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London-Oxford line approved

A new rail link between London and Oxford has finally been approved. The £130m scheme will run from Marylebone station and link to the line between Bicester and Oxford.

The project will involve 10 miles of dilapidated track being upgraded, and two new stations will be built – one replacement at Bicester and one in north Oxford at Water Eaton.

The route will open up a route to High Wycombe that has been closed since the 1960s. When first complete, it will become the first new rail link between London and a major city in 100 years.

Oxford station would see two new platforms, and Islip station will also be rebuilt. The project will allow trains to run at up to 100mph on double tracks.

The projected Oxford-London journey time on the new route is 66 minutes. The only option currently between Oxford and London is to go via Reading into Paddington, which takes around 55 minutes on a direct service  but the extra capacity will be be a huge benefit for passengers. 

The new link will also cut Oxford-Bicester journey times, from 25 minutes to 14.

Chiltern Railways is building and funding the scheme, and will provide two services an hour once the line is open in 2015. Work is expected to start next year.

Graham Cross, business development director of Chiltern Railways, said: “We are pleased to have been granted the power to proceed with this significant railway investment, which will 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-led projects to upgrade the rail infrastructure, fuelled by our understanding of rail’s potential to make a significant contribution to economic growth and prosperity.”

Hugh Jaeger, spokesman for Thames Valley branch of Rail Future, told the Oxford Mail: “Rail Future warmly welcomes Oxford having a second route to London because this increases capacity between Oxford and London and also increases resilience. It means if there are ever problems on one London route Oxford still has another rail link.

“This will save thousands of passengers the grief of trying to get into Oxford and getting stuck in Botley Road. Bringing on the Evergreen 3 scheme also raises pressure for Oxford to have a better railway station.”

The new line will help to alleviate congestion on the roads and is part of the planned East West rail project.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


John Love   19/10/2012 at 14:29

A good idea, at the same time the Avon Link from Honeybourne to Stratford on Avon would link from Oxford to Birmingham alternative route

Gareth Roberts   19/10/2012 at 14:43

Excellent to see proactive developments by a TOC actually resulting in new/reopened & refurbished railway. I hope is it a typo, but..... current journey time Oxford-London is 55minutes & projected will be 66minutes??!!

Brian   19/10/2012 at 14:59

A great outcome. Let's all hope we will continue to see such innovative thinking from the Arriva team?

Jfgb   19/10/2012 at 15:06

Excellent! I wish the Oxford - Prices Risborough line through Thame could be so resurected - being the shortest route to London.

RTM   19/10/2012 at 15:07

Hi Gareth, our understanding is this is an alternative service to London and not a replacement, so it will provide more options for passengers rather than necessarily faster journey times.

Jackiejaye   19/10/2012 at 15:53

Which begs the question,why were so many lines axed by that industrial vandal,Beeching/BR? the scandal of closing the Great Central,Freight Companies would kill to have it back+the Oxford-Cambridge route,the SR line from Uckfield to Brighton,i could go on,talk abut short term thinking

Andrew, Oxford   19/10/2012 at 17:48

What Oxford needs is a new, 250-metre twin-island platform with 4 faces at the Oxpens, coupled with a bus station serving the whole of Oxford, as proposed in 2002-4. This must be an essential part of the new plan, to go with electrification and many new projected services such as East-West rail. Trying to improve the existing station is a waste of money, and will cause huge disruption.

Ricp   20/10/2012 at 12:13

This project was a Chiltern iniative, long before Arriva were involved. I think it is a case of Chiltern bringing new thinking to Arriva Rail, which has not been particularly innovative, and not exactly a star with its Cross-Country operation. Yes this is a closure that should never have happened, and it is one of several post-Beeching blunders that emeged during the Wilson Labour Administration, where yet again the Civil servants short-changed the rail system closing both the East-West Oxford to Cambridge route as well as the Great Central. The 66 minute time is correct, as it is a longer route and these Oxford trains will have about 5 stops to London, and only 100mph DMUs not IC125s or Adelantes of the GW route. But good stuff, now Chiltern needs to sort out its inner suburban services to provide decent frequencies to its London area stations.

Pedr Jarvis   20/10/2012 at 13:41

High time too. This scheme was put forward several years ago and it is a mystery why the DoT takes so long to consider them, even when the various Public Inquiries.(if any) are complete. By now it should have been possible to approve both the Oxford-Bletchley and Aylesbury-Bletchley lines, which have been commended in report after report for at least ten years. There are some good people in the DoT but what with the political shennanigans, one wonders if the DoT is fit for purpose.

Andyt   22/10/2012 at 15:11

"When first complete, it will become the first new rail link between London and a major city in 100 years" ...Are Paris and Brussels not major cities?

Les F   26/10/2012 at 14:55

Good news but not as good as Chiltern's earlier aspiration to reopen the Cowley branch through Wheatley and Thame to Princes Risborough. That would be shorter and quicker. It may still happen when Oxford-Bicester is clogged with Oxford-Cambridge trains! A shame also that the two Bicester stations are not to be replaced by one interchange where the lines cross.

Oliver Lovell   01/02/2013 at 12:57

News that final consent has been given to Evergreen 3 is most welcome. I would, however, urge Chiltern Trains to include a stop at Princes Risborough on their Oxford-Marylebone route as this would give Oxford rail travellers, a link into services to Aylesbury.

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