East West Rail link to be built ‘as soon as possible’

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A railway scheme set to boost the local economy by more than £70 million a year will be built “as soon as possible” according to Network Rail.

There had been fears that the East West Rail project, designed to link MK to Oxford and Cambridge, would face massive delays.

But this week, Network Rail’s new chair, Sir Peter Hendy, has listed the project into its 2015-2019 schedule.

Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South and Chair of the East West Rail Parliamentary Group has welcomed the Hendy review’s commitment to continue plans for the full re-opening of the route between Bicester and Bletchley.

Mr Stewart will seek further details on timings from a government minister at an adjournment debate on Friday.

Speaking to the Citizen, he said: “I welcome the commitment from the Hendy review that the route between Bicester and Bletchley will continue as planned in the CP5 period.

“At the debate on Friday I will be seeking further details from the Minister on progression for works over the next few years, a completion date and when we will see the first trains running.”

Mr Stewart will also be raising the importance of project not just for transport connectivity in the region but also developing economic growth and housing growth.

The second phase of the line will also offer an additional relief line into London when repairs going are taking place on the West Coast Mainline.

The first phase of the project from Oxford to Bicester has already been opened.