Delayed opening

Chiltern have announced the date when the new service will open west towards London Marylebone from Oxford Parkway and Bicester: 26th October 2015, approx. 7 weeks later than previously proposed (5th September).

The date for reopening service into Oxford seems to be anybody’s guess, given that planning approval has only recently been granted for the construction of two new platforms at Oxford station, lengthened to accommodate the new trains. (This requires the demolition of the building which used to be the post office depot.) No reliable date is available for the completion of the Oxford Area Remodelling project, which will renew the track layout north of the station and replace signalling.

It seems likely that tunnel, bridge and track work on the line will be complete long before Oxford station is ready.  Chiltern will obviously have difficulty running the new service into Oxford without the modifications necessary for a half-hourly additional service to London with appropriate rolling stock. Even were it possible, the service would be prone to much disruption as work progresses and congestion occurs.

OBRAG has proposed running a reduced shuttle service with a two-car train, similar to the old service in this period. ┬áThis would eliminate disruption to the mainline service, while allowing Islip and Bicester commuters to resume access to the city of Oxford without slow and unreliable buses. It would also spare Chiltern the expense of running ‘bustitution’.

I will add their response here when it arrives.

4 thoughts on “Delayed opening

  1. Better late and working, that on schedule and full of teething I say. Counting the days now – this new line will make a huge positive difference to so many people. We moved house in anticpiation to be nearer the new station a few years ago.

  2. The shuttle is a great idea – without something like that it would probably make sense for Oxford commuters from Bicester to stay with Stagecoach, rather than having to get a rail replacement bus to the station from Oxford Parkway. It would be good if Chiltern would give some indication of when they expect to be able to run a full service into Oxford.

  3. This is useful info. I currently drive from Cassington to Bicester North. Is there any info about proposed costs of parking at Oxford Parkway or rail fares?

  4. No to both I’m afraid. They’ll give us the bad news in their own good time. There is competition for London commute in Oxford though, so they can’t be too greedy.

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