A NEW rail service between Oxford and London is on track to start operating in September.

The new Oxford Parkway station near Kidlington is almost complete and Chiltern Railways is confident the project is on schedule.

The train operator is now asking residents to suggest Oxford attractions it could use to decorate toilets on new trains that will run on the route.

The station will serve a new 60-minute rail link between the city and London Marylebone.

Chiltern Railways spokeswoman Sally Gillespie said: “Work is progressing well and the station is taking shape, with the internal fit-out under way. We look forward to running services from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone from September.”

The new station will have 100 cycle parking spaces, more than 800 car parking spaces and access to buses serving the Water Eaton Park & Ride site, north of the city.

It is part of Chiltern Railways' £130m Evergreen Three project.

The new link, which will also serve Bicester, will connect to Oxford Station next year.

Oxford rail campaigner Hugh Jaeger said the new service will benefit passengers and the city.

He said: “It’s brilliant because we can’t all carry on cramming into Paddington on First Great Western.

“That line keeps getting busier and busier and they can keep running longer trains and more frequent trains up to a point.

"But when we get to Paddington they have enlarged it as much as they can.

“Marylebone gives us not only a second railway line from Oxford to London but also a second London terminal to get onto the Underground.”

Mr Jaeger added: “Also, High Wycombe is a big place and a lot of people go there to shop and go to the cinema.

"Also, we want people to come into Oxford.”

Oxford Parkway is the first new station to be built in the county since 1935 and is located on the site of an old Second World War grain silo that dominated the skyline alongside the A34 for decades.

Chiltern Railways is planning to feature "hidden gems" from the towns and cities it visits in the toilets of its new-look trains and is asking Oxford residents to come up with suggestions from the city.

The Inspiration Station initiative already features attractions such as Compton Verney in Warwickshire (pictured), Birmingham Back to Backs, Hughenedon Manor in Buckinghamshire and the John Soane Museum in London.

The company wants people to nominate buildings which best represent the city. Email suggestions, along with the reason, to competition@chilternrailways.co.uk by Tuesday.