Status: detailed planning
East West Rail: Bletchley to Bedford
East West Rail is a valuable rail infrastructure project for the region. It aims to deliver vital transport connections for communities between Oxford and Cambridge, providing people with faster journeys and more affordable travel. Connecting them to the things that matter most.
This section involves refurbishing existing lines from Bletchley to Bedford and major upgrades to both Bletchley and Bedford railway stations.
Initial planning work has already been undertaken by Network Rail, the Department for Transport and the East West Rail Alliance.
We are now looking at ways to carry out the work while minimising disruption for local communities. We will share proposals during our public consultation in 2021.
Please note that we are currently consulting on a number of proposals which relate to geographic areas described on this page. To find out more, please visit our consultation page.Learn more
Local benefits of East West Rail
New stations and services from Bletchley to Bedford
Bedford station will be completely rebuilt and Bletchley revamped. They will provide vital connectivity for local communities.
Cheaper and easier travel
With new services and stations, we aim to make travel quicker and cheaper for all.
Jobs and growth
By connecting science parks, universities and industry, we’ll provide access to new opportunities.
Detailed planning is underway from Bletchley to Bedford
Having reviewed original plans for construction we have found the level of upgrade required between Bletchley and Bedford to get train services running all the way from Oxford to Cambridge is much higher than originally planned. We will also need much higher levels of investment than originally proposed.
Our ambition is to get trains up and running from Oxford to Bedford as quickly as possible, so we’re looking at upgrade options, and the best way to deliver the upgrade required. We’ll put forward options as part of a consultation in 2021 and submit our funding bid to Government for the construction of this section of East West Rail in the 2021 Spending Review.
Environmental surveys in your area
We're currently undertaking detailed environmental surveys along the route from Bletchley to Cambridge to help inform planning and design work.
The surveys will be carried out throughout 2021 and will gather vital data on plant and animal life, environmental features like rivers and streams and historical features. This activity is part of our continued commitment to put environmental considerations at the heart of proposals for the new East West Rail connection.
For more information about the surveys, please visit our dedicated land page.
EWR services will be introduced in three connection stages.
We’ve designed the delivery of this project with the community in mind. Ensuring minimal disruption, while making sure the services are reliable from the start. All to provide the best value for the taxpayer.
To achieve this, we will be introducing train services in three connection stages. Read more about them below, 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.
Whether you’d like to share your ideas about East West Rail, ask a question, or just find out more information, we’d love to hear from you through our dedicated Community Hub.Learn more