Chiltern Railways has announced the first direct service between Oxford city centre and London Marylebone will start in December 2016.
The final phase of the pioneering rail project, being delivered in partnership with Network Rail, will see trains running from Oxford city centre to London Marylebone from Monday 12 December. This launch will follow the completion of the final section of track between Oxford Parkway and Oxford station and means that the first new rail link between a major British city and London in over 100 years will be fully complete.
The first official passenger trains are expected to depart from Oxford station on Monday 12th December 2016. It was initially hoped to open the new line earlier, however time required for discharge of planning consents, construction, testing of the infrastructure and training of drivers has led to an expected December launch.
The line currently starts from Oxford Parkway which is the first new station to open in Oxfordshire since 1944 and is already becoming hugely popular as one of the best located stations in the county due to its positioning adjacent to Oxford Parkway Park and Ride just off the A34 and close to the A44.
The new line will see the return of direct train services between the growing town of Bicester and Oxford via Bicester Village station.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “This a significant next step in connecting Oxford with London Marylebone and follows the successful opening of the line from Oxford Parkway last year. The new line provides different options for passengers travelling to the capital from Oxford as well as linking with new towns and destinations on the route. We continue to work closely with Chiltern Railways and I look forward to this exciting new piece of railway fully opening later this year.”
The project, East West Rail Phase 1, is being delivered by Chiltern Railways in partnership with Network Rail. It also provides the infrastructure for future services from Oxford to Milton Keynes and Bedford, on completion of East West Rail Phase 2.
East West Rail Phase 2 involves upgrading and reconstructing sections of railway between Bicester and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Princes Risborough and building a new station at Winslow. In addition to the Oxford to Milton Keynes and Bedford services, there will be a passenger service between Milton Keynes and London Marylebone via Aylesbury and Princes Risborough, in Buckinghamshire.