Works have begun on the long-awaited upgrade to the rail line between Oxford and Bicester.
The upgrade represents a £130million investment in the line which will form a new link to London Marylebone station and also become part of the East West Rail Scheme, re-establishing lost freight and passenger links between towns like Bedford, High Wycombe and Oxford.
Chris Wright, secretary of Oxon Bucks Rail Action Committee, said: “Having been campaigning for 25 years to get the railway line to Milton Keynes regenerated, it is a great delight to see it all being taken up because it was past its sell-by date. They are going to do a really top notch job on this, with 100-mile-an-hour trains and making it all safe.”
Work began on the link, which will be the first new rail link for 100 years, on Monday when part of the old track was removed.
Vegetation clearance works have already taken place between Steeple Claydon and Bletchley. Surveys have also uncovered great crested newts near the MOD site at the former RAF Bicester. This discovery has halted works until the newts can be relocated in the summer.
Chiltern Railways have also announced a deal for nine additional two-carriage trains, providing 1,100 seats, to be refurbished with power points, tables and wi-fi in preparation for the line’s opening in summer 2015.