East West Rail

East West Rail is a major project to establish a strategic railway connecting East Anglia with Central, Southern and Western England.[3] In particular, it plans to build (or rebuild) a new line linking Oxford and Cambridge via Bicester, Milton Keynes (at Bletchley) and Bedford, largely using the trackbed of the former Varsity Line. Thus it provides a route between any or all of the Great Western, Chiltern, West Coast, Midland, East Coast, West Anglia and Great Eastern main lines, avoiding London. The new line will provide a route for potential new services between Southampton Central and Ipswich or Norwich via Reading, Didcot and Ely, using existing onward lines. The western section from Oxford to Bedford was approved by the government in November 2011,[4] with completion of this section expected[a] by 2025.[5] As of January 2019, the Company aims to complete the Central section by "the mid 2020s".[2] Electrification of the line is not planned.

The plan is divided into three sections:

  • "Western section" from Oxford to Bedford on existing lines, including the mothballed section between Bletchley and Claydon Junction; the scope of this section includes a branch line to Aylesbury;[6]
  • "Central section" from Bedford to Cambridge using some existing lines together with a new section;
  • "Eastern section" from Cambridge to Norwich, Felixstowe and Ipswich on existing lines.

It was initially promoted (as the East West Rail Link) by the East-West Rail Consortium, a consortium of local authorities and interested bodies along the route. Since 2013 it been adopted by the Department for Transport and, in late 2017, the Government announced that will be delivered by a private sector consortium, the East West Railway Company, (rather than Network Rail).[7]

Since December 2016 phase 1 of the western section, the segment from Oxford via Bicester Village to the junction with the Chiltern Main Line is operational. The public inquiry for phase 2 (of the western section) began in February 2019.[8] On 28 January 2019 the East West Railway Company announced a consultation exercise on five potential routes for the central section.

East West Rail
EWR Logo CMYK Black
(Logo licensed by EWR Ltd under CCbyA 4.0)
ProposerEast West Rail Consortium
WebsiteEast West Railway Company
StatusIn progress
Cost estimate£270 million (Oxford/Aylesbury – Bedford)
£530 million (whole route)
Completion datelate 2023 (Oxford – Bedford)[1]
"mid 2020s" (Bedford – Cambridge)[2]
East West Rail
Cherwell Valley line
to Didcot and Reading



The link is promoted by the East West Rail Consortium, which was initiated by Ipswich Borough Council in 1995 and has since been chaired by both Buckinghamshire County Council and Oxfordshire County Council.[9] Ipswich Council and its neighbours were particularly concerned about poor services within East Anglia and the links to London. Some success was achieved east of Cambridge, at least partly through the efforts of the group.[10]

In April 2006 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister reported itself to be in favour of the principle of re-opening the link between Bedford and Oxford.[11]

In May 2006 the Department of Transport announced[12] specific plans for Bletchley railway station. The document stated that "it is likely" that Bletchley area renewals and network simplification will take place "by 2010", "to include a high-level platform" for Bedford trains. "The network will be suitable for the later addition of any 'East-West' link to and from Oxford and for the operation of through links from either Oxford or Bedford to and from Milton Keynes".

In March 2007, a study (funded by the East West Rail Consortium) declared at p. 38, 5.1 A very good operating and business case exists for [a "base case" for a] 2 trains per hour passenger service between Oxford and Milton Keynes, and an operating case also exists for the Aylesbury spur which would bring further economic and strategic advantages to the subregion. Capital cost for the base case is between £100m – £135m. The base case and the Aylesbury options should be further considered in the next phase of work.[13]

In April 2008, the Department for Transport responded to an e-petition for support on East West Rail by reiterating that they would encourage private funding.[14]

In the 2011 Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne, the East West railway between Oxford, Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Bedford was adopted by the Department for Transport, and £270 million was committed to the scheme to fund its development.[15] This was confirmed in July 2012 when the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, announced that the Western section of East West Rail (EWR) would be part of the government's strategy for rail transport.[16]

Western section

East West Rail Consortium Western map
Western section of route connecting Bedford, Oxford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes

The western section will link Oxford and Bedford via Bletchley, with connections to the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line. It will use the Oxford–Bicester line, a renovated section of the Varsity Line from Bicester to Bletchley, and finally the Marston Vale line from Bletchley to Bedford. The existing Cherwell Valley line will form a link to the Great Western main line at Didcot Parkway railway station. Passenger services to Milton Keynes Central (via the WCML) and Aylesbury (via the existing freight line from Claydon Junction) were also planned.[17]

The first part of this work, re-doubling the Oxford–Bicester line and connecting it to the Chiltern Main Line, was largely completed in 2015 (and fully operational from December 2016); the remaining work from Bicester (and Aylesbury) to Bedford has been greatly delayed, and is scheduled for completion in 2024.[18][19]


In February 2008 the consortium published a business case for re-opening the western section of the route funded by Milton Keynes Partnership (MKP), South East England Regional Assembly, South East England Development Agency and the consortium.[20]

In March 2008, a £2 million engineering survey of the existing and removed tracks was launched,[21] and those undertaking the engineering survey stated that a 100 mph (160 km/h) link between Oxford and Bletchley could be achieved for around £190 million. If construction had started in 2009 as they then hoped, the upgraded / re-opened line could have been in service by 2012.[21]

In November 2008 the Milton Keynes Partnership, Chiltern Railways and the consortium formally agreed to take their proposals forward together. Chiltern Railways would take the lead on the upgrading of the Oxford-Bicester section with its Project Evergreen 3 and the Milton Keynes Partnership would lead for the rest of the line to Bletchley.[22]

In December 2008 the commissioning of a further report, to take the project forward to GRIP Stage 4 (single option selection), was announced. This was to encompass work to analyse the additional requirements (as outlined above), not previously considered in detail, to GRIP Stage 3 equivalent, as well as revisiting the future requirements for the existing Bletchley-Bedford line.[23]

According to section 3 of the October 2008 Progress report,[24] during 2008 a number of proposals from other parties emerged which might have a significant impact on the project:

  • an aspiration to use the route as part of a strategic freight route
  • an aspiration to provide longer-distance north-south passenger services avoiding Birmingham, which could use the western section as part of its route
  • a proposal by Chiltern Railways to run Oxford-Bicester-London passenger services via a [then] mooted new south-to-east chord to the existing Chiltern line. (This chord has been built and is now in use).

Section 3 also states that there is some uncertainty over various parties' requirements for the existing Bletchley-Bedford railway.

Infrastructural assessment investigations would be taken forward in parallel with this work funded by £2 million of contribution, half directly by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the other half in varying proportions from various local authorities' Growth Area Funding allocation. Work to clear vegetation from the redundant section of line for the infrastructure assessment started in January 2009.[25]


The February 2008 report identified two options defined from different perspectives, the "Regional Rail" option (the best commercial case) and the "Local Rail" option (as identified by the requirements mainly of local authorities and business interests). As part of existing upgrades, a new bay platform has been provided at Milton Keynes Central, which will be able to receive the local services. The infrastructure between Oxford and Bletchley required by both options is essentially the same. The spur from Calvert to Aylesbury is only included in the Local option, though about 20% of southern part of the route has already been reinstated under the Aylesbury Vale Parkway project. The line from north of Wolvercote Tunnel (just north of Oxford) through Bicester to Bletchley would be enabled for 100 mph (160 km/h) double-track running. The Oxford–Wolvercote Tunnel section, and the Aylesbury–Calvert line if also provided, would be 90 mph (140 km/h) single-track working. A new high-level platform would be provided at Bletchley, with new stations (under the Local option only) at Winslow and Newton Longville.[26]

As of February 2019, there are no funded plans for north-to-east chords at Bicester (to enable a direct Banbury – Bletchley service) or at Bletchley (to enable a direct Milton Keynes Central – Bedford service).

Service pattern considerations

Both options would see the present hourly "all stations" stopping service between Bletchley and Bedford reduced to every two hours (apparently conflicting with the stated aim of improving stopping services), but with an additional hourly semi-fast service stopping only at Woburn Sands. Both options would provide two services per hour over the Oxford-Bletchley section: under the Regional option, both services would serve Milton Keynes Central via the West Coast Main Line; under the Local option there would be more stops than the semi-fast Regional Rail service, and one service would continue semi-fast to Bedford instead, with an additional Milton Keynes Central train serving Aylesbury via Bletchley. A further possible hybrid option was identified based on the Regional Rail option, but with the additional hourly train serving Aylesbury working through to Bedford.

Following a joint travelling exhibition by the Consortium, Milton Keynes Partnership and Chiltern Railways in April 2009[27] the May EWRC 2009 publicity leaflet and current (June 2004) website cite the following proposed service patterns:

  • Oxford to Bedford: 1tph (train per hour) stopping Oxford-Bletchley, semi-fast Bletchley-Bedford (fastest through journey 43 minutes)
  • Bletchley to Bedford: 1tph stopping all stations (fastest through journey 42 minutes)
  • Oxford to Milton Keynes Central: 1tph stopping all stations (fastest through journey 47 minutes)
  • Aylesbury to Milton Keynes Central: 1tph stopping all stations (fastest through journey 33 minutes). This could potentially be an extension of a service from London Marylebone via High Wycombe.[17]

Additionally, since December 2016, Chiltern Railways have provided 2tph between Oxford and London Marylebone using the section between Oxford and Bicester as part of Chiltern's Evergreen 3 project. The necessary chord between the Oxford–Bletchley line and the Chiltern Main Line has been completed and the service commenced [initially from Oxford Parkway] on 26 October 2015.[28]

East West Rail services Diagram map
Map of proposed East West Rail train services[29]


In the 2011 Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne, the East West railway between Oxford, Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Bedford was approved and funded, with £270 million committed to the scheme.[15] A new station was to open at Winslow and a high-level station built at Bletchley. The Bicester Village to Bletchley and the Aylesbury to Claydon Junction sections were to be upgraded or built to a 90-100 mph line speed.[15] At that stage it was due for completion in 2019.[15][30]

On 16 July 2012 the East-West Rail Consortium made the following announcement:

"The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon Justine Greening MP, today announced that the Western section of East West Rail (EWR) will be part of the government's strategy for rail transport, confirming not only funding for the project but also for electrification of the Oxford to Bedford part of the route. EWR will provide an electric link between the electrified Great Western, West Coast and Midland main lines. This further investment in the project upgrades it to form a key part of the new ‘Electric Spine’ passenger and freight route between the South Coast, the East Midlands and Yorkshire".[4]

Developments and announcements for Western section

Mothballed Varsity Line eastbound from Salden Wood, 29th March 2014
Vegetation clearance works, 3 miles west of Bletchley, March 2014.

On 10 January 2013 Network Rail announced its intention to construct the western section between Bedford and Oxford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as part of their five-year strategic business plan (2014–2019). The target date for train services to be operational on this section was December 2017. Electrification of the line between Oxford and Bedford was also included in the budget and target completion date was March 2017.[31]

In November 2013 the East West Rail Consortium pledged an additional £45 million to the project. The chair of the East West Rail joint delivery board, Councillor Janet Blake presented a letter to Transport Minister Philip Hammond, confirming the financial commitment from the Board.[32]

From 1 February 2014 Network Rail began clearing vegetation that had grown over the abandoned track.[33]

In March 2014 Carillion and Buckingham Group announced that they were to undertake construction of the new link, commencing with the Oxford to Bicester stretch, with a contract value of £87 million,[34] but later that month Network Rail stated that there would be a delay in the completion of the line by two years until 2019.[35]

Early in April 2014 Network Rail acknowledged that the busy level crossing in Milton Keynes between Woburn Sands and Wavendon is presenting "a headache".[36] The report goes on to say that the crossing near Bow Brickhill (Brickhill Street in Milton Keynes to the A5) will be replaced with a bridge.[36]

In May 2014 Network Rail announced that the line will be opened to 125 mph (200 km/h) running, the current top speed for InterCity services. It is proposed that CrossCountry services, along with Chiltern Railways and London Northwestern Railway services will use the route.[37]

In July 2015 Sir Peter Hendy was appointed Chairman of Network Rail "and asked by the Secretary of State to conduct a thorough review of the enhancement programme in England & Wales to see what can be delivered in an affordable and timely way within the funding period to 2019".[38] The report states "During CP5 development work will continue into the full re-opening of the route between Bicester and Bletchley [...] and delivery will be started as soon as possible".[39] However, in the table that lists in detail the revised work programme, the route is shown as one of the "Projects with significant delivery in CP5 and completion in CP6"[40] (CP5 is 2014–2019; CP6 is 2019–2024[41]).

As part of the Budget of March 2016 the Chancellor, George Osborne, wrote to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to ask them to develop proposals for unlocking growth, housing and jobs in the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor. The letter made reference to the East West Rail Link, raising the possibility of further development of the line in the future.[42][43]

In May 2016 the Department for Transport revealed that it 'is considering a new franchise to operate services on the east-west rail link' and that 'development of the proposed franchise will start in 2018 (including a competition period)'.[44]

By August 2016 it became clear that Network Rail considers the project to be 'no longer the third most important project in the country' (after HS2 and Crossrail) and that delivery of the core of the Western Section (Oxford to Bedford via Bletchley) might slip beyond 2024,[18] with the connection to Aylesbury due even later.[19] Councillor Rodney Rose, chair of the East West Rail Consortium suggested that the main causes of the delay include delays arising from rail electrification difficulties and fiscal uncertainty arising from the UK's decision to leave the European Union.[18] However, in November 2016 Councillor Rose was able to draw attention to remarks by the new Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, that suggest that project remains in the Government's expenditure plans.[45]

In November 2016 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced £110 million funding to ensure completion of the Bicester–Bedford segment by 2025.[5]

In December 2016 the Transport Secretary announced his decision to privatise the line.[46] A new entity will be responsible for track and infrastructure, as well as operating train services, which, he believes, will deliver an Oxford–Cambridge service at an earlier date than is realistic for an overcommitted Network Rail.[46]

In July 2017 Network Rail began a public consultation on the details of its proposals for the Bicester–Bedford section.[47]

In August 2017 the EWR Alliance (the consortium  – VolkerRail, Atkins, Laing O'Rourke and Network Rail  – developing the line) noted that the decision by the Department for Transport to delete electrification from the specification was causing further delay to the programme, because work already done on the TWA applications would need to be reworked.[48]

In November 2017, in its report on the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor, the NIC called for the line between Bicester and Bedford to be reopened by 2023 and Bedford/Cambridge by 2030, and for the development and construction of a link between the M1 and Oxford by 2030, as part of the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.[49] In his budget of November 2017 the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, allocated further funding to open the western section by 2024 via a new company, the East West Railway Company, which was established in December 2017.[1]

In December 2017 the Transport Secretary announced the establishment of a new East West Railway Company which will oversee the establishment of both the Western & Central Sections of East West Rail Link. The budget in November 2017 announced the completion of the Central Section by 2030 and a preferred route to be announced in early 2019 following a number of public consultations.[50][51][7]

In April 2018 the chairman of the East West Railway Company, Rob Brighouse, suggested a new line between Milton Keynes and Bedford might avoid the problems with the current Marston Vale Line. These problems are the all-stations hourly stopping service operated by London Northwestern Railway and numerous level crossing on the route: these could limit capacity for through regional trains. He acknowledged that this proposal could be expensive but suggested the private sector could help fund it. It was also suggested that the Western Section could be completed by 2022, ahead of the planned 2024 opening date.[52]

On 27 July 2018, Network Rail submitted a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application to the Secretary of State for Transport for the Bicester-Bletchley segment.[53]

A DfT/EWR report that considers the strategic and economic cases for the Western Section Phase 2 project was published on 7 December 2018.[54]

In July 2019, the EWR Company announced that it will be issuing Invitations to Tender for rolling stock 'later this year',[55] possibly as early as August.[56]


Phase 1: Oxford–Bicester

The section from Oxford through Bicester Village to the Chiltern Main Line was rebuilt as part of Phase 2 of Chiltern Railways Project Evergreen and adopted as Phase 1 of the East West Rail Link.[57] Chiltern Railways began service over it, from Oxford Parkway to Marylebone, on 26 October 2015;[28] and from Oxford station to Marylebone on 11 December 2016.[58]

Central section

The Varsity Line route between Bedford and Cambridge is no longer available for East West Rail because key sections of it have been reused for other purposes since the closure of this part of the line in 1968. These include the Ryle Telescope (part of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory), the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, National Cycle Route 51 as well as housing at Potton and Sandy.

Developments and announcements for Central section

In March 2016 Network Rail announced that the link would connect to the East Coast Main Line (ECML) via (or near) Sandy.[59] In the 2016 Autumn Statement, the chancellor announced £10 million of funding to continue to develop plans for the route.[60]

On 30 October 2018 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Autumn Budget that £20 million was being made available for work to develop a "strategic outline business case" for the Bedford–Cambridge segment.[61]

In December 2018, in a paper published jointly with the Department for Transport, EWR Ltd. reported that it intends to begin consultations on the route of the central section "early in 2019".[54]

On 28 January 2019, East West Railway Company revealed 5 potential routes in the consultation which ran from 28 January until 11 March 2019.[2]

  • Route A involves going from the Marston Vale line to a new Bedford South split-level station with the Midland Main Line then to a relocated Sandy station, south of the existing station. The route then heads east to a new station at Bassingbourn before then joining the Great Northern route to Cambridge.
  • Route B involves running from the Marston Vale line to a new Bedford South station before then running to a relocated Sandy (to the north Tempsford area or south of St. Neots). The route heads east to a new station in Cambourne before swinging south to join the existing line northbound to Cambridge.
  • Route C involves running from the Marston Vale line to a new Bedford South station before continuing to a new junction station at Tempsford with the East Coast Main Line and then continuing on the ECML to Sandy. The route then leaves the ECML and heads east to a new station at Bassingbourn before joining the existing line northbound to Cambridge.
  • Route D involves running from the existing Bedford (Midland road) station heading north then turning east towards a new Tempsford station before joining the ECML and heading to Sandy. The route then heads east towards a new station at Bassingbourn then joining the existing line northbound to Cambridge.
  • Route E involves running from the existing Bedford station heading north then running to Tempsford where a new station would be built then (bypassing Sandy) the route heads east to Bassingbourn where a new station would be built. The route then joins an existing line northbound to Cambridge

None of the route options connect to Cambridge via Cambridge North as this option was ruled out in the evaluation stage.[62]

The consultation document proposes a target date of "mid 2020s" for the central section to be completed.[2]

Route option lobbying

The northern route is being promoted by a private interest group "CamBedRailRoad",[63] that would connect EWR via a new line to the new Cambridge North railway station near the science, business and innovation parks. The group believes that this more urban route would connect more people by adding new stations at Cambourne and Northstowe. It broadly follows the alignment of the existing A428 (prospectively, the Oxford Cambridge Expressway that will serve the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor which has been identified as the site of significant urban development to 2050).[64] In January 2019, EWR Ltd. has ruled out a connection to Cambridge North.[62]

Eastern section

East West Rail Consortium Eastern map
Eastern section of link including Norwich, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Cambridge

The track in this section is all in place and operational: from Cambridge to Norwich, Felixstowe and Ipswich. The plan would see more services on the existing Felixstowe Branch Line, Ipswich to Ely Line, and parts of the East Suffolk Line and Great Eastern Main Line. An hourly service in both directions between Cambridge and Ipswich was started in 2004. There is also an hourly passenger service between Norwich and Cambridge operated by Greater Anglia.

A section of Felixstowe Branch Line was doubled in 2009 to allow freight trains to pass each other at Derby Road in Ipswich[65] and there were plans to double 5 miles (8.0 km) of route from Nacton to Trimley[66] together with other work as part of the Felixstowe and Nuneaton freight capacity scheme. The "Bacon Factory Curve" in Ipswich was completed in March 2014 to allow trains from Felixstowe to continue to the West Midlands without reversing at Ipswich.[67]

In January 2019, East West Rail Consortium released a document to press the case for the Eastern section to Norwich via Ely, and to Ipswich via Bury St Edmunds. [68]

See also


  1. ^ as of November 2016


  1. ^ a b "Chancellor accepts East West Rail targets and strengthens plans with extra cash". Rail Technology Magazine. 22 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Bedford and Cambridge Route Option Consultation: Have Your Say – East West Rail Ltd., 28 January 2018
  3. ^ "Front Page". East West Rail Consortium. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b "East West Rail gets final go ahead and electrification". East West Rail. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b Autumn statement: Chancellor invests in new transport links for the region – ITV Anglia, 23 November 2016
  6. ^ Train Services Archived 17 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine, East West Rail
  7. ^ a b "Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park". East West Rail. 22 November 2017.
  8. ^ "Public inquiry begins into next phase of transformational East West Rail project". Network Rail. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  9. ^ "The Consortium". East West Consortium. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Eastern: Ipswich/Norwich to Cambridge". East West Rail Consortium. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2008.
  11. ^ "Green light for rail link". Milton Keynes Citizen. 18 April 2006.
  12. ^ "West Coast Main Line: Progress Report May 2006" (PDF). Department for Transport. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2006.
  13. ^ "Guide to Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) Stage 2 Report Final Report" (PDF) (Press release). East West Rail. 1 February 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  14. ^ "East-west-rail – epetition reply". Archived from the original on 29 June 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  15. ^ a b c d Rail Magazine, Issue 685, 14 – 28 December 2011, Pages 10–11
  16. ^ "Railway will create 12,000 jobs | Meridian – ITV News". Itv.com. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  17. ^ a b "FAQ". East West Rail. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  18. ^ a b c "East West Rail 'no longer third most important project in country'". Rail Technology Magazine. 26 August 2016.
  19. ^ a b "East West Rail delivery could be delayed by seven years". Rail Technology Magazine. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  20. ^ "East West Rail, Western Section: GRIP Stage 3 Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  21. ^ a b Little, Reg (7 March 2008). "MK Rail Link Plan on Track". The Oxford Times. Newsquest. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  22. ^ "Agreement with Chiltern Railways puts East West Rail scheme on track" (PDF) (Press release). East West Rail. 10 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  23. ^ "Work starts to complete design for East West Rail" (PDF) (Press release). East West Rail. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  24. ^ "Progress Report October 2008" (PDF) (Press release). East West Rail. 30 October 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  25. ^ "Clearing the way for East West Rail design" (PDF) (Press release). East West Rail. 16 January 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  26. ^ "GRIP 4 Outline Business Case, Final Report – Executive Summary July 2010" (PDF). East West Rail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2014.
  27. ^ "East West Rail & Chiltern Railways go public!" (PDF) (Press release). East West Rail. 17 April 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 May 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  28. ^ a b "Connecting Oxford Parkway to the Chiltern Main Line". Rail Technology Magazine. 1 August 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  29. ^ "Map" (JPG). www.eastwestrail.org.uk. 2017.
  30. ^ East West Rail could be running by 2017 Accessed 14 December 2011
  31. ^ "Network Rail Announce Plans to Construct Western Section of East West Rail Link" (Press release). East West Rail. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  32. ^ "Varsity rail reopening makes tracks". Archived from the original on 20 November 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  33. ^ "Work starts on clearing line for East West Rail". Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser. Johnston Press. 1 February 2014.
  34. ^ "Carillion Buckingham JV wins £87m Chiltern rail link". Construction Enquirer. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  35. ^ "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Bucks Herald (Press release). Johnston Press. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  36. ^ a b Network Rail admit level crossing near Milton Keynes is causing a headache.MKWeb, 5 April 2014 via Archive.org
  37. ^ Hellier, Alex (14–27 May 2014). East West Rail develops into 125mph inter-regional route. Peterborough: RAIL. p. 13.
  38. ^ Hendy, Peter (25 November 2015). Report from Sir Peter Hendy to the Secretary of State for Transport on the replanning of Network Rail's Investment Programme (PDF) (Report). Network Rail. p. 2.
  39. ^ Hendy 2015, p. 15
  40. ^ Hendy 2015, p. 37
  41. ^ Hendy 2015, p. 5
  42. ^ National Infrastructure Commission: Chancellor's letter to Lord Adonis and terms of reference - gov.uk, March 2016
  43. ^ Full steam ahead for Oxbridge rail line - Varsity, the only independent student newspaper for the University of Cambridge, March 2016
  44. ^ Government considers new East West Rail franchise  – Rail Magazine, 18 May 2016
  45. ^ Councils welcome DfT support for East West Rail  – Public Sector Executive, 11 November 2016
  46. ^ a b Chris Grayling unveils plans for fully privatised rail line – The Guardian, 6 December 2016
  47. ^ "Residents invited to give views on East West Rail link plans". Rail Technology Magazine. 11 July 2017.
  48. ^ "Electrification 'very unlikely' to come back into EWR scheme". Rail Technology Magazine. 25 August 2017.
  49. ^ National Infrastructure Commission calls for major investment in transport links between Oxford and Cambridge Transport Xtra (Mark Moran), 17 November 2017
  50. ^ Central Section Overview East West Railway Co Ltd
  51. ^ Grayling, Chris (14 December 2017). "'It shouldn't take two-and-a-half hours to get from Cambridge to Oxford'". Cambridge News. Local World.
  52. ^ Modern Railways April 2018 MK-Bedford New Line Mooted p.9
  53. ^ "East West Rail – Western Section – Network Rail". www.networkrail.co.uk.
  54. ^ a b Research and analysis: The case for East West Rail, Western Section Phase 2: Considers the strategic and economic cases for the Western Section Phase 2 project of East West Rail – Department for Transport and East West Railway Company Limited, 7 December 2018
  55. ^ Boroughs, David (11 July 2019). "East West Railway Company to launch rolling stock procurement". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  56. ^ Stephen, Paul (12 July 2019). "Tender set to be issued for East West Rail rolling stock". Rail Magazine. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  57. ^ "Bicester to Oxford - East West Rail Phase 1 - East West Rail". East West Rail Company.
  58. ^ Oxford to London Marylebone railway line opens  – BBC News, 11 December 2016
  59. ^ "Preferred central route for East West Rail announced".
  60. ^ "Chancellor gives boost to East West Rail and Oxford- Cambridge Expressway in Autumn Statement | Richard Fuller MP". www.richardfuller.org.uk. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  61. ^ "Rail in the October 2018 UK budget". Railway Gazette. 30 October 2018.
  62. ^ a b Central section consultation – Technical report – East West Rail Ltd. See section 7
  63. ^ "CamBedRailRoad".
  64. ^ "Oxford to Cambridge expressway strategic study: stage 3 report" (PDF). UK Department for Transport. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  65. ^ "Felixstowe South reconfiguration inspector's report – Page 53". Department of Transport. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  66. ^ "The effect of the proposed development on safety and the free flow of traffic and its consistency with national transport planning policies". Department of Transport. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  67. ^ "SITE NAME: Between railway junction and Hadleigh Rd". Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  68. ^ https://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/29-Jan-2019-East-West-Rail-Eastern-Section-Rail-Prospectus-3.pdf]

External links

Aylesbury Vale Parkway railway station

Aylesbury Vale Parkway railway station is a railway station serving villages northwest of Aylesbury, England. It also serves the Berryfields and Weedon Hill housing developments north of the town. The station and all trains serving it are operated by Chiltern Railways.

Bletchley railway station

Bletchley is a railway station that serves the southern parts of Milton Keynes, England (especially Bletchley itself), and the north-eastern parts of the Buckinghamshire district of Aylesbury Vale. It is 47 miles (75 km) northwest of Euston, about 32 miles (51 km) east of Oxford and 17 miles (27 km) west of Bedford.

It includes junctions of the West Coast Main Line with the Bletchley-Bedford Marston Vale Line and the disused Bletchley-Oxford Varsity line.

This is one of the six railway stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area.It is the nearest main line station for Bletchley Park, the World War II codebreaking centre, and also serves Stadium MK, the home of Milton Keynes Dons F.C., at present a 30-minute walk. Fenny Stratford station, on the Marston Vale Line (a limited service branch line) is closer.

Calvert, Buckinghamshire

Calvert is a village in Buckinghamshire, England, near the village of Steeple Claydon.

Originally named after a wealthy local family who had inherited property at Claydon House, Middle Claydon, on condition that they changed their surname to Verney, the village was founded as a hamlet in the Victorian era to house workers for the brick works that were constructed in the area. The Calvert Brickworks was opened in 1900 by Arthur Werner Itter, a brickmaker from the Peterborough area, but have since been closed in 1991 and turned into a nature reserve and landfill. All that remains of the hamlet is a small group of red brick terrace houses.

At the start of the 21st century a new housing estate was built called Calvert Green, greatly enlarging the original village. In 2007 Calvert Green was detached from Charndon and formed into a new civil parish. At the 2011 Census the population of the village was still included in the civil parish of Charndon.

Didcot Parkway railway station

Didcot Parkway is a railway station serving the town of Didcot in Oxfordshire, England. The station was opened as Didcot on 12 June 1844 and renamed Didcot Parkway on 29 July 1985 by British Rail to reflect its role as a park and ride railhead. It is 53 miles 10 chains (85.5 km) down the line from London Paddington and is situated between Cholsey to the east and Swindon to the west.The station is served by local services operated by Great Western Railway from Reading to Didcot and Oxford, and by main line services from Paddington to the south-west of England and south Wales.

Just to the north of the station is the Didcot Railway Centre, which is accessed through the station. The centre is a comprehensive exhibition of original Great Western Railway rolling stock, with demonstration running tracks and including a reconstructed station named Didcot Halt.

East–west rail corridor

The east–west rail corridor is a standard gauge railway that runs across Australia starting in Sydney, New South Wales, linking the Eastern states to Western Australia. The Indian Pacific passenger service operates along the route, as do a number of local passenger services.

The route is made up of a number of individual railway lines constructed by various government railway authorities since the 1880s, the most significant portion being the Trans-Australian Railway which connected between Kalgoorlie and Port Augusta. It was not until 1970 that gauge conversion was carried out and through trains were possible along the entire route.The rail corridor has an 81% share of land freight between the Eastern States and Perth, up from 60 percent in 1996–97, and saw a record 3.46 billion gross tonne kilometres of freight carried in November 2007. Major freight operators on the corridor include Pacific National, Aurizon, and SCT Logistics.

Electric Spine

The "Electric Spine" was the name for part of a, now largely cancelled, rolling programme of railway electrification projects in England initially estimated to cost £800 million, but later thought to cost close to £3 billion. The aim was to form 25 kV AC overhead-wire electrified links northward from the Port of Southampton to major cities in northern and central England and a dry port container terminal in the Midlands. The government wanted efficient electric-hauled freight trains to compete with road haulage.

In 2012, the spine was set to be completed within Network Rail's Control Period 5 (CP5, 2014–2019). This will not be the case, because various works were delayed, suspended for several months, moved into Control Period 6 (CP6, starting in 2019), and then scrapped altogether (despite various preliminary work, like bridge replacement, having been conducted).Other works associated with the project were to have included gauge clearance for large shipping containers and electrified connections to adjacent electrified routes, depots and freight facilities.The north–south axis of the link leads to the spine name.

Great Central Main Line

The Great Central Main Line (GCML), also known as the London Extension of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR), is a former railway line in the United Kingdom. The line was opened in 1899 and built by the Great Central Railway running from Sheffield in the North of England, southwards through Nottingham and Leicester to Marylebone in London.

The GCML was the last main line railway to be built in Britain during the Victorian period. Built by the railway entrepreneur Edward Watkin with the aim to run a fast north–south line, it was designed to a specification which permitted trains to run at higher speeds; Watkin believed that it would be possible to run direct rail services between Britain and France and had presided over an unsuccessful project for a tunnel under the English Channel in the 1880s. The GCML operated as a fast trunk route from the North and the East Midlands to London. Initially not a financial success, it recovered under the leadership of Sam Fay. Although initially planned for long-distance passenger services, in practice the line's most important function became to carry goods traffic, notably coal.

In the 1960s, the line was considered by Dr Beeching as an unnecessary duplication of other lines that served the same places, especially the Midland Main Line and to a lesser extent the West Coast Main Line. Most of the route was closed between 1966 and 1969 under the Beeching axe.

Parts of the former main line have been preserved as the Great Central (heritage) Railway between Leicester and Loughborough, and the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) between Loughborough South Junction and Ruddington's former GCR station site.

At the end of the 20th century and in the 21st century, the line has been subject to a range of proposals for its use and reuse.

List of rail transit stations in the Greater Manila Area

The following is a list of rail transit stations in the Greater Manila Area, which incorporates the Manila Light Rail Transit System, the Manila Metro Rail Transit System and the Philippine National Railways Metro Commuter Line. The list includes existing and future LRT, MRT and Metro Commuter stations in the metropolitan region. Line names are named according to the new names provided by the Department of Transportation (2012).

London–Aylesbury line

The London–Aylesbury Line is a railway line between London Marylebone and Aylesbury, going via the Chiltern Hills; it is operated by Chiltern Railways. Nearly half of the line is owned by London Underground, approximately 16 miles (26 km) – the total length of the passenger line is about 39 miles (63 km) with a freight continuation.

The line is part of the former trunk route, the Great Central Main Line.

Marston Vale line

The Marston Vale line (Network Rail route MD 140) is the community rail line between Bletchley and Bedford in England, formerly part of the "Varsity line" between Oxford and Cambridge.

Milton Keynes Central railway station

Milton Keynes Central railway station serves Central Milton Keynes and the surrounding area of Milton Keynes, England. The station is located on the West Coast Main Line about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of London. The station is served by Virgin Trains intercity services, and by West Midlands Trains and Southern regional services.

This station is one of the six stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area. Milton Keynes Central, which opened on 17 May 1982, is by far the busiest and most important of these, as well as being the largest in terms of platforms in use, having overtaken Bletchley when platforms 2A and 6 became operational.

Oakland, Atlanta

Oakland (not to be confused with Oakland City in southwestern Atlanta) is an officially recognized neighborhood of Atlanta consisting of only four blocks. It is bounded by:

the Downtown Connector freeway on the west, across which is Downtown Atlanta and the Georgia State Capitol building

Grant Street on the east, across which is one block of the Grant Park (Atlanta) neighborhood and then the historic Oakland Cemetery (Atlanta)

Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and the Grant Park (Atlanta) and Capitol Gateway neighborhoods on the south

the MARTA east-west rail line on the northOakland contains:

the disused Corey smokestack.

Mattress Factory Lofts, site of the former Southern Spring Bedding factory, with some buildings built as far back as 1864.

Crown Candy Lofts.

Oxford–Bicester line

The Oxford–Bicester line is a railway line linking Oxford and Bicester in Oxfordshire, England. Opened in 1850, later becoming part of a through route to Cambridge, it closed in 1967 along with much of the rest of the original line. The section between Oxford and Bicester was reopened in 1987 as a branch line, and closed from early 2014 to late 2015 for a substantial upgrade in which it became part of a new route between Oxford and London Marylebone via High Wycombe. In addition, it is intended that by 2025 the original route eastwards will be restored as far as Bletchley allowing services to run to Bedford. This East West Rail project includes a long term plan to re-establish the route through to Cambridge.

Varsity Line

The Varsity Line (or the Oxford to Cambridge railway line) is the railway route that used to link the English university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, operated by the London and North Western Railway.

During World War II the line was adopted as a strategic route for freight avoiding London, and additional connections were made to nearby lines to improve the utility of the route. In fact the route was not greatly used for its intended purpose. After the war the line was again scheduled to be developed as a strategic route, but this scheme too was never fully implemented.

Passenger services were withdrawn from most of the line in 1967, and only the Bletchley–Bedford section remained open for passenger traffic.

In 1987, the section between Oxford and Bicester was reopened, followed in 2015 by a connection to the Chiltern Main Line at Bicester, enabling Chiltern Railways to operate an Oxford to London passenger service. There are funded plans for the entire line to be re-established by the "mid 2020s" (partly on a new route) under a new name – East West Rail.

Verney Junction

Verney Junction is a hamlet in the parish of Middle Claydon in north Buckinghamshire, England. It is on the route of the former Varsity Line. (As of December 2017, the line is disused but is to be reopened by about 2025 as part of the East West Rail project).The stone cottages that make up the hamlet were largely constructed to provide houses for workers on the railway in the early Victorian era. The hamlet is named after the railway junction around which it grew. The new village included a cricket ground for the railway workers.

The original junction here was established (without a station) by the Buckinghamshire Railway, which planned a Bletchley – Banbury route (subsequently the 'Banbury to Verney Junction Branch Line') and a Bletchley – Oxford route. The Bletchley – Banbury Merton Street section was completed in May 1850 and the section from here to Oxford Rewley Road was completed in October of the same year. Verney Junction railway station was added when the Metropolitan Railway was extended here (from Baker Street).

Local legend has it that the station was so called because the then isolation of the area meant that the only obvious name was that of the local landowner, the Verney family of Claydon House.

Winslow, Buckinghamshire

Winslow is a market town and civil parish designated as a town council in the Aylesbury Vale district of north Buckinghamshire. It has a population of just over 4,400.

Winslow railway station

Winslow railway station is a former railway station which served the town of Winslow in north Buckinghamshire, England. It is on a disused section of the Varsity Line; a single track remains in place but is rusted and overgrown far beyond use. The site of the original station is mostly covered by a small housing development, and although the platforms still remain, they are in a very poor state. In 2014 it was anticipated that the station would reopen on a different site in 2019 as part of East West Rail. In September 2016, Buckinghamshire County Council purchased a site for a new station, beside the A413 bridge. As of March 2018, however, a definitive schedule of works on the line and station have yet to emerge but funding is in place with a target date of 2024.

Wixams railway station

Wixams railway station is a new railway station that is due to be built on the Midland Main Line for the Wixams new town development in Bedfordshire, England. It is proposed that the station be between Bedford and Flitwick.

The station was due to be completed in 2015, but Network Rail withdrew their promise of funding. In 2017, Gallagher Estates applied for funding from the government for the station.In July 2017, it was reported the site would be located further north as part of the East West Rail project.In January 2019, East West Railway Company revealed 5 options for a potential Bedford-Cambridge with 3 of the options proposing a new station at Bedford South close to Wixams.

Woburn Sands railway station

Woburn Sands railway station serves the villages of Woburn Sands and Wavendon in the borough of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, England. The station is on the Marston Vale line between Bedford and Bletchley, about 4 miles (6.5 km) east of Bletchley station. The station is served by local trains to Bletchley and Bedford using Class 150/1 and Class 153 diesel multiple units operated by London Northwestern Railway.

Western section
Oxford Parkway
Bicester Village
West Coast Main Line
to London Euston
Woburn Sands
Milton Keynes Central
West Coast Main Line
to Glasgow
Central section
East Coast Main Line
to Sandy
East Coast Main Line
to Peterborough
Eastern section
Shippea Hill
Bury St Edmunds
Harling Road
Eccles Road
Spooner Row
Needham Market
Railways around Oxford
Oxford Parkway
Oxford Road Halt
City boundary
Wolvercot Junction
Wolvercot Platform
Wolvercote Halt
Oxford North Junction
Port Meadow Halt
Exchange sidings
Oxford Rewley Road
City boundary
Oxford (Grandpont) Goods
Hinksey Halt
Millstream Junction
Abingdon Road Halt
Kennington Junction
Iffley Halt
Morris Cowley
BMW Mini terminal
Horspath Halt
Oxford–Bicester line
East West Rail
to Bletchley (closed until 2023)
Bicester South Junction
Chiltern Main Line
to Banbury │ to High Wycombe
Bicester chord
Gavray Junction
B4100 London Road
Bicester Village
Langford Lane
Wendlebury Halt
Charlton Halt
Oddington Halt
Kidlington Road
Mill Lane
occupation bridge
Oxford Parkway
Oxford Road Halt
Oxford Road Junction
Buckinghamshire Junction Railway
Wolvercote Tunnel
Wolvercote Halt
Cherwell Valley line
to Banbury
Oxford North Junction
Port Meadow Halt
Sheepwash Channel Railway Bridge
and Rewley Road Swing Bridge
Oxford Rewley Road
Cherwell Valley line
to Didcot Parkway
Stations in and around Milton Keynes
Salcey Forest
towards Bedford
Old Stratford
Stony Stratford
Newport Pagnell
Wolverton Works
Great Linford
East West Rail /
Marston Vale line
to Bedford
Woburn Sands
Bow Brickhill
Milton Keynes Central
Fenny Stratford
Denbigh Hall
Bletchley TMD
former Varsity Line /
planned East West Rail
Leighton Buzzard
Marston Vale line
Varsity Line
to Bicester Village
Swanbourne Siding
West Coast Main Line
to Euston
0 mi 04 ch
0.08 km
West Coast Main Line
to Milton Keynes Central
1 mi 05 ch
1.71 km
Fenny Stratford
2 mi 05 ch
3.32 km
Bow Brickhill
4 mi 08 ch
6.6 km
Woburn Sands
5 mi 04 ch
8.13 km
Aspley Guise
6 mi 59 ch
10.84 km
8 mi 49 ch
13.86 km
10 mi 05 ch
16.19 km
11 mi 17 ch
18.04 km
12 mi 76 ch
20.84 km
Kempston Hardwick
Midland Main Line
to St Pancras International
16 mi 05 ch
25.85 km
Bedford St Johns
Bedford–Hitchin line
to Hitchin
Bedford St Johns
16 mi 55 ch
26.86 km
Varsity Line
to Cambridge
Midland Main Line
to Leicester
Stations around Bedford
Bedford station sidings
Bedford St Johns
Bedford St Johns
Railways around Cambridge
Cambridge North
LNWR goods
Cycle paths
Related articles
Rail infrastructure projects in the United Kingdom


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