Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced £760 million funding for the delivery of the next phase of East West Rail, which will create 1,500 skilled jobs, and reinstate direct rail services between Bicester and Bletchley for the first time since 1968.
Grant Shapps said: “Restoring railways helps put communities back on the map, and this investment forms part of our nationwide effort to build back vital connections and unlock access to jobs, education and housing.
“Returning these routes to their former glory, and progressing work to reopen even more lines and stations shows our commitment to levelling up journeys across the country as we build back better from the pandemic.”
Simon Blanchflower, Chief Executive Officer at East West Railway Company, added: “We are delighted that the government has shown a big commitment to East West Rail and the Oxford-Cambridge arc with today’s investment decision. This funding will enable us to get on with the construction work that will connect communities who live on the East West Rail link.
“We are committed to improving connectivity across the Oxford-Cambridge arc, and fully recognise our responsibility to ensure that it is delivered in a way that minimises disruption, supports the regional economy, maximises benefits and supports jobs across the region.”
Barry Wood, Chair of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Leadership Group and Leader of Cherwell District Council ,said: “This investment announcement demonstrates Government’s commitment for improved East-West links to enhance the connectivity of our towns and cities across the Arc.
“Progress with this Bicester to Bletchley section is a further step towards completing East West Rail, identified as key piece of infrastructure that will help unlock greater economic opportunity for our fast growing region. It will bring significant benefits to local communities, giving more choice for people wanting to travel more quickly and sustainably to local jobs, education and for leisure.”
This phase of the project will include the construction of a new station at Winslow and as well as enhancements to existing stations along the route, including Bletchley. By 2025, two trains per hour will run between Oxford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley.