Latest Rail News

06.09.13

Oxford-Bicester upgrades combined with East West Rail

A new collaboration between Network Rail and Chiltern Railways has been announced to create a new fast train service between Oxford and London.

The project also includes upgrading the line between Oxford and Bicester and a connection to the Chiltern Main Line at Bicester via 1km of new track.

Journeys from a new parkway station north of Oxford into London Marylebone operated by Chiltern Railways will begin in two years’ time, and from Oxford city centre in spring 2016 once upgrades in and around Oxford station have been completed. Journey times will be under an hour, offering an alternative to the current fast services into Paddington on the crowded Great Western Main Line.

The collaboration will also deliver the first phase of works on the western section of the East West Rail scheme, reinstating the railway between Bedford and Oxford with spurs to Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.

Karl Budge, route delivery director for Network Rail, said: “These are exciting times for rail users and the investment being made between Oxford, Bicester and Bedford will make a huge difference to local people and the local economy.

“It makes sense to deliver what were originally separate schemes in a collaborative way. This collaboration will allow fast train services to operate between Oxford and London Marylebone and will move Network Rail closer to reinstating the railway line through to Bedford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley.”

Graham Cross, business development director for Chiltern Railways said: “This collaboration underpins delivery of our new train route between Oxford and London, the launch of which will support economic growth in the region and benefit thousands of commuters and businesses in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

“The Oxford to London link is the latest in a long line of innovative Chiltern-specified projects to upgrade the rail infrastructure, fuelled by our understanding of rail’s potential to make a significant contribution to UK plc and prosperity. Working with Network Rail ensures we utilise the best expertise to deliver this groundbreaking project.”

Cllr Janet Blake of Buckinghamshire County Council, who chairs the East West Rail Joint Delivery Board for the Western Section, said: “This is excellent news. This scheme will deliver the first section of infrastructure for East West Rail services that will run between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Bedford.

“Enhanced rail services, improved connections and significantly reduced journey times compared to other means of travel will bring enormous benefits to individuals, businesses, communities and the local economy in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and beyond.”

(Image: www.eastwestrail.org.uk)        

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Peter Jarvis   06/09/2013 at 20:37

Grand news, if ten years too long in the making. May we have some details of the services? How is Bletchley to be served? The east-west line crosses the town on a high viaduct, which used to be called the Great Bletchley Hangover. The bay platform at Milton Keynes was built some years since, but how services from Oxford to Bedford are to be run through Milton Keynes passeth all understanding. Elucidation would be welcomed locally. I have not been to Oxford (a pleasant town) for years because the road is so horrid.

Nonsuchmike   08/09/2013 at 12:59

The secret is when it says:- to Bedford, and MK via Bletchley. There is a comma missing which makes all the difference in comprehension. I guess you will be able to travel from Oxford, Bicester and Winslow, etc, directly to MK via Bletchley, but not from the opposite direction (Bedford) unless they lay down some new steel as track. I cannot see the extension eastwards getting beyond Hitchin unless there are some serious reconfigurations on the ground as the Mullard Space Telescope is occupying so much space along the old track bed into Cambridge.

Nonsuchmike   09/09/2013 at 14:53

When I wrote Hitchin, I, of course, meant Sandy in Bedfordshire. Slip o' the brain; sorry.

Kev Smith   20/09/2013 at 19:57

there is no easy place to erect a platform when the service moves the termination of the Branch to MKC.... Renaming Fenny stratford for Bletchley makes sense...with platforms built on the Up and Down on the Flyover...with a pedestrian bridge across to it.. services i assume will be Bedford - MKC - Bletchley(flyover)- aylesbury or oxford...with the reverse being AY or OX - BY - MKC - Bedford.... Passengers for Bletchley could then go via MKC or get off at fenny - of course the bus services will need to be improved into the bus station... just a thought...

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