£76m signal and track upgrade completed on time as Network Rail reopens railway between Banbury, Bicester and Leamington.(Network Rail)

The railway line between Banbury, Bicester and Leamington Spa reopened yesterday after Network Rail completed a £76m upgrade to track and signalling on the Chiltern main line.

New track and signalling at Banbury

New track and signalling at Banbury

Work progressing at Banbury station

Work progressing at Banbury station.(Network Rail Images)  

Engineers have replaced the signalling through Banbury by upgrading it to a more reliable and modern system, which will help improve the punctuality and reliability of Chiltern train services between Birmingham and London, as well as local services for CrossCountry passengers.

The railway upgrade at Banbury included:

  • 14,000 metres of new rail
  • 50,000 tonnes of new ballast – (the stone which forms the foundation of the track)
  • 24 new points – which allow trains to change from one track to another
  • a new fourth platform at Banbury station, allowing for greater capacity and flexibility for station users.
Our engineers worked quickly and safely to complete this work on time and on budget and we worked closely with the train operators involved to carefully plan these improvements to cause the least amount of disruption to passengers. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while the improvements took place.

Martin Ball, area director for Network Rail

The improvements to the Banbury infrastructure are a key investment to help us keep our trains some of the most reliable in the country. We have been working hard to provide our coordinated fast replacement bus services to make the closure as easy as possible for our customers.

Dave Penney, managing director at Chiltern Railways