First new railway in more than 50 years - linking Oxford and Milton Keynes - takes major move forward

The Secretary of State for Transport has today given the green light for further work

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 1:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 2:03 pm

Once complete, phase 2 of East West Rail will connect Oxford and Bedford, and Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, with:

Two trains an hour each way between Oxford and Milton Keynes

One train an hour each way between Oxford and Bedford

Computer image of proposed new Bletchley station looking north

One train an hour each way between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury

The new railway will also connect the Great Western main line, Chiltern main line, West Coast main line and Midland main line.

Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West & Central Region, said: “Building a new railway would transform connectivity and journey times across the heart of the country. East West Rail promises to provide a greener, low carbon transport system which will bring huge benefits to passengers and businesses - driving economic growth and creating opportunities for housing and new jobs.”

Cllr Mark Shaw, chairman of the East West Rail Consortium, an alliance of local authorities which produced the original business case for the scheme, said: “This has to go down as one of the most exciting weeks in the history of East West Rail, with approval to begin major construction of the Western section coming just days after the preferred route between Bedford and Cambridge was announced.”

With phase 1 between Oxford and Bicester already complete, phase 2 involves track and signalling upgrades between Bicester, Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, including reinstating a disused section of railway between Bletchley and Claydon Junction, north of Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

There will be phased introduction of new rail journeys between:

Oxford and Milton Keynes: with trains stopping at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow and Bletchley.

Oxford and Bedford: with trains stopping at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont.

Milton Keynes and Aylesbury: with trains stopping at Bletchley, Winslow and Aylesbury Vale Parkway