Network Rail is inviting people to have their say on proposals to upgrade the railway between Bicester and Bedford and Milton Keynes and Princes Risborough.
This is part of the second phase of the East West Rail project to link Oxford to Bedford and Milton Keynes via Aylesbury and Princes Risborough to London Marylebone.
The work would involve upgrading and reconstructing underused and mothballed sections of the railway linking the Great Western, Chiltern, West Coast and Midland main lines north of London and providing a strategic east-west route connecting key centres.
Once complete, this work would enable the following train journeys:
Oxford – Milton Keynes (calling at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow and Bletchley)
Oxford – Bedford (calling at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont)
Milton Keynes – Aylesbury – London Marylebone (an extension of the existing service between Marylebone and Aylesbury Vale Parkway, with stops anticipated at Bletchley, Winslow, Princes Risborough and High Wycombe)
Increased capacity for freight services
Martin Frobisher, Network Rail route managing director, said: “I am really pleased to have delivered phase one of East-West Rail.
“A new service from Oxford to Marylebone, from late October, will be a great new option for people travelling to and from the capital.
“As our attention now turns to the future, we want to hear your views in order to properly understand what’s needed for the next phase of this scheme.”
> Plans include:
A new station at Winslow
Two new platforms at Bletchley
Construction of 18 new overbridges
Construction of 22 new footbridges/subways
Changes to 97 railway crossings
Residents are invited to find out more about the scheme at one of the forthcoming exhibitions and to provide their comments on the plans. They can also share their comments by post or online.
Andy Milne, senior programme manager for Network Rail, said: “This is a great opportunity for people to come and learn more about the project and tell us what they think of our plans.
“It gives local communities the opportunity to influence how the project will be developed.”
This is the first round of public exhibitions and more detailed consultation will be carried out next spring. Network Rail hopes to submit an application to the Secretary of State for Transport in summer 2016 to gain the necessary permissions to complete the work.
Cllr Rodney Rose, deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council and chair of the East West Rail Consortium’s Joint Delivery Board for the Western Section, said: “East West Rail will be a tremendous asset to people and businesses in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.
“The benefits it will bring – economic, social and environmental – just can’t come soon enough.
“This consultation is an opportunity for people to review and comment on initial proposals. It’s an opportunity to show support for the scheme, or to raise any concerns for consideration before detailed designs are developed further.
“Input from local people is important in getting things right, so please get involved and have your say.”
The first phase of the East West Rail project between Oxford and Bicester is almost complete. Network Rail in partnership with Chiltern Railways have worked together to deliver a new rail link, from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone, in late October 2015.