Buckingham Group and Carillion, Joint Venture contractors delivering the first Phase of Network Rail’s East West Rail project, are pleased to announce that the new Oxford to Bicester line, allowing passenger services to run from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone, was officially opened by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday 26th October.
The “First new line between London and a Major City in 100 years” has transformed the pre-existing 40mph single-track into a modern 100mph double track railway and connected it to the London Marylebone - Birmingham Moor Street line with a new 1km long chord embankment just south of Bicester.
The £320m project provides a major improvement in transport links for the people of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and a new train link directly to the popular shopping destination at Bicester Village. In addition to 12 miles of new twin track railway and associated signalling, it includes:
- New station at Oxford Parkway
- Rebuilt stations at Islip and Bicester Village
- Two new Park and Ride car parks
- New train depot at Banbury Road, Oxford
- New rail connection to MoD Bicester garrison
- Two new freight sidings at Bicester
- Four new road bridges
- Eight new footbridges
- Five new rail underbridges
- Six kilometres of new roads (public and private)
- Eight kilometres of retaining structures
- Three kilometres of noise barrier
- 33 level crossing closures
- Extensive lineside civil engineering works and offline accommodation works including the demolition of landmark Water Eaton Grain Silos (by the Buckingham demo team)
Train operator Chiltern Railways, who helped finance the project is now running two fast trains an hour in each direction between Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village Station and London with journey times to the capital in under an hour.
Simon Walkley, Managing Director for Buckingham Group Rail, said: "Given some very severe challenges with design, land take, environmental factors (flood mitigation, Great Crested Newts, badgers and bats etc.), what the team has achieved in less than 2 years is incredible. There has been a huge effort over the past months to ensure that the opening date of 26 October, announced in April this year, was not missed."
CBJV is a 50-50 Joint Venture between Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd – a privately owned £400M/year turnover construction company based in Stowe who were named as Network Rail’s supplier of the year in 2015 and Carillion Plc a global integrated support services company.
The first Chiltern Railways’ passenger train left the new Oxford Parkway Station at 07:49 on Sunday 25th October 2015 bound for London Marylebone, on what is said to be the first new rail link into London from another Major British city since 1899.
With the line now open, CBJV is focused on the final phase of the project that will connect the line into the existing Oxford city centre station next year.