East West Rail track-laying between Bicester and Bletchley nears completion

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The new line will connect Oxford to MK for the first time in 50 years

A track construction train has made its final visit to the first connection stage of East West Rail, with track laying now 99% complete.

Once open this section of line will provide direct passenger services between Oxford, Bletchley, and Milton Keynes for the first time in over 50 years with services due to start in 2025.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The milestone brings better access to jobs, education, and healthcare, and makes it easier to see family and friends and travel for leisure.

EWR workers track-layingEWR workers track-laying
EWR workers track-laying

The final welding, stressing, and ‘tamping’ (track alignment) works are set to be completed in the New Year.

Installation of the signalling and telecoms equipment needed to operate the railway is also well underway, and once completed, will be followed by dynamic train testing before the railway reopens in 2025.

This phase of the project is being delivered by the East West Rail Alliance which was appointed by Network Rail to construct the Bicester to Bletchley section of the new railway.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

EWR Alliance Director, Mark Cuzner, said: “It is good to see the progress we have made with our track construction programme in the last 12 to 18 months.

“Our team has worked tirelessly with our supply chain partners and Network Rail to meticulously schedule all the engineering trains necessary to support the track construction.

“Witnessing the 58th and final NTC shift is testament to the combined efforts of the entire team and with 99% of the rail now laid, the project is in a healthy position to complete the final section of track installation in the New Year to allow installation of the railway systems before testing of the new railway later in 2024.”

The track itself has been laid by a state of the art “New Track Construction Train” one of only two such machines in the country.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The NTC train uses an automated track laying system which is faster than using conventional track laying methods and can lay up to 1km of new track a day.

Use of the NTC train has also helped to remove around 4,000 lorry journeys from local roads during the construction period.

East West Railway Company and the East West Rail Alliance have produced a video to show the NTC train in action.