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 it's 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
Western Section Phase 1
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
Western Section Phase 2
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.
It also involves creating a new station at Winslow, building two new platforms at Bletchley, installing 8 new over-bridges, 22 new footbridges or subways, and making changes to 97 railway crossings.
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 2023
Bedford to Cambridge
This new rail line between Bedford and Cambridge is expected to be built by the mid 2020s.
A preferred route has not been selected, and we recently held an eight-week public consultation about five potential route options. We’re now analysing feedback and we'll publish our consultation feedback report and preferred route option later this year.