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
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. 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.