New London-Oxford rail gets go-ahead

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DIGITAL CAMERAChiltern Railways last week won the final go-ahead to build a new train connection between Oxford and London, with full service expected by spring 2016.

Last Friday the High Court rejected a bid to stop Chiltern Railways’ Evergreen 3 project. Sean Feeney from Summertown (Oxford) had challenged the project, arguing that the Department of Transportation had not adhered to the correct procedure in giving permission to the operator.

Graham Cross, director of Chiltern Railways: “We welcome the High Court decision confirming that Chiltern Railways has the necessary powers to build a new rail route between Oxford and London Marylebone.”

Chiltern Railways plan to double the tracks between Oxford and Bicester and to build a new connection from Bicester Town to the existing Birmingham Marylebone line.

Cross said: “Through this project, Chiltern Railways will open the first new rail link between two major British cities for 100 years with the line expected to deliver significant economic benefits for those living and working along the route.”

The operator will build two new platforms at Oxford, develop the existing Bicester Town Station and construct a new multi-modal interchange station at Water Eaton north of Oxford.

This will offer commuters an alternative to the existing First Great Western service into London Paddington.

Chiltern Railways will schedule two trains each hour from Oxford to Marylebone with a travel time of 66 minutes. All trains will call at Oxford, Water Eaton Parkway, Bicester Town and High Wycombe.

Oxford student Amy Pether from North East of London welcomed the plans for a new rail link, commenting: “I’m sure a new train connection would be useful – the more options you have for travelling, the better.”

She commented that she hoped the new service would be “fast, reliable and regular.”

This new line follows years of investment which has gone into the existing Cotswolds line, linking Hereford to London via Oxford, to make that line faster and more reliable.

Holly Meehan, a train spotting enthusiast from Keble, commented: “I am hugely exicted about the building of this new line.

“I think that trains are the perfect form of transport, combining speed with sophistication, in a timeless manner, and I love to go out to the station to see all the new models rush past.

“This line will mean more trains coming and going, which obviously makes me very happy.”

Chiltern Railways want to begin construction work this summer and expects to finish work between Bicester Town and Oxford in February 2014.

Cross said: “Passengers should be reassured that 12 weeks notice of the line closure will be given.”

He added: “Chiltern Railways plan to open the line and operate services from Oxford’s new parkway station close to Water Eaton from the summer of 2015 with the full line to Oxford expected to open in spring 2016.”


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