CHILTERN RAILWAYS AND NETWORK RAIL OPENS GROUNDBREAKING NEW RAIL LINE CONNECTING OXFORD AND LONDON
- Chiltern Railways – which has a unique 20 year franchise model – conceived, designed and invested £130m in the line
- New line is the first to link a major British city to London in more than 100 years
- Challenger service expected to generate ¼ million additional return commuter journeys a year
Chiltern Railways today launches its new services into London, connecting Oxford with the capital, following a unique £320m investment by the franchise operator and Network Rail.
The new rail link to London – the first from a major British city in more than 100 years – will serve brand new stations at Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village. The stations, specified by Chiltern Railways and built by Network Rail, also officially open today as part of this ambitious programme.
The new station at Bicester Village will create a direct connection to the shopping destination from London for the first time, enabling many of the 6.3 million shoppers who visit each year to reach the popular retail destination from just 46 minutes from Marylebone.
Chiltern’s new service offers Oxford commuters an alternative to travelling into London via Reading and Paddington and is expected to attract an additional 250,000 return commuter journeys each year. It is a rare example of new direct competition on Britain’s railways.
Oxford Parkway is a brand new station on the outskirts of Oxford designed explicitly to be attractive to motorists, making it easy to take cars off the road. Immediately adjacent to the congested A34, it is close to the A40 and A44 trunk roads and has 1,500 car parking spaces at the site.
As an added benefit to commuters Chiltern, who first introduced free Wi-Fi in 2011, is upgrading their free Wi-Fi to 4G giving commuters a faster internet connection. Chiltern Railways carriages also have tables and power sockets making it easy for commuters to be charged and connected throughout their journey.
Chiltern Railways has invested £130million of the £320million total cost of the new line and stations with Network Rail contributing £190m. Today’s launch is a major landmark for Chiltern Railways, which this year was again named one of the UK’s highest rated franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey. The survey, conducted by Passenger Focus, gave Chiltern Railways an overall satisfaction score of 90%.
The new service will offer two new fast trains per hour throughout the day between Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village station and London with journey times to the capital from under an hour.
Commenting at the launch of the new line and service, Chiltern Railways Managing Director, Rob Brighouse, said:
“This is an historic day. Our significant and unique investment will be economically advantageous for the regional economy creating competition in the rail market between Oxford and London, as well as delivering the first new service between a major British city and London for over 100 years. Passengers are at the heart of every decision we make at Chiltern Railways, which is why we conceived this new line to link London, Oxford and Bicester Village for the benefit of shoppers and commuters.”
The project has been delivered in partnership with Network Rail. Mark Carne, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said:
“Investing in new rail links and train stations boosts the economy, providing opportunities for new housing and more jobs. By working closely with Chiltern Railways on this part of our Railway Upgrade Plan we have been able to deliver precisely what its customers want - a much-needed new transport option for Oxford-based business and leisure travellers to London. It will also help provide the capacity needed as rail travel is forecast to double over the next two decades.”
Under the agreement, Network Rail will provide the capital for the upgrade and recover this through a facility charge over the next 30 years, payable by the existing Chiltern Railways franchise and by subsequent franchisees.
The Prime Minister said:
"This new line and two new stations mark an historic moment for Oxfordshire.
“From today there will be more trains, faster journey times and better transport links for people living and working here.
"Our long term plan is delivering the infrastructure needed to help people to get to work, ease congestion on our roads, support business and grow the local economy."
Desirée Bollier, Chief Executive of Value Retail Management who run Bicester Village, said:
“We are delighted that the new Bicester Village Station is now open. The station is a great opportunity for many more visitors to discover the Village and the surrounding region by train, a faster and more sustainable way to travel. This is an exciting milestone in our continued partnership with Chiltern Railways.”
NOTES TO EDITOR
- Chiltern Railways conceived, designed the new line and stations and will operate trains on the new line.
- Network Rail built the track and stations on time and budget.
- The first Chiltern commuter service will leave Oxford Parkway at 07:24am on Monday 26th October arriving at Marylebone Station in London at 08:20am.
- Video footage of the track and stations being built is available including time lapse footage
Press Office contacts:
Press Office to contact: Fishburn: Dominic Pendry, Judith Moore, Joe Rankin +44 (0)20 7092 2222
Chiltern Railways conceived, designed the new line and stations and will operate trains on the new line. For the Chiltern Press Office call: +44 (0)20 7333 3014
Network Rail built the track and stations on time and budget. For the Network Rail Press office call: 0161 880 3142
About Chiltern Railways:
Chiltern Railways is part of Arriva plc, the division of Deutsche Bahn AG responsible for regional passenger transport outside of Germany.
Chiltern Railways is one of the most innovative train operators in the UK. The company increased line speed on the Chiltern line as part of the wide Evergreen 3 project which resulted in faster services between Birmingham and London. In 2011, the company launched Mainline, their fast service between Birmingham and London. At the same time Chiltern Railways launched a ‘premium economy’ Business Zone. They are also the first train operator in Britain to introduce mobile ticketing and fulfilment through their award-winning app.
The company recently won Best Train Operator at the Independent Travel Awards.
For more information about Chiltern Railways, visit the company’s website www.chilternrailways.co.uk
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 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.