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CHILTERN RAILWAYS RESTORES DIRECT TRAINS FROM HIGH WYCOMBE TO OXFORD

  • Region’s two key hubs linked for the first time in over 50 years
  • Direct train service will drive economic growth
  • £320m investment in brand new rail link

Chiltern Railways today restores direct train services from High Wycombe to Oxford, following a unique £320m investment by the franchise operator and Network Rail.

The new rail link also serves Haddenham & Thame Parkway and a brand new station at Bicester Village retail outlet, reconnecting Buckinghamshire with Oxfordshire’s fastest growing towns.

The service runs to a brand new station called Oxford Parkway, which is to the north of Oxford city centre close to Kidlington. The new station is a major transport hub, with buses, taxis and major roads radiating out to all areas of Oxford and the surrounding county.

The new station is better located than the existing Oxford railway station for the north and east of the city, including the famous hospitals.

Connections to the city centre are available via an express bus service (route 500) that meets every train at Oxford Parkway, and on which rail tickets are valid.

Buses also run direct from Oxford Parkway to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Churchill Hospital, Headington, Kidlington and Summertown.

This is the first time that direct trains have served Oxford from High Wycombe since the 7th January 1963, when the previous service was withdrawn during the era of the Beeching rail cuts.

Since then, Buckinghamshire has been virtually severed from Oxford by rail, despite the economic links between the adjacent counties.

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 on the Oxford route also have tables and power sockets making it easy for commuters to be charged and connected throughout their journey.

A direct train will run from High Wycombe and Haddenham & Thame Parkway every hour.

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 prove economically advantageous for the regional economy creating direct connections between High Wycombe and Oxford for the first time in over 50 years”

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 High Wycombe-based business and leisure travellers to Oxford.  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.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITOR

  • Video footage of the track and stations being built is available including time lapse footage

Press Office to contact: Fishburn: Dominic Pendry, Judith Moore, Peter Meikle, 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

+44 (0)20 7092 2222