LEAMINGTON SPA By current standards, Leamington Spa is a grand
station, though far from modern except by the ticket office. Its marble and white stone frontage and its
sweeping curved chrome door handles suggest the 1930s. Both platforms still boast their GWR waiting rooms, one
with a large snack bar, and much of the platform area is covered by traditional canopies and a fine array of bushes and flowers in tubs.|
Leamington Spa also serves the Birmingham to Leamington Spa and Leamington Spa to High Wycombe and London routes.
||The land falls steeply away in the station area, so the ticket office is below platform level with stairs and
lifts up to each platform. The link between platforms is a tiled corridor which looks as old as the rest of the
station, but in poorer shape - but it's fairly well lit. (A fleeting visit in 2008 noted the installation of a ticket barrier and there may have been some redecoration.) In front of the station is substantial pay and display parking - full when we were there. Local buses used to call at the station frontage but have retreated to the
road outside as a result of frequent obstruction by parking vehicles. Wheels: LO.|
[Note: Leamington Spa can also be reached via Coventry.]
BANBURY station is on an unsigned road off Bridge Street. It
frequently signed through the town, though not with 100% clarity. Banbury has two island platforms with
enclosed waiting areas, and these are connected by a wide passenger overbridge (with a coffee bar) to the modern
station foyer on the west side of the line. There are service lifts to the overbridge which are signed for
wheeled users, but we noticed that they were being left open with bits of rubbish in them, which made them neither
appealing nor accessible. Much of the station is canopied and other facilities include drinks machines. The station
foyer includes the ticket office, a travel centre and a newsagent/bookshop. There is pay-and-display parking
in a large block, and also in bits and pieces. Wheels: LO.
Kings Sutton station is at the far end of Wales Street, the western-most point of this large, organically grown village (to judge from the road layout). There are about 20 free parking spaces plus 1 disabled, with a modern bus shelter with a perch bar on the south-bound side, and a traditional open-fronted but canopied brick shelter on the north side with one backless flat steel bench inside. The platforms are linked only by an overbridge, which means no wheeled access to the north platform. We previously commented on the lack of a footboard crossing, but we've since been advised that one existed until recently - and had proved as dangerous as our original note had felt possible. In those circumstances, removal was the sensible course of action. Wheels: LO.
|The photo looks south from the overbridge, and you can see how close the station is to the edge of the village.
Kings Sutton is the splitting point for the Oxford and High Wycombe lines.
Continue immediately below for the Oxford route, or click here, Bicester North, to go across to the High Wycombe route.|
HEYFORD station is on the south-west corner of the two
Heyfords, on the B4030. From observation, the station seems to be well-served by fast stopping trains, and there is free
parking for about 30 cars. There are bus shelters on both platforms, an overbridge linking them, and an attractive
canal-boat mooring to gaze at while waiting for your train. The Leamington Spa platform also has a public phone
and a cycle rack beside it. Sadly, only the Leamington Spa side has easy access. So far as we could see, steps were
the only way to reach the other platform. Wheels: LO.
||TACKLEY station marks the eastern boundary of the village, and is
at the end of Nethercote Road, a virtual dead-end, but it is signed from the village's through road, Medcroft Road.
The only parking is along house frontages on a fairly narrow street. At the line is a publicly operated level
crossing - i.e. you check both ways, open the side gate for yourself, check again and quickly cross the line.
Don't linger - the line is rated for 90 mph here. The opposite side is not a road but a farm track.
||The Oxford platform sports a rather more stylish shelter than usual, along with some pseudo gas lamps and various notices including a village map. The Leamington Spa
side just has lamps and notices. Both sides have easy-access ramps. Our impression was that a wheelchair user
could get to both sides with no more than a minor struggle, but we'd be happy to hear a second opinion. Wheels: LO.
OXFORD is a modern station with a ticket office, shops, cash
dispensers and a coffee bar in its main building. Access to platform 1 (southbound) is controlled by automatic
ticket barriers (like those on the London Underground). Platform 3 is the bay at the north end of the same platform. A
passenger overbridge gets you to platform 2 for Worcester, Bicester or Leamington Spa (etc.), with lifts behind
the steps for those who need them. Canopies cover large areas of both platforms.
A bus station lies immediately outside the station building, with paths, steps and ramps down to that
lower level, and there is a cycle park for hundreds of bikes as well. A small amount of short term parking is
available via the bus station, but the main railway car park is on the other side of Parkend Street with spaces for
something like 400 cars, at £3 per day in May 2003. A pedestrian link from the station gets you to it quite quickly,
but the road entrance is in Beckett Street, which seems to be one way, so if you were coming up the road (as
presented in the plan), you would need to look for the next right turn (into Hollybush Row), and follow that until you
could turn right again to reach Beckett Street. After using the railway, keep your ticket to present when leaving
the car park, or expect to pay an extra £15 to exit. Wheels: LO.
Oxford also serves the Oxford, Evesham and Worcester route and the Oxford to Bicester branch.
|Notes and sketches are intended only to give a general impression at the time of our visit, and
should not be relied upon for more than that. Dudley Mall accepts no liability for errors, but will correct any
significant ones notified to us through firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Dudley Mall, 62 Gervase Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT.|