Funding committed to support the next phase of East West Rail link
The Government has announced that it has committed £760 million in new funding to support the new East West Rail line. The investment means further vital construction work can begin and represents an important milestone in the East West Rail project.
The funding is for part of the line between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes and means this section of East West Rail is expected to be up and running by 2025. Delivery of this stage is expected to provide work for 1,500 people, injecting an estimated £1.1bn pounds into the local economy.
The new rail connections will provide opportunities for people right across the area by:
• Making it cheaper, easier and quicker to get around in the future - connecting people to their jobs, homes and families, as well as businesses to their employees, suppliers and customers
• Supporting new housing so people can afford to live and work in the area, and businesses can afford to create more jobs and increase productivity.
As well as improving quality of life for people in the area, East West Rail will help the local economy to:
• Make places more appealing for people wanting to start and grow businesses - attracting and retaining the best talent in the region, while encouraging new investment to support the economy
• Spreading prosperity across the UK - creating growth for towns and cities outside of London. The National Infrastructure Commission estimated that creating these transport links and supporting the area between Oxford and Cambridge was worth nearly £80bn extra each year for the British economy
The investment announcement also coincides with a phased approach to delivering the East West Rail project. We’re designing the delivery of the service with the community in mind, making sure we’re minimising disruption to local communities, spending taxpayer money in the best way, and delivering reliable services.
To do this, we will be delivering East West Rail in three “Connection Stages”, which relate directly to a full journey – not just a piece of track.
• Connection Stage One: Oxford to Bletchley and Milton Keynes
• Connection Stage Two: Oxford to Bedford
• Connection Stage Three: Oxford to Cambridge
By delivering the new railway link in this way, we can create real benefits:
• Minimise disruption for local communities – we are looking to find the best way to reduce the length and severity of disruption for local communities
• Deliver the best value for taxpayers – by properly integrating the whole railway all the way from planning to operations we will find efficiencies and cost saving for the taxpayer
• Increase reliability of our services – the new railway link project is about more than just laying down steel and concrete: we’re thinking about how timetables and connections with other parts of the rail network will impact your journeys, so we can be confident of delivering reliable services from day one.
For more information on each of the three connection stages and what it means for stations and communities along the route, watch our new video.
For more detail on each connection stage, please visit our dedicated Connection Stages page.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Restoring railways helps put communities back on the map and this investment forms part of our nationwide effort to build back vital connections and unlock access to jobs, education and housing.
“Returning these routes to their former glory, and progressing work to reopen even more lines and stations, shows our commitment to levelling up journeys across the country as we build back better from the pandemic.”
Simon Blanchflower CBE, Chief Executive Officer at East West Railway Company, said:
“We are delighted that the Government has made this significant investment decision for East West Rail and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. This means we can now get on with the construction work and connect communities who live on the East West Rail route.
“We are committed to improving connectivity from Oxford to Cambridge and fully recognise our responsibility to ensure that the railway link is delivered in a way that minimises disruption, supports the regional economy, maximises benefits and supports jobs across the region.”