A Bam Nuttall team has won the £259m project to create a new main line from London to Oxfordshire and deliver other infrastructure improvements on the Chiltern route to Banbury and Birmingham.
The scheme includes construction of a new line to Oxford; the first new rail link from London to a major British city since 1910. The Oxford link will feature a new transport hub at Water Eaton Parkway in North Oxford, linked to the A34, A40 and Oxford city centre.
On the Banbury-Birmingham line, over 50 miles of track will be upgraded to 100mph running, with 0.5 miles of new track built to enable the Oxford connection, linking existing lines at Bicester. The Evergreen 3 infrastructure upgrade will be supported by the opening of additional platforms at Birmingham Moor Street station and new ticketing technology.
The infrastructure work will be carried out by main contractor Bam Nuttall, together with partners Jarvis and Atkins, who will deliver the project under contract to Chiltern Railways. The rail operator is owned by Laing Rail, which was bought by Deutsche Bahn two years ago.
The scheme is being funded by Network Rail, who will be paid back via a facility charge over the next 30 years, initially by Chiltern Railways (its franchise expires in 2021/2) and then by the future franchisee.
The project will be delivered in stages, with the main line journey time improvements being delivered from 2011. The new line to Oxford, including Water Eaton Parkway, is expected to open by 2013, subject to Transport and Works Act approval.
The project will see journey times of just 92 minutes from its London Marylebone base to Birmingham Snow Hill slashing the present journey time by 25 minutes. Banbury will be just 50 minutes away (presently 67mins).