Nuneham viaduct Oxfordshire

Rail line to Oxford to remain closed over Easter weekend

Train operators are currently unable to run services between Didcot Parkway and Oxford following the closure of the line for safety inspections of Nuneham Viaduct, near Abingdon, earlier in the week. 

A limited rail replacement bus service has been put in place, but GWR is warning that these are likely to be very busy, and customers should expect significant delays to journeys. 

The train operator is advising customers who have already bought tickets and decide not to travel will be able to claim a full refund or amend their ticket

What is the advice to customers? 

Those planning to travel from Oxford to stations beyond Didcot Parkway towards London may find it more convenient to start their journey from Didcot Parkway.  

Chiltern Railways, which operates trains from Oxford to London Marylebone, is expecting its services to be very busy on all routes and is advising against all but essential travel between Friday 7 April and Monday 10 April.

Customers travelling between London Paddington and The North Cotswolds will need to change at Didcot Parkway (travelling out of London) or Oxford (travelling away from London) for a non-stop replacement bus service, adding about 40 minutes to journey times. Please note, from 11 April a road closure near Oxford station will increase the journey time by approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

  • Customers from Hanborough and the wider Oxfordshire area (Radley, Culham, Appleford) are advised to consider starting their journey at Didcot Parkway. Customers should use the pay and display multi-storey car park at the station. 
  • Customers travelling between Worcestershire Parkway/Pershore/Evesham and London stations should consider travelling via Bristol Parkway or Birmingham (please note engineering work will affect part this route over the Easter weekend) 
  • Customers travelling between Honeybourne/Combe and London stations should travel via Oxford for connecting services 

The line closure also affects CrossCountry train services on the Bournemouth to Birmingham route. GWR advises checking the CrossCountry website for the latest travel advice for these services. 

Over the Easter weekend, customers are being warned that buses will be busy, and so too will Chiltern rail services between Oxford and London Marylebone. 

Bus services are operating between Didcot and Oxford, calling at Appleford, Culham and Radley. 

Trains continue to operate largely as planned between Hereford/Worcestershire and Oxford; however, they may be re-timed and customers should check before travelling. 

Tickets are also being accepted on: 

  • Avanti West Coast (engineering work will affect Avanti services over the Easter weekend), Chiltern Railways, London Underground, and West Midlands Railway via any reasonable route 
  • Transport for Wales between Hereford and Newport, where you can change for GWR services to London Paddington 
  • Stagecoach S6 bus services between Swindon and Oxford 
  • Thames Travel X2 and X32 bus services between Didcot and Oxford 
  • Stagecoach route S6 between Oxford (Frideswide Square) and Swindon (Bus Station) 

Customers who travel and are delayed may be entitled to Delay Repay if they are delayed by 15 minutes or more. 

With disruption expected to last until at least Sunday 23 April, we are currently reviewing compensation arrangements for season ticket holders and we will be in touch with you directly. 

Why is the line closed?

Network Rail has closed the railway between Didcot Parkway and Oxford. It will not open again before Easter as its engineers continue their assessment of Nuneham Viaduct.

Nuneham Viaduct, which carries the Cherwell Valley Line across the River Thames, is located between Culham and Radley, near to the town of Abingdon in Oxfordshire.

Network Rail has been monitoring the viaduct for some time because of its movement and has been undertaking engineering interventions to stabilise it. Unfortunately, the movement in the structure has significantly worsened in recent weeks and has now reached a point where it is not safe to carry passenger and freight trains. That is why Network Rail has taken the significant step of temporarily closing it.

The railway will be closed for at least 2-3 weeks and further detail will be provided once engineers have done the necessary investigation work over next few days.

Network Rail is responsible for more than 20,000 miles of track and 30,000 bridges across England, Scotland and Wales. Its engineering teams constantly monitor these bridges and viaducts, checking structural aspects and carrying out repairs as required.

Contact Information

James Davis

Media Relations Manager

Great Western Railway

0845 410 4444