THE introduction of direct services between Oxford Station and London Marylebone could be delayed by a row about noise and vibration.

It was revealed last week that Chiltern Railways planned to start running services from Oxford Parkway, at Water Eaton, to London from the end of October.

From next spring the rail operator also hopes to link its new station with Oxford Station, allowing a direct route from the city centre and eventually passenger services along the Cowley branch line.

But opening up that section to Chiltern Railways trains would require Network Rail to double up the tracks through Wolvercote Tunnel in North Oxford.

The work was approved in 2012, but cannot begin until Oxford City Council discharges the firm of “condition 19”, which concerns noise and vibration mitigation.

Senior rail figures hoped this could happen at a planning committee meeting on May 19, but it emerged this week it was cancelled due to major changes to the scheme – moving the location of proposed points.

Chiltern Railways has warned that if the track work does not get the go-ahead by June, it would have a knock-on effect and there would not be enough time to carry out works to link Oxford Parkway with Oxford Station by next spring.

Chiltern director Graham Cross said: “Linking Oxford Parkway and Oxford Station is the section that will really complete our move into the Oxford market and making Wolvercote Tunnel bigger is what will enable that.

“The points are being moved north and that is a very big step in the rail industry trying to get the project to be the best neighbour it can be. This work needs to commence next month and we have made clear to the city council that to have capacity by spring 2016, we need a positive decision very soon.”

Network Rail spokeswoman Victoria Bradley said the location of a set of proposed points had been moved from near Bladon Close to a location north of the tunnel, next to the lake south of Lakeside.

Residents had feared the points would be too close to homes and worsen noise and vibrations.

Ms Bradley added: “The project team listened to the views of the council and local residents and are reviewing the position of the points to an area further away from residential properties.

“We are hopeful that a decision will be made next month.”

The move is being publicly consulted on until tomorrow.

City council leader Bob Price blamed the delays on “bureaucracy” at Network Rail and its refusal to impose a speed limit on freight trains coming through North Oxford.

Last year, Mr Price wrote to the firm calling for a speed limit of 30mph for goods trains between Oxford and Water Eaton, after an outcry from residents.

He said: “There is time sensitivity for Chiltern Railways, but Network Rail has not provided us with the information officers need.”

Work to link Oxford Parkway and Oxford Station is part of a £130m scheme to upgrade the line between the city and Bicester for use by high-speed trains.

The first services to Marylebone will depart Water Eaton on October 26.