Councillors have rejected Network Rail's "questionable" attempts to renege on its promise to install Silent Track through North Oxford and Wolvercote. 

The rail firm argued that the £3.6m cost of installing the rail damping - to mitigate noise and vibration caused by the East-West Rail link - was not "value for money" and applied to withdraw from its commitment.

Trackside residents claimed NR's cost analysis was questionable and city councillors were also unconvinced and refused the application.

The line is due to open in December and faster and more frequent trains from Oxford to Oxford Parkway will begin to run.

Phase two of the East-West Rail link will see even more trains using the line which will be extended from Bicester to Bletchley.

Discussions hinged on whether it was "reasonably practicable" for Network Rail to install silent track - rubber dampers between the train wheels and the track.

Adrian Olsen, chairman of residents group Waterways Management Company, said: "It is like a country lane at the end of your garden being turned into a motorway - residents need all the mitigation possible to cope with this.

"All this about it being "reasonably practicable" is irrelevant to residents who are concerned about the noise and vibrations in their house."

Representatives from Network Rail said it had promised a trial of Silent Track - used in Blackfriars in London - "in good faith" in March 2015 but the cost benefit analysis had meant it could not keep that promise.

Council officers had originally said it was not a question of whether NR were willing to pay for the measure but whether it should and could.

The city council's West Area Planning Committee voted (eight in favour and one abstention) to refuse the plans.

Despite the refusal the rail firm insisted there would be no delay to the expected opening of the Oxford to Oxford Parkway link on December 12.

The Silent Track can be retro-fitted but Network Rail are expected to appeal the council's decision. 

Network Rail said it had a "strong commitment" to environmental mitigation across the EWR link and that it was already spending £3.5m in Oxford on noise barriers and other measures.