Nicola, the Prime Minister, Victoria Prentice, MP for Banbury and BBC’s Nick Robinson officially opened the new Oxford Parkway station at Water Eaton.
The opening marks the completion of the first new rail link between London and a major British city in over 100 years, and is expected to serve 1,000 people every day.
The new rail route is the result of a £130 million investment, delivered on budget and on time; achieved in partnership with Network Rail and operated by Chiltern Railways. The new route will take passengers from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone in just 66 minutes, with services running from the centre of Oxford from Spring 2016. In addition, Chiltern Railways is providing commuters with free 4G Wi-Fi. There is no doubt that this increased competition in Oxford will drive up standards on both services.
The new Oxford Parkway station, next to the heavily congested A34, also has 1,500 car parking spaces, and will make it much easier to take our cars off the road.
The completion of the line means that a total of £600 million has been invested since the start of the franchise. The project will also see new infrastructure for the East West Rail line, with trains running from Oxford to Bedford by 2017.
An additional station at Bicester Village has created a new, direct connection between the popular shopping destination and London, enabling millions of shoppers to make the journey in just 46 minutes.
Nicola is a strong and vocal supporter of increased rail investment in Oxfordshire, and has welcomed this latest achievement, which transforms the old 20-40mph service into a multi-track 100mph line. Nicola, Victoria and the Prime Minister then travelled on the new route back to London Marylebone to return to the Commons.
Nicola says: “We should celebrate the fact that new rail link between London and a major British city in over 100 years has opened right here in Oxford, in Oxford West & Abingdon. All of us who live locally have been waiting with baited breath for the moment we will no longer have to drive through the city centre to get to the station. Once the roadworks at Cutteslowe are finished we should see the full effect – not just shorter, cheaper journey times from Oxford to London but also less traffic from North Oxford into the City Centre at peak times.
But this is not the end, the Government’s investment in our rail infrastructure is at record level, and there are further proposals being considered for faster, more direct routes to Heathrow, Bristol and Cambridge. Clearly making rail travel work better for local residents, and getting more cars off our congested roads, must be a priority for us locally, so I will continue to campaign for Oxford West & Abingdon to benefit from Government and private sector investment in rail services.’