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Network Rail £250m rail investment to bring much faster journeys

Network Rail is funding a £250m project to create a new main line from London to Oxfordshire and to deliver much faster services on the Chiltern route to Banbury and Birmingham

The Chiltern Railways’ project will see journey times of just 92 minutes from its London Marylebone base to Birmingham Snow Hill slashing the present journey time by 25 minutes. Banbury will be just 50 minutes away (presently 67mins).

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s director of operations and customer service, said: “This is a great scheme that will deliver huge benefits to hundreds of thousands of passengers.  It clearly demonstrates how Network Rail is working in partnership with train operators to continue to fund and attract big improvement schemes for the benefit of everyone who uses the rail network.”

A new line will be built to Oxford; the first new rail link from London to a major British city since 1910. Designed explicitly to take cars off the road, the centrepiece of the Oxford link will be Water Eaton Parkway in North Oxford; a high quality integrated transport hub linked to the A34, A40 and Oxford city centre.

Adrian Shooter, chairman of Chiltern Railways, said, “This is the biggest passenger rail project for several generations not to call on the taxpayer for support. Working closely with Network Rail, we are going to create a new main line railway for the people of Oxfordshire and the Midlands. This deal demonstrates that real improvements to rail services can be paid for without public subsidy by attracting people out of their cars and onto trains.”


The ambitious scheme seeks to get motorists out of their cars and onto trains with the £259m investment resulting in faster trains and reduced journey times. Average journey times will fall by 20%, including from the M40 park and ride hubs at Warwick Parkway (J15) and Haddenham & Thame Parkway (J7).