The project involves constructing a new 1km chord at Bicester linking the London Marylebone – Banbury line with the Bicester – Oxford line, which will be doubled and rebuilt for 160km/h operation. An 18km single-track section will be doubled, 37 level crossings will be eliminated, and a new Oxford Parkway park-and-ride station will be built at Water Eaton north of Oxford. Existing stations at Bicester Town and Islip will be rebuilt and new signalling equipment will be installed.
The upgrading of the Oxford – Bicester line will be the first phase of East – West Rail, which will reinstate the cross-country link between Oxford, Aylesbury, and Bletchley.
Chiltern Railways will introduce a direct London Marylebone – Oxford Parkway service in the middle of next year, with a journey time of less than one hour. Services will begin running to the main station in Oxford in 2016 following the completion of the remodelling of the northern approaches to the station.