New rail project could cost £7.65m

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Councillors met last night to discuss a £7.65million scheme to part fund the East-West Rail Project in a bid to improve city train links.

If agreed the payments would be made between June 2014 and 2028, with calculations topping £500,000 a year.

The project will see the reintroduction of passenger rail services between Bedford and Oxford.

Services currently operate between Bedford and Bletchley, but the improvements would see it continue to provide links to Aylesbury and London via the Marylebone line.

The payments would be made from the council’s capital programme, but already the Cabinet is hoping the local contribution could be met from SEMLEP by prioritising East-West Rail within their Strategic Economic Plan.

The city contribution was recommended ahead of the meeting, as was the factor that authority be given to the Interim Head of Legal Services or Assistant Director to enter into a legal agreement confirming it.

Leader of the council, Councillor Andrew Geary, said: “This is generally good news because it increases the connectivity between Milton Keynes and a number of other areas that are geographically very close but only accessible in the car.”

There is also hope that separately, improvements could be made to Bletchley station.

Mr Geary said: “Without a shadow of a doubt, the two need bringing together. We are planning to meet with Network Rail who are already open to that idea. This is very positive for Milton Keynes.”