GREAT Western Railway says its 'biggest timetable change since the 1970s' is set to begin this winter.

Oxford and the North Cotswold train services will be 'transformed' from December, as GWR speeds up its timetable, promising faster journey times and 'more frequent services to key locations'.

Train services between the North Cotswolds via Oxford and London will be restructured to deliver a more consistent service.

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In restructuring the timetable GWR will offer a new direct fast service between Banbury and London Paddington during the peak periods – an Intercity Express Train (IET).

This will remove the requirement to change trains at Oxford for customers going to and from Banbury.

This will have a bigger capacity and cut journey times from 1hr34 to 1hr8 at the same time in the evening peak, GWR has said.

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A minimum hourly standard pattern through service, with some peak time additional trains will also be provided between London Paddington and the North Cotswolds.

The timetable is set to come into effect on December 15, but the plans are subject to final industry approval including from Network Rail. It is expected to be published on 15 September.