A new railway link is on track to offer work opportunities to companies in Milton Keynes.
Environmental surveying has started on the mothballed section of the East West Rail link between Claydon Junction and Bletchley – and will be resumed in the spring.
At the same time Milton Keynes-based Network Rail has identified all the structures on the line between Bedford and Bicester and from Claydon Junction to Aylesbury Vale Parkway, but no structural survey work has been undertaken yet.
A spokeswoman for the East West Rail Consortium said: “With regard to contract opportunities for local suppliers, it is too early to say what the opportunities will be, but the consortium is keen to engage local people and businesses where possible.”
Network Rail has told the consortium that “although the project is at a very early stage we will, where possible, look at how we can raise awareness of opportunities locally – both for individuals and businesses – to help us deliver this exciting programme. Of course, we must also make sure the correct protocols are followed under European procurement law.”
Councils in the area recently confirmed they will contribute £45million to the scheme to re-instate a railway for passenger services between Bedford and Oxford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury and beyond.
A local funding commitment was required by the Department for Transport, which has put the £500million project in its 2014-2019 plan.
The Western section of East West Rail has been forecast to generate 12,000 new jobs and boost the regional economy by £38m per annum.
Iain Stewart, Milton Keynes South MP, stressed the importance of East West Rail as a catalyst for growth and jobs, as well as reducing road congestion: “By joining Oxford, the science parks, Milton Keynes, Bedford and beyond, you’re connecting the nerve centres of the British economy, the places that will keep our economy growing. East West Rail is unlocking this enormous potential and making the whole region more attractive for inward investment from the UK and abroad.”