Embankment problems force extended closure of line

Update Wednesday 15th February at 1700: A letter from GWR

Following our update on Monday, we’re writing to provide you the latest about the landslip at Cassington Road bridge in Oxfordshire last Friday (10 February) which closed the railway between Oxford and Moreton-in-Marsh.
Network Rail engineers have been on site investigating options to secure the embankment so that the road bridge and railway underneath it can be safely reopened. The land is extremely unstable and currently poses a significant risk to the stability of the bridge.
Detailed design work on fixing the embankment and bridge is being completed and materials have been ordered. From Friday (17 February), sheet piling will start to be installed to reinforce the embankment and the bridge; with the aim of reopening the railway to passengers on Wednesday 22 February, at a cautionary speed.
We are working to safely reopen the road and railway as soon as possible. Until the railway reopens, there is an amended train service operating:
  • During peak times, London <–> Worcester train services will continue to divert via Swindon
  • A replacement bus service is operating between Oxford and Kingham, calling at Hanborough, Charlbury and Kingham. Kingham is currently being used as the interchange between train and the replacement bus services as it is more suitable for bus traffic.
  • A shuttle train service is operating between Worcester/Great Malvern and Charlbury – passengers for onward travel should change at Kingham.
Journey planners are being updated and the replacement bus services are in online journey planners. There also continues to be ticket acceptance in place with Chiltern, CrossCountry, Avanti West Coast, and West Midlands Trains.
For the latest travel information, please visit https://www.gwr.com/travel-information/travel-updates/check-your-journey. We will update you further as we work to reopen the road and railway.
Best wishes
Tom and Toby
Thomas Lydon | Public Affairs Manager | Great Western Railway
Toby Elliott, Head of Communications, Network Rail Western


Continued problems with an unstable embankment at a road bridge mean that the Cotswold Line is set to remain shut for another week.

A retaining wall at a road bridge close to Yarnton, between Oxford and Hanborough, collapsed last Friday evening, with debris blocking the track.

Train services resumed briefly on Sunday, but were soon halted again after further ground movement in the embankment.

Network Rail engineers are now working to stabilise the embankment before trains will be allowed to run through the area again.

A shuttle train service will be in operation for the time being between Charlbury and Worcester, with some services extended to/from Great Malvern or Hereford.

Replacement buses are operating between Kingham and Oxford – weight restrictions on a bridge near Charlbury station mean it cannot be served by the buses, which will stop instead at the town’s Scout Hut, in Nine Acres Lane.

A limited number of through trains will operate between Worcester and London Paddington using an alternative route via Stroud each day and passengers with GWR tickets will be able to use a number of other operators’ trains to complete their journeys, as follows:

  • Chiltern Railways between Birmingham Moor St/Banbury/Oxford, and London Marylebone.
  • Avanti West Coast railway between Birmingham New St and London Euston.
  • West Midlands Railway between Hereford, Great Malvern, Worcester, and Birmingham New St/Birmingham Moor St.
  • CrossCountry Trains between Reading and Birmingham New St via Oxford.
  • Transport for Wales trains between Newport (South Wales) and Hereford

Click here for the latest updates on the situation from the GWR website.

Click here for updates about alterations to Cotswold Line train services from GWR’s Journeycheck page.

Pictures: Network Rail

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