Why East West Rail?
Oxford, Cambridge and the communities in between are renowned for their vibrant economy, educational excellence and scientific innovation. They deliver growth and prosperity both locally and for the whole country. So why is East West Rail so crucial?
Well, as the National Infrastructure Commission identified in their report "Partnering for Prosperity: A new deal for the Cambridge Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc", economic prosperity is not guaranteed. Without investment in new infrastructure designed to support housing growth and link communities, the area will fall behind and fail to attract or retain the talent which helps maintain its position in the UK economy.
Residents, businesses and Local Authorities have long called for a reinstatement of an east-west rail link across the region to cater for future growth, with the support of new local services which are quicker, cheaper and more reliable than the current transport options.
East West Rail does this, bringing communities closer together while unlocking new opportunities for jobs, tourism and housing.
Delivery is underway
East West Rail is being built in phases, which will allow services to start running sooner. Once complete it will create a world class rail link connecting Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, and communities in between.
Oxford to Bicester
Completed on 12 December 2016, Phase 1 of the Western Section involved a double-track upgrade between Oxford and Bicester Village to enable future East West Rail services.
The upgrade also allowed for Chiltern Railways to begin running services from Oxford through to London via Bicester.
Bicester to Bedford
East West Rail Phase 2 reinstates and upgrades railway lines to enable new train services to run between Oxford and Milton Keynes, between Oxford and Bedford and between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.
Some enabling work has already been completed, and major work will begin in late 2019, with the first of these services to be introduced from the end of 2024.
Bedford to Cambridge
We're developing options for the Preferred Route Alignment of this section, which will link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy, south of St Neots. Once these options are sufficiently advanced, we'll present them as part of a second non-statutory consultation, which follows on from our first public consultation in 2019.