CHILTERN Railways has stood by a “difficult” decision to cut back non-stop rush hour trains between Banbury and London Marylebone.

It said the weekday change is needed to take demand from a major new housing development in Bicester.

At the moment, the 7.11am service gets in at 8.06am and the 7.17am leaves for a 8.24am arrival. Both are non-stop.

But changes from December 9 will instead see a 6.58am service which gets in at 8am and a 7.24am service for 8.28am. Both will stop at Bicester North.

Banbury resident Nick Moore, who lives in Fisher Close, said: “I will honestly have to spend 30 minutes longer each day out of the house – over two hours per week. It is a complete betrayal of a town that is going places and is becoming increasingly popular to commuters.”

Chiltern customer service director Jennifer Payne said: “This difficult decision was taken in view of the extensive housebuilding programme in the Bicester area.”

Banbury MP Tony Baldry said: “I don’t think it is acceptable that the excuse for any deterioration of service at Banbury is that this is in some way to improve services for Bicester.”