rail network was privatised. About £70m has been set aside for expansion plans.
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