Contract awarded for Milton Keynes-Oxford rail link

File photo dated 19/05/11 of a train ticket, timetable and money. George Osborne will make a pitch to ordinary working people today when he delivers his penultimate Budget before the general election.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 19, 2014. See PA BUDGET stories. Photo credit should read: PA Wire PPP-140320-155307001
File photo dated 19/05/11 of a train ticket, timetable and money. George Osborne will make a pitch to ordinary working people today when he delivers his penultimate Budget before the general election. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 19, 2014. See PA BUDGET stories. Photo credit should read: PA Wire PPP-140320-155307001

Plans to revive the East-West rail link between Oxford, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury have taken another step forward, after the awarding of an £8million design contract.

Engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff will carry out work including timetable modelling, the design and alignment of track, civil engineering works to bridges and embankments, geotechnical investigation and survey works, studies on how the reinstated railway will impact on level crossings, station design, consents, ecology and environmental works.

The project is expected to eventually re-establish a rail link between Oxford and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury for the first time in more than 40 years. It involves upgrading and reconstructing under-used and disused sections of railway. Early work has already begun, including the building of a new station in Oxford.

Andy Milne, Network Rail senior programme manager, said: “This contract award marks a significant milestone for the East West Rail scheme. The work Parsons Brinckerhoff will be carrying out will enable the project to be developed to the point where we can then award contracts for detailed design and construction.”