Network Rail has revised its plans to extend platforms at most stations along the Cotswold Line between Oxford and Worcester during the autumn.
Instead of working taking place on a number of weekends and during the October school half-term holiday, Network Rail now plans to shut the line between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester for a week in mid-November and then carry out work at stations between Moreton-in-Marsh and Oxford over the Christmas and New Year period.
The project is linked to the introduction of GWR’s new InterCity Express Trains (IET), to make it easier and faster for passengers to get on and off trains at stations, by ensuring most coaches are alongside platforms.
While most Cotswold Line services will in future be operated by five-coach IETs, the busiest services will be provided by nine-coach IETs that are now operating a number of services on the route, or pairs of five-coach IETs coupled together.
Network Rail now plans to close the line between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester Shrub Hill from Saturday, November 17, until Sunday, November 25, to allow contractors to install platform extensions at Honeybourne, Evesham and Pershore stations.
Buses will replace trains between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester, where connections will be available with West Midlands Railway services to and from the Malverns, Colwall, Ledbury and Hereford.
During the Christmas and New Year period, platforms will be extended at Hanborough, Charlbury and Kingham stations. Buses are expected to replace trains at these stations.
The timing of work at Moreton-in-Marsh station is not yet clear.
Once the project is completed, the platforms at Hanborough, Charlbury, Moreton-in-Marsh, Honeybourne, Evesham and Pershore will be able to accommodate seven of the 26-metre-long IET coaches .
At Kingham, the existing down side (Worcester-bound) platform is already long enough to accommodate six IET coaches, so the up side (Oxford-bound) platform will be extended to match it.