GWR tests passenger growth in Bristol-Oxford weekend services

Great Western Railway has hopes on running direct services between Bristol Temple Meads and Oxford from September 14, subject to approval of its new trial proposal by the Department for Transport and Network Rail. The move is a test of growth in demand for leisure travel by train.

If given the ‘all clear’, the two cities would have a direct rail connection for the first time since 2003, with fastest journey times expected to take around 71 minutes.  

When prompted if weekday or Sunday services were considered, GWR says that it is “specifically targeting the leisure market; the long weekend, short-stay city breaks and the kind of cultural events which Bristol, Bath and Oxford are so well known for”. However, if trials are deemed a success, with permanent direct services between the cities re-introduced, the return of weekday Bristol-Oxford services remains “unclear” according to a GWR spokesperson.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“We’re always looking at innovative ways of creating new business and improving connectivity. Changing customer patterns since Covid have provided a clear opportunity for us to expand our leisure offering and the Bristol-Oxford route is one which offers real potential.”

GWR has requested to run the following services:

1018 Bristol Temple Meads-Oxford

1155 Oxford-Bristol Temple Meads (via Didcot)

1518 Bristol Temple Meads-Oxford

1712 Oxford-Bristol Temple Meads

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