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Chiltern’s Oxford city centre-London services pushed to December

The first direct services between Oxford city centre and London Marylebone will start in December, not this spring, Chiltern Railways has announced.

The final phase of the project, delivered in partnership with Network Rail, will allow for services to start from 12 December, following the completion of the final section of track between Oxford Parkway and Oxford station.

The operator had initially prepared for a spring 2016 launch date, but it said on Twitter that the time required for discharge of planning consents, construction, testing of the infrastructure and training of all drivers pushed this to the end of the year.

Its new rail link between Oxford and the capital opened in October last year, allowing trains to run from the new Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village stations  to London Marylebone. The journey time to the capital is about an hour, making them competitive with the alternative, congested route via Reading and the Great Western Main Line into London Paddington.

oxford marylebone map

(Click the map to enlarge it. ©Project Mapping / National Rail Enquiries)

According to the operator, the Oxford Parkway station, which officially opened on the same day as the new rail link, is “already hugely popular” and regarded as “one of the best located stations in the county”.

But opening the section of track between that station and Oxford city centre will see the return of direct trains between Bicester and the city with services departing from Bicester Village station as well.

Dave Penney, managing director, said after announcing the track’s launch date: “The new line provides customers from Oxford city centre with more trains to London and provides a new route for the many business and leisure visitors to the city. 

“The launch is the completion of the first new rail link between a major British city and London in over 100 years and will bring significant economic benefit to the region.”

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said the new line will provide different options for passengers travelling between the two cities, as well as linking with new towns and destinations along the route.

Andy Milne, senior programme manager at Network Rail, talked to RTM about connecting Oxford Parkway to the Chiltern Main Line in autumn 2015. 


Joel   22/01/2016 at 11:48

Running via the Great Western Main Line by Chiltern to/from Marylebone is quite a logistical challenge. I look forward to seeing it happen, or perhaps RTM checking maps before publishing perhaps?

RTM   22/01/2016 at 12:22

Hi Joel, yes we're quite aware of that. Amended for clarification.

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