The morning of Monday 26th October 2015 saw Chiltern Railways open a new railway line between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone.
Consisting of 22 miles of new track, the route cost £320m (£130m from Chiltern Railway and the rest from Network Rail) to construct.
It is the first new rail link between a British city and the capital to open since the Grand Central main line was built to connect London Marylebone to Sheffield in 1899.
Two services an hour are expected to run on the new line which will compete with passengers on FirstGroup’s Great Western line from London Paddington to Oxford via Reading.
Chiltern Railways have made a promotional video available on the Chiltern Railway YouTube page showing the stages of construction of the new railway line.
The new line was officially opened by The Prime Minister who 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.‘
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 was 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.