STEAM train journeys have been organised to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Didcot to Oxford branch line.

Passengers can board two special rail tours on June 15, organised by the company Vintage Trains.

The 'Clun Castle' locomotive will run from Birmingham to Oxford via Dorridge, Warwick and Banbury, provisionally arriving in Oxford at 9.15am and departing again at 6pm.

In the meantime, the train will do a very special lunchtime circular, from Oxford through Radley, Culham, Appleford, Didcot, Reading, Slough and Southall, and then back via Bicester and Islip.

Provisional timings are to depart Oxford Parkway at 12 noon and Oxford about 12.15pm, returning at 3.45pm and 4.00pm respectively.

The Didcot to Oxford Branch of the Great Western Railway opened in June 1844, marking the first time commuters could reach London by train.

Its opening caused enormous excitement and great crowds gathered in areas adjacent to the railway.

Trains came late to Oxford, mainly due to opposition from the university which feared for the morals of its students.

In particular it was very worried about providing undergraduates with easy access to London, where they might be involved in 'improper marriages and other illegitimate connexions.'

Celebrations are also planned all along the line on June 15.

In Oxford, events will take place at the Grandpont recreation ground, close to the site of the city's first railway station.