Friday 15 Jan 2010
£250M RAIL INVESTMENT TO SLASH JOURNEY TIMES AND CREATE NEW OXFORD-LONDON ROUTE
Network Rail is funding a £250m project to create a new main line from London to Oxfordshire, delivering much faster services on the Chiltern route to Banbury and Birmingham and creating a rail link between Oxford, High Wycombe and the capital for the first time in 40 years.
The Chiltern Railways' project – known as Evergreen 3 – will see journey times of just 92 minutes from its London Marylebone base to Birmingham Snow Hill, slashing the present journey time by 25 minutes. Banbury will be just 50 minutes away (presently 67mins).
Robin Gisby, Network Rail's director of operations and customer service, said: "This is a great scheme that will deliver huge benefits to hundreds of thousands of passengers. It clearly demonstrates how Network Rail is working in partnership with train operators to continue to fund and attract big improvement schemes for the benefit of everyone who uses the rail network."
A new line will be built to Oxford; the first new rail link from London to a major British city since 1910. Designed explicitly to take cars off the road, the centrepiece of the Oxford link will be Water Eaton Parkway in North Oxford – a high quality integrated transport hub linked to the A34, A40 and Oxford city centre.
The ambitious scheme seeks to get motorists out of their cars and onto trains with the £259m investment resulting in faster trains and reduced journey times. Average journey times will fall by 20%, including from the M40 park and ride hubs at Warwick Parkway (J15) and Haddenham & Thame Parkway (J7).
Adrian Shooter, chairman of Chiltern Railways, said, “This is the biggest passenger rail project for several generations not to call on the taxpayer for support. Working closely with Network Rail, we are going to create a new main line railway for the people of Oxfordshire and the Midlands. This deal demonstrates that real improvements to rail services can be paid for without public subsidy by attracting people out of their cars and onto trains.”
Investing in Oxford
At Oxford station, Evergreen 3 will see the construction of new track and two new platforms for Chiltern services. The project is one of a number of planned improvements to the station and surrounding railway which will help transform rail services over the coming years. In November, Network Rail and Oxfordshire County Council announced plans to build a new bay platform and pedestrian link over Botley Road. The East-West Consortium is progressing with plans to reopen the line from Oxford to Milton Keynes and last summer the Government confirmed funding for electrification of the existing railway between Oxford and London.
Network Rail, Chiltern Railways, First Great Western and Oxford City Council are working with Oxfordshire County Council to develop a ‘Masterplan’ which will ensure each of the proposals complement one another and contribute towards an improved Oxford station that meets the needs of rail users and local people.
Notes to editors
- The scheme is financed by Network Rail, who will recover the cost through the payment of a facility charge over the next 30 years - initially by Chiltern Railways (franchise expires 2021/2) and then by the future franchisee.
- The infrastructure upgrade will be carried out by main contractor BAM Nuttall, together with partners Jarvis and Atkins, will deliver the project under contract to Chiltern Railways.
- The project will be delivered in stages, with the main line journey time improvements being delivered from 2011. The new line to Oxford, including Water Eaton Parkway, is expected to open by 2013, subject to Transport and Works Act approval.
- Over 50 miles of track will be upgraded to 100mph running, with 0.5 miles of new track built to enable the Oxford connection, linking existing lines at Bicester.
- The Evergreen 3 infrastructure upgrade will be supported by the introduction of mainline style carriages for the Birmingham route, the opening of additional platforms at Birmingham Moor Street station and new ticketing technology. In addition, dedicated new trains designed for faster acceleration will be introduced on stopping trains between High Wycombe, London suburban stations and London Marylebone.
Average journey time improvements based on key Chiltern Railways stations:
Peak - Fastest
Off –peak Average
Haddenham & Thame Parkway
- Chiltern Railways is owned by Deutsche Bahn AG and is part of DB Regio, Deutsche Bahn’s local and regional service provider.
- Evergreen 3 is the first new rail link to be built from London to a major British city built since the Bicester cut-off created the modern Chiltern Railways route in 1910. The channel tunnel rail link, opened in 2007, will include services to Canterbury but was built for international trains to Paris and Brussels.
- Project Evergreen 1, completed in 2002, reinstated the double track that had been torn up by British Rail, while Evergreen 2 added new platforms at Marylebone and new signals along the route to enable more frequent trains from 2006
Evergreen 3 is the largest rail project since before World War II to be delivered without recourse to taxpayer funds in one form or another. This is achieved through a unique and innovative funding arrangement.
Evergreen 3 has been specified by Chiltern Railways and will be delivered by BAM Nuttall with partners Jarvis and Atkins under contract to Chiltern Railways. The improved infrastructure will be owned by Network Rail. The capital for the upgrade will be raised by Network Rail against the resulting assets; with Network Rail reimbursed over 30 years by Chiltern Railways through payment of a facility charge.
The Department for Transport has agreed to ensure that all future Chiltern line franchisees are obliged to continue paying this facility charge. The existing Chiltern Railways franchise will expire on December 31st 2021.
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.