• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Government has ‘no plans’ to rebuild Wantage & Grove station

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 26, 2022

CAMPAIGNERS are not losing hope of reopening an old railway station in southern Oxfordshire despite the Government saying it has “no plans” for it.

More than 1,100 people have signed a petition to build a station at Grove near Wantage – close the old site which was closed in 1964.

The former Wantage Road Station was built as a stop on the Great Western Railway in 1846 but was closed as part of the Beeching cuts aimed at increasing the efficiency of the nationalised railway system.

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Rail users are now hoping the station can be reopened saying that because the population has increased the demand will too.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) said it had no plans for the station. Proposals for a new station were considered as part of the DfT's £500m “Restoring Your Railway” scheme this year, which was set up to "explore options to restore lost rail connections to communities".

Despite a wide range of support the station “wasn’t successful in the final round”.

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council, which commissioned SLC Rail to look into the feasibility of the station along with Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “The DfT admitted that the proposal presented a strong case for the scheme in the context of expected growth in the area and referenced previous studies covering costs and feasibility.

"It said the scheme had support from a range of stakeholders. However, it claimed evidence to support the benefits narrative could be more detailed, and said the scheme carried a risk in the form of the feasibility of operating services to stop at the station on an extremely busy, critical strategic corridor."

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Andy Holding, who started the petition and has created the Facebook page "Wantage and Grove Station Supporters", said he hopes the station will be “reconsidered in the future”.

“It has been a knock,” he said. “I'm not going to deny that… but I think the case is a strong case and obviously with the growth in the Vale of White Horse and Oxfordshire as a whole this railway station would be of vital importance."

He wants the station reopened “as soon as possible” to benefit the town.

Others also hope the station will be reconsidered also with one resident commenting on Mr Holding’s page saying: “Keep going”.

Another added: “Wantage needs someone to stand up for it, why are Didcot getting all the help and all we get is a Lidl that we had to fight for?”

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Great Western Railway said they couldn’t comment on the campaign as a train operator but said it is aware of campaign.

Network Rail has also been asked to comment.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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