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.”
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