Mr Chris Grayling, Britain’s secretary of state for transport, inaugurated the completion of the £320m project on December 12, which was funded jointly by Chiltern Railways, which contributed £130m, and infrastructure manager Network Rail, which funded the remaining £190m as part of a wider scheme to reopen the line from Bicester to Bletchley.

The project involved building a new link at Bicester to connect the London Marylebone - Banbury line with the Bicester - Oxford line which has been upgraded to double track, apart from a section through a tunnel. Stations at Bicester Village and Islip have been rebuilt, while a new park-and-ride station was constructed at Oxford Parkway.

Services between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway started a year ago, and have already carried more than 1.5 million passengers. The second phase of the project has involved track upgrading between Oxford Parkway and Oxford where two new platforms are being provided.

Passengers travelling between London and Oxford now have a choice between Chiltern Railways’ service from London Marylebone via High Wycombe, which take just over 1 hour, and Great Western Railway’s service from London Paddington via Reading which take between 55 minutes and 1h 2min. Both operators charge similar fares. More information on railway projects like this is available from IRJ Pro.