Driver training has begun on the first new rail line to connect London and another major British city for over 100 years.
The new Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone link – part of the wider East West Rail scheme – is scheduled to open next month.
First approved in 2002, the project has involved the construction of a new spur line connecting the Bicester Town to Oxford line to the Chiltern main line and the new Oxford Parkway station.
Stephen Barker, chief project engineer at Chiltern Railways, said: “The project has been over 10 years in the making, constitutes an investment of £130 million for Chiltern and we are thrilled to see the first driver instruction trains travel across the junction onto the new line.”
Andy Milne, Network Rail, senior programme manager, said: “This is a great day for Network Rail and all of our partners involved in the delivery of this project, it is a great achievement to now see trains running on the new line from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone.
“It is also a real step forward in reconnecting the railway from Oxford and Bicester towards Bletchley, Milton Keynes and Bedford. This £320 million project is being delivered in a ground-breaking, collaborative partnership between Network Rail, Chiltern Railways and our supply chain partners.”