Published on : Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Network Rail, Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry are urging passengers to be prepared for a nine day closure of the railway between Leamington Spa, Banbury and Bicester North from this Saturday while a £76m upgrade takes place.
The work by Network Rail, part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, will help improve the punctuality and reliability of train services on the Chiltern main line, providing Chiltern Railways passengers with a better railway between Birmingham and London and CrossCountry passengers with a better railway through the area.
From Saturday, 30 July until the line reopens on Monday, 8 August, engineers will replace the signalling through the Banbury area upgrading it to a more reliable and modern system which will be controlled from the West Midlands Signalling Centre in Birmingham.
A significant amount of work has already taken place, much of it carried out with minimal disruption to passengers.As well as a new track layout through Banbury station and the modern signalling being installed, the investment is also providing the necessary infrastructure for a new depot south of Banbury which is currently being built. This will provide essential maintenance provision for the growing Chiltern Railways train fleet.
Martin Ball, area director for Network Rail, said: “This £76m investment at Banbury is key to modernising the railway through the area and providing passengers with a more reliable, better railway.
“There is never a good time to close the railway for any length of time but we have looked at all options and worked with Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry to complete this work at a time which will cause least disruption to passengers.“Our Railway Upgrade Plan is delivering significant investment into the railway network which will provide a better, more reliable railway for passengers.”
Dave Penney, managing director at Chiltern Railways, explained: “The work at Banbury is an important investment to improve the infrastructure so we can keep our trains some of the most reliable in the country. We are working hard to provide our customers with coordinated fast replacement bus services to make the closure as easy as possible.”
Andy Cooper, managing director of CrossCountry, said: “The area around Hinksey has often suffered from flooding, and it was only two years ago that the line was closed for several days because of this. While we are sorry that some customers could be inconvenienced while the works take place, and while the railway through Banbury is upgraded at the same time, we trust they will understand their importance in helping deliver a better and more reliable railway.”
As part of the railway upgrade at Banbury 14,000 metres of new rail will be laid and 50,000 tonnes of ballast – the stone which forms the foundation of the track – will be used. A total of 24 new points – which allow trains to change from one track to another – will be installed.