Oxford to Bicester Line
|Oxford to Bicester Line|
South East England
|No. of tracks||One|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Oxford to Bicester Line|
The line was opened in 1850 as part of the Buckinghamshire Railway, which in 1879 became part of the London and North Western Railway. In the grouping of Britain's railways in 1923 the L&NWR became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and in the nationalisation of Britain's railways in 1948 the LMS became part of British Railways. Both the LMS and BR ran passenger services between Oxford and Cambridge via the Buckinghamshire Railway, Marston Vale Line and Bedford and Cambridge Railway. This led to the Oxford - Cambridge route being informally called the Varsity Line.
In 1967 British Railways withdrew Oxford - Cambridge services and closed the section of line between Oxford and Bletchley. In 1987 Network SouthEast restored passenger services on the Oxford - Bicester Town railway station section on the initiative of Oxfordshire County Council. In 1988 Network SouthEast rebuilt and reopened Islip station, again with Oxfordshire County Council support.
Since 2005 an enhanced service including Sunday services has run during the weeks before Christmas, mainly for the Bicester Village Shopping Centre adjacent to Bicester Town station. An enhanced service was operated on the weekend of 12 and 13 May 2007 to celebrate the 20th anniversary since the section of line re-opened.
Passenger services are operated by Chiltern Railways, who took over from First Great Western on 22 May 2011. Since December 2008, Oxfordshire County Council has been funding improvements to services on the line. The service on Mondays to Saturdays was improved with an evening service and a doubling of the number of trains on Saturdays. From May 2009, there were further improvements with extra trains during the daytime on Mondays to Fridays and a new all-year round Sunday service, with a train every 90 minutes. There are now 11 trains from Mondays to Thursdays, 12 trains on Fridays, 13 on Saturdays and nine on Sundays.
On 22 May 2011, Chiltern Railways took over all passenger operations on the line. This is in advance of the new London Marylebone to Oxford service which is due to start in 2013. later amended to 2015.
In August 2008 Chiltern Railways announced Project Evergreen 3 to create a new passenger service between Oxford and London Marylebone via High Wycombe by 2012. As part of this project Chiltern Railways would double most of the line, build a new Oxford Parkway passenger station to serve Kidlington and north Oxford and open the short 'missing-link' from Bicester Town station to the Chiltern Main Line. This would give Oxford an alternative to First Great Western's rail link to London Paddington and provide Oxford with a direct rail-link to High Wycombe for the first time since British Railways closed the Princes Risborough - Oxford section of the Wycombe Railway in 1964.
- Rail Magazine Issue 664, 23rd February - 8th March 2011, page 25 'Chiltern to take over Bicester-Oxford trains'.
- New rail link is capital idea (from the Oxford Mail)
- "Chiltern Railways names new Oxfordshire station Oxford Parkway" (Press release). Chiltern Railways. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- MK rail link plan on track (from The Oxford Times)
- Bicester Link
- East West Rail Link proposal
- Chiltern Railways Evergreen 3 Project
- Oxford to Bicester Rail Action Group website
- "Oxford to Bicester, Banbury and Worcester, Description of line"