Network Rail has completed the infrastructure works ready for the launch of Chiltern Railways’ new service between Oxford city centre and London Marylebone on 12 December.
Chiltern began running services between Oxford Parkway and Marylebone in October 2015, and on 21 November NR completed delivery of the link between Parkway and the main city centre station at Oxford. The work has suffered from delays due to difficulties obtaining planning consents for the upgrading of the former Oxford to Bicester branch line. The route also forms part of the future East West Rail link from Oxford to Bedford and Milton Keynes, for which planning is ongoing.
The project to upgrade the line was funded jointly by Network Rail and Chiltern Railways as part of a £320 million investment. All trains operating the present half-hourly service between Marylebone and Oxford Parkway are set to be extended into the city centre. Chiltern says over 1.5 million passengers have used the Oxford Parkway line since it opened.