Sir – The new railway and station is tremendous news for Bicester, and all credit to Chiltern and to Adrian Shooter for their part in making it happen.

When I moved to Bicester in 2003, the railway from Bicester Town to Oxford was in the hands of Thames Trains, who were running it down.

There were no facilities at the station (not even a roof) and no access to Bicester Village. Within a few years, the line was threatened with virtual closure, as the Strategic Rail Authority wanted to cut us down to two trains a day, both outside rush hour, so the DfT could say no-one wanted to use them.

At that point, Oxford-Bicester Rail Action Group was formed, led by Ian East and Henrietta Leyser, and they and a group of people, helped by Adrian Saunders, rail development officer at the county council, Tony Baldry MP, and rail operator First Great Western, took action.

Without them, the railway could have been mothballed, but we wrote letters, distributed leaflets and drew up petitions, while the county council got Bicester Village to build a footpath to the station and funded extra trains.

It was a combination of local people, local representatives and a manager at FGW – Richard Rowland – who saved the Oxford-Bicester line. The marvellous new station and services could not have been achieved without the efforts of Chiltern and Bicester Village, but we should note the contribution made by others.

John Watts
Victoria Road, Bicester