Chiltern main line reopens after successful Christmas upgrade work at Banbury: Christmas improvement work taking place at Banbury station

Sunday 27 Dec 2015

Chiltern main line reopens after successful Christmas upgrade work at Banbury

Region & Route:
| North West & Central

The Chiltern main line has reopened on time after Network Rail’s orange army completed two days of upgrade work near Banbury on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

While the majority of Britain was tucking into a Christmas dinner, more than 200 engineers were out in force working to improve the layout of the track on the approach to Banbury station to help provide a more reliable service to passengers.

The work is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan and also includes new, modern and more reliable signalling in the area and a new depot to be used by Chiltern Railways. The £76m project will be completed by August 2016 and will improve the reliability and flexibility of trains running through the area.

Liam Sumpter, area director for Network Rail, said: “This work was carefully planned and safely delivered to cause no disruption to passengers, taking place on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when no trains would have run.

“Our Railway Upgrade Plan is consistently delivering improvements and this Christmas has been no different with thousands of the orange army working around the network to maintain and upgrade the railway to meet the demands of the millions of passengers who travel by train every day.”   

Looking ahead to 2016, a nine-day closure of the railway in the Banbury area is planned to take place next summer, the dates of which will be finalised in the New Year. This will allow Network Rail to complete the work and bring the upgraded and improved railway into use.

Network Rail and Chiltern Railways will be providing passengers with detailed information and travel advice in the build-up to the work, including meet the manager sessions at locations which will confirmed as soon as possible.

Liam Sumpter added: “The nine-day closure this summer is essential to bring all of the work together and into use. We continue to work closely with Chiltern Railways to plan for the work and will be providing information and advice in the coming months.”

Graham Cross, business development director at Chiltern Railways, explained: “This investment is essential in ensuring that we can continue to provide the best possible service for our customers with improved infrastructure in the area. We will be providing dates about the closure to our customers in the new year and we’d like to thank Network Rail engineers for all their hard work over this festive period.”  

For further information on the work contact Network Rail’s national helpline on 03457 114 141. For the latest Chiltern Railways information visit

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
07740 782954

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.

Usually, there are almost five 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.

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