Wednesday 21 Sep 2016
Oxford to Marylebone track now complete
- London North Western
- Track now fully installed from Oxford city centre to London Marylebone.
- Chiltern Railways services from Oxford city centre set to launch on 12 December 2016.
- First new rail route between a major British city and London in over 100 years.
Network Rail engineers have finished laying new sections of track to connect Oxford city centre with London Marylebone - ahead of Chiltern Railways running services on the new line from December.
The final track installations were completed around Peartree and Wolvercote in Oxford. Network Rail’s ‘orange army’ engineers have transformed the old 20-40 mph branch line into a 100 mph main line.
The £320 million project, including an investment of £130 million from Chiltern Railways, was first conceived in 2002 and approved in 2013. The first section of the route opened from Oxford Parkway, a new station, in October 2015.
Once open, two trains per hour will run throughout the day from Oxford city centre to London Marylebone with journey times from around an hour. The new link introduces a useful alternative for people travelling between Oxford and London. Until now Paddington station has been their only London rail option.
Dave Penney, Managing Director at Chiltern Railways said: “With the track now laid from our new station Oxford Parkway through to Oxford city centre, we can look forward to the first trains running on 12 December. The new rail line will bring significant social, economic and environmental benefits to those living and working along the route and will be the completion of first new rail link between a major British city and London for over 100 years.”
Martin Frobisher, London North Western route managing director for Network Rail, said: "This important landmark in our nationwide Railway Upgrade Plan will offer a great new travel option not just for business and leisure passengers in Oxford going to London but also for those in London heading to Oxford. It will bring economic benefits to the Oxford region and with it new opportunities for people living there."
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.