Tuesday 16 Feb 2016
Nine day closure of the Chiltern line announced as part of £76 million railway upgrade in Banbury area
- London North Western
• Line closed between Leamington Spa, Banbury and Bicester North between 30 July and 8 August
• A replacement bus service will operate between Leamington Spa, Banbury and Bicester
• Investment to help improve reliability and punctuality of trains through the Banbury area
Network Rail and Chiltern Railways have announced that the railway between Leamington Spa, Banbury and Bicester North will be closed for nine days this summer as part of a £76m upgrade.
The investment by Network Rail will help improve the punctuality and reliability of train services on the Chiltern main line, providing Chiltern Railways passengers with a better railway between Birmingham and London.
From Saturday 30 July until the line reopens on Monday 8 August, engineers will replace the signalling through the Banbury area upgrading it to a more reliable and modern system which will be controlled from the West Midlands Signalling Centre in Birmingham.
A significant amount of work has already taken place during 2015 during planned closures on Sundays. Work was also undertaken on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when the line was closed and available for upgrade work to take place.
The £76 million investment is part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan which is seeing more than £35 billion invested in the railway until 2019 – the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era. Working with Chiltern Railways and other train operators this will provide passengers with more services and better, more reliable journeys.
As well as a new track layout through Banbury station and the modern signalling being installed, the investment is also providing the necessary infrastructure for a new depot south of Banbury which is currently being built. This will provide essential maintenance provision for the growing Chiltern Railways train fleet. Parts of this depot will open later this year.
Liam Sumpter, area director for Network Rail, said: “This £76m investment is key to modernise the railway through the Banbury area to provide passengers with a more reliable and modern railway.
“There is never a good time to close the railway for this length of time – and we have looked at all options and worked with Chiltern Railways to complete this work to cause the least disruption to passengers.
“More information will be released in the coming months to give passengers with all the information they need to plan their journey.”
Dave Penney, managing director at Chiltern Railways, explained: “The work at Banbury is an important investment to improve the infrastructure so we can keep our trains some of the most reliable in the country.
“We are working hard to provide our customers with a step-straight-on replacement bus service to make the closure as easy as possible. We will be releasing more information on the nine day closure timetable in the coming months.”
For more information about this project, please visit www.chilternrailways.co.uk/banbury-upgrade
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.