East West Rail is a complex project, particularly when there's multiple connection stages and delivery partners.
Our role at East West Railway Company is to integrate the project, and make sure a full service between Oxford and Cambridge can be delivered. To achieve this, we're responsible for planning the section of East West Rail between Bletchley and Cambridge, while overseeing construction of the section between Bicester and Bletchley.
The below guide gives more detail about the key stakeholders we're working with, and what their relationship is to East West Rail.
A quick guide to whose helping us deliver East West Rail
The Department for Transport work with agencies and partners to support the transport network that helps the UK’s businesses and gets people and goods travelling around the country. They plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep the UK on the move.
The Department for Transport are our main shareholder and monitor our governance and performance.
Read more about the Department for Transport here.
Network Rail own and operate railway infrastructure in England, Wales and Scotland on behalf of the nation. They also manage rail timetabling and 20 of the largest stations in England, Scotland and Wales.
With our oversight, Network Rail are a key member of the East West Rail Alliance, who are constructing the section of East West Rail between Bicester and Bletchley. They're also a key partner as we look towards integrating East West Rail with the existing rail network.
Read more about Network Rail here.
The East West Rail Alliance was procured by Network Rail to construct the section of East West Rail between Bicester and Bletchley, and is made up of Network Rail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and Volker Rail.
The East West Rail Consortium – a group of local authorities and businesses – was formed in 1995 with an interest in improving access to and from East Anglia and the Milton Keynes South Midlands growth area. They are strong advocates for East West Rail, and we liaise closely with them to make sure that local voices are being heard.
Read more about the East West Rail Consortium here.
Services will be introduced in three connection stages
The East West Railway Company was set up in 2018 to take a fresh look at the project
We’ve since been looking at ways to deliver East West Rail with minimal disruption to local communities, while making sure the services are reliable from the start and giving the best value to the taxpayer.
To achieve this, we will be introducing services in three connection stages. Learn more about them on our Connection Stages page, or watch our helpful video.Watch
Following confirmation of funding in the 2020 Spending Review, we’re now starting construction of the section between Bicester and Bletchley, delivered through the East West Rail Alliance. This will allow us to run trains from Oxford to Milton Keynes by 2025 (Connection Stage 1).
Delivering a reliable service for passengers is our top priority, and we are working with government to deliver the full Oxford-Milton Keynes connection from day one. We may though need to introduce the service to Bletchley first, and then extend to Milton Keynes as soon as we are satisfied it will be reliable for our customers.
Upgrades to Bletchley station have already begun, and a brand-new station will be built for communities at Winslow.
We are also working on a costed plan to run a reliable service from Aylesbury, so we can make the best possible case for Government to confirm that upgrade too.
After the Oxford to Bletchley/Milton Keynes connection is delivered, the next stage of East West Rail will see trains run from Oxford all the way to Bedford. Bedford station will be completely remodelled to support this.
The existing train line between Bletchley and Bedford will also need a significant upgrade, both to enable trains to reach Bedford, and so that trains can eventually run all the way to Cambridge
We are looking at different options to do this while minimising disruption. We will bring these options to the community through a consultation in early 2021.
After the Oxford to Bedford Connection is delivered, in the final stage of East West Rail services will run all the way from Oxford through to Cambridge, via Bedford.
We will be presenting options for the section between Bedford and Cambridge in a public consultation early in 2021.
Following consultation we will work with Government to unlock the next stage of funding to progress the project.