A new collaboration has been announced today which will oversee the project to allow fast train services to operate between Oxford and London Marylebone. The first services are expected to start in two years time.
The collaboration between Network Rail and Chiltern Railways will manage upgrading of the line between Oxford and Bicester and connection of the railway at Bicester to the Chiltern Main Line by construction of 1km of new railway.
The upgrade of the Oxford to Bicester line not only facilitates the new Chiltern Railways service between Oxford and London, but also the first phase of works on the western section of the East West Rail scheme that will reinstate the railway for passenger and freight services through to Milton Keynes and Bedford. Combining the two projects means a more efficient delivery and less disruption for rail users.
Karl Budge, route delivery director from 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 and Chair of 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.”