Monday 31 Jul 2017
Railway re-opens through Oxford following upgrade work
Work which will enable improvements in line speeds to ease congestion on the railway into and out of Oxford has been completed as part of a £200m upgrade programme, allowing services between Oxford, Didcot and Banbury to run as normal this morning.
More than 100 Network Rail engineers worked through each shift, putting in more than 32,750 people-hours in total during the nine-day closure to renew around 2km of track between Hinksey Lakes and Oxford Station.
The work, which included the use of more than 5,000 tonnes of ballast and more than 2,500 sleepers, will enable quicker line speeds through Oxford in order to reduce congestion on the railway.
Lines re-opened at 04.45 this morning, with the first passenger service running through at 05.01.
This work forms part of the £200 million Oxford Corridor Project, which will deliver a series of enhancement schemes to increase capacity and improve reliability for passengers and freight operators.
Rob Mashford, senior programme manager for Network Rail, said: “We’ve had a very successful period of work over the past nine days. Our engineers have done a fantastic job in completing this work as planned and we’re always pleased to be able to deliver improvements for passengers as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”
“I’d like to thank passengers for bearing with us as this work has taken place and I’d also like to thank our colleagues at GWR, Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry for their work which has kept passengers moving throughout this period.”
David Pinder, Oxford station manager for GWR, said: “We would like to thank passengers for their patience during the past week as Network Rail modernise the railway.
“The first Intercity Express Train to enter passenger service is just a number of months away; providing over a fifth more seats per train, more frequent service, and the greatest step-change in experience for our passengers in a generation.”
Andrew Cooper, managing director of CrossCountry, said: “These works will help us continue to improve the reliability of our trains through Oxford to the Midlands, the North and South Coast.
“They also offer potential future opportunities to reduce journey times on these important routes, making rail more competitive to other transport modes and increasing this regions connectivity to the rest of Britain.”
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 38,000 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.