A huge civil engineering project to build two new routes underneath the busy Chiltern main line was completed over the Easter weekend.
A £12.3m investment saw two underpasses built in north west Bicester to help traffic and people move more easily around the town in the future.
Over a 100 hour railway closure between 2-5 April, railway lines were ripped up and 21,000 tonnes of railway embankment were removed so two prefabricated underpass structures, with a combined weight of 2,100 tonnes, could be slowly driven into the new gaps by a transporter vehicle.
The pedestrian underpass was prefabricated from concrete and weighs approximately 600 tonnes. The vehicle underpass is made from both concrete and steel and weighs 1,600 tonnes.
The new underpasses for pedestrians and vehicles were moved into position before 400 metres of track could be relaid above so passenger and freight services could resume again as normal this morning. (6/4/21).
The £12.3m investment is being delivered by Network Rail and Story Contracting on behalf of Homes England, Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council.
Dave Penney, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “This £12.3m investment in Bicester to create two new routes under the railway will not only benefit the flow of people and traffic, but also help the both local councils' regeneration vision. It’s a great example of how the rail industry can work in partnership with local authorities to unlock opportunities and growth for communities.”
Eleni Jordan, commercial and customer strategy director at Chiltern Railways, said: “We’re delighted that this project has been successfully completed. Chiltern Railways and Network Rail have worked hard to minimise disruption for our customers across the Easter weekend. These improvements in Bicester will have a positive impact on the local area and we are sure our customers will benefit from the new underpasses.”