Rail bosses urged to think again on controversial plans involving closure of station in Milton Keynes

Councillors not happy about some of East West Rail proposals

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 1:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 1:12 pm

Milton Keynes Council has asked rail bosses to think again about a string of controversial proposals in the plans to reopen the Oxford to Cambridge rail line.

The Labour/Lib Dem alliance strongly supports EWR's plans to re-open the line, which will link Oxford and Cambridge via at Bletchley and Bedford.

But to carry out the plan, EWR is proposing to completely close Fenny Stratford station, as well as level crossings in Fenny Stratford and Woburn Sands.

The EWR plan is out for consultation

Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: We strongly oppose the total closure of Fenny Stratford station as it is a bit short-sighted given the regeneration taking place in the Bletchley and Fenny area.”

She added: "We also want EWR to look again at the options around level crossings. It isn’t feasible to cut off communities or where the alternatives, such as a by-pass around Woburn Sands, are currently poorly thought through. They should think again and must do better. "

The alliance is also demanding the new rail link is fully electrified. Currently there are no proposals to run electric trains on the line and it will operate a diesel service when it opens, with a vague promise of “new technology at a later date.

Cllr Wilson-Marklew said: “The line needs to be electric and climate sustainable from the start. We have very little confidence in the “jam tomorrow,” promise about new technology in the future. We strongly oppose using diesel trains on the line.

There are plans to close Fenny Stratford station

She is this week finalising the formal MK Council response to the rail link consultation before the June 8 deadline.

“We strongly support East-West rail, but we would like East-West Rail bosses to think again on some key issues for our communities.

“While our support for East West Rail is strong, we need bosses to think again on these critical issues for our local communities and provide much stronger evidence on the options they proceed with.”