Franchise extension kick
starts faster, more frequent journeys between London and Midlands -
Embargoed until 0001 Friday 15 January 2010
are to be granted an extension to their rail franchise in return
for making £250m of improvements which will cut journey times to
the Midlands and could see a new main line from London Marylebone
to Oxford established, Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis has announced.
The scheme will cut rail journey times along the busy M40
corridor, making rail more competitive with road travel. Average
journey times from Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone
will be cut more than 20%, from 2h 08m to 1h 40m. Commuting times
from Banbury and Bicester will reduce to less than an hour and
there will be faster trains from the M40 park and ride hubs at
Warwick Parkway (J15) and Haddenham & Thame Parkway (J7).
Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis said:
"With journey times being cut and capacity increased,
these improvements are not only excellent news for passengers
travelling on this busy line; they will also create significant
economic benefits along the route by attracting investment and
encouraging tourism, boosting local jobs and businesses.
"The Government is committed to improving our railways
and this upgrade scheme is a powerful testament to the remarkable
renaissance that rail has undergone in recent years.”
Subject to planning consents, the project could also see Oxford
linked to the Chiltern mainline by a stretch of new railway to be
constructed at Bicester, allowing new direct passenger services to
operate between Oxford and London Marylebone. The centrepiece of
the Oxford link would be Water Eaton Parkway in North Oxford; an
integrated transport hub linked to the A34, A40 and Oxford city centre.
The improvements, which are being delivered as part of
Chiltern's Evergreen 3 project, will be delivered in
stages. Mainline journey time improvements will be delivered from
2011 and the possible new main line to Oxford, including Water
Eaton Parkway could open by 2013. In total, over 50 miles of track
will be upgraded to 100mph running.
The infrastructure upgrade will be supported by new trains
designed for faster acceleration, the introduction of mainline
style carriages for the Birmingham route, the opening of
additional platforms at Birmingham Moor Street station and new
Notes to Editors
1. Chiltern Railways have secured a 7.5-year extension to their
12.5-year franchise in return for the £250m Evergreen Project.
2. The Chiltern Franchise Agreement is based on a unique
investment-led model. Chiltern is required to make sufficient
investments to justify extensions to the Minimum Franchise Term,
ultimately realising the full 20 year term.
3. The works necessary to provide the link to the Oxford are
subject to securing the necessary legal powers, for which Chiltern
Railways has recently submitted an application under the Transport
and Works Act. These proposals are likely to be the subject of a
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