Construction of Oxford to Bicester rail route on track to start this summer

The East West Rail Consortium has welcomed the news that construction of the rail route between Oxford to Bicester is to proceed.

This follows a High Court decision today which confirmed that Chiltern Railways has the necessary powers to build a new rail route between Oxford and London Marylebone, via Islip and Bicester. The new rail route will also provide the infrastructure for Oxford-Bicester section of the East West Rail link between Oxford and Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes that is due to open in December 2017.

The decision dismisses a legal challenge over the process by which the Secretary of State for Transport awarded powers in October 2012 and means that construction work can go ahead.

Chiltern Railways powers to construct rail route confirmed by High Court

Chiltern Railways director Graham Cross said: “Through this project, Chiltern Railways will open the first new rail link between two major British cities for 100 years with the line expected to deliver significant economic benefits for those living and working along the route.”

Chiltern Railways plan to open the line and operate services from Oxford’s new parkway station close to Water Eaton from the summer of 2015. The full line to Oxford expected to open in spring 2016. Construction work will start this summer and the line between Bicester Town and Oxford is expected to close in February 2014. Passengers are assured that 12 weeks notice will be given before the line is closed.

Cllr Rodney Rose, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council and deputy chair of the East West Rail Joint Delivery Board welcomed the news, saying:

Cllr Rodney Rose: “Exellent news.”

“This is excellent news. I am glad that the judicial review has been stopped in its tracks and it should never have got as far as it did in the first place.

“Rail passengers can now look forward to new rail services between Oxford, Bicester and London and a new parkway station at Water Eaton. It also means the infrastructure for the Oxford-Bicester section of the East West Rail link for services from Oxford to Bletchley and Bedford can go ahead.

“East West Rail is a vital scheme to boost the local and regional economy, creating new jobs, making our area more attractive as a place to do business and to support planned housing growth.”