Major step forward for East West Rail

Major step forward for East West Rail

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 5:55am 27th July 2018.

The East West Rail project has taken a massive step forward today.

Network Rail has applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for planning permission, called a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) today (27 July), to construct phase 2 of the project between Bicester and Bedford.

The East West Rail project is being built progressively in phases, and once complete will create a world class rail link between Cambridge and Oxford.

It will connect communities and businesses creating more jobs, more economic growth, and more sustainable housing.

Two phases

  • Phase 1 between Oxford and Bicester is already complete
  • Phase 2 proposes major track and signalling upgrades between Bicester, Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, including the reinstatement of a 'mothballed' section of railway between Bletchley and Claydon Junction.
Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport

The proposed works will see major improvements to local travel, with the phased introduction of new rail journeys between:

  • Oxford and Milton Keynes, with trains stopping at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow and Bletchley
  • Oxford and Bedford, with trains stopping at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont
  • Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, with trains stopping at Bletchley, Winslow and Aylesbury Vale Parkway

Construction of phase 2 is subject to permission through a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO), which if granted by government could allow major works to begin later this year.

Colin Murphy, Head of Consenting and Environment for Network Rail, East West Rail project said,

"The submission of the Transport and Works Act Order is a culmination of four years of work developing the scheme and follows three positive rounds of community consultation, where we've continually refined our proposal based on the views of the community and planning experts.

"We have carried out a comprehensive programme of consultation to understand the impact of our proposals and I'd like to thank everyone who contributed. As intended the feedback we received has informed our final proposals which we are submitting today. Once completed, the new railway will connect communities and businesses along the route and beyond, creating new opportunities for jobs, housing and economic growth".

"Transformational project" 

Rob Brighouse, Chairman at East West Railway Company said:

"As a dedicated delivery body, East West Railway Company's role is to streamline decision making and ensure the project is delivered quickly and cost-effectively.

"We will lead the development, procurement and delivery of this transformational project, with the support of the community and our delivery partners.

"Today's announcement by Network Rail is very welcome and shows our shared commitment to move all elements of the project from planning to delivery as quickly as possible."

Councillor Mark Shaw, Chairman of the East West Rail Consortium of Councils which has campaigned for the reopening of the Varsity Line since 1995, said:

"East West Rail will drastically reduce journey times within the region, bringing key economic and cultural centres within easy reach of each other.

"After more than 20 years of campaigning, the submission of the TWAO is a hugely significant milestone, marking the final stage in acquiring permission to reopen the rail lines between Oxford and Bedford, and Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.

"I'd really encourage people to give their views directly to the Department for Transport and leave them in no doubt about the public's appetite for getting trains on tracks as soon as possible."

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