East West Rail

East West Rail is a project to connect Cambridge to Oxford with an orbital rail route via Bedford and Bletchley. The project is split into three sections. The Western Section is fully funded and will connect Reading, Oxford, Aylesbury, Bletchley, Milton Keynes and Bedford. A Business Case is being developed for the Central Section, which will run from Bedford to Cambridge. A number of route options are being reviewed.

Oxford extension work could be delayed

Work to bring Chiltern Railway services into Oxford railway station could be delayed following changes to the project. The work was given permission in 2012 but cannot proceed until Oxford City Council discharges condition 19 over the impact of noise and vibration to nearby homes. Network Rail has moved the location of a set of points away from the property but there have been delays getting this change implemented.

Local residents have expressed concern about the report submitted by the Independent Noise Assessor and the council/local residents have asked for lower line speeds/noise fencing to mitigate noise. In addition, traffic volumes are expected to substantially increase with the introduction of East-West Rail.

Click here for the story

Oxford City Council Page

This will not impact the delivery of the route to Oxford Parkway, which will open on 26th October.


East West Rail Phase 2 Design Contract Awarded

The East West Rail scheme has taken a step forward with the award of a design contract to global engineering consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff.

The project will re-establish a passenger and freight rail link between Oxford and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury for the first time in more than 40 years. It involves upgrading and reconstructing underused and disused sections of railway.

Parsons Brinckerhoff has been awarded a contract of up to £8 million for the second phase of the scheme. The work it will be carrying out includes timetable modelling, the design and alignment of track, civil engineering works to bridges and embankments, geotechnical investigation and survey works, studies on how the reinstated railway will impact on level crossings, station design, consents, ecology and environmental works.

Andy Milne, Network Rail senior programme manager, said: “This contract award marks a significant milestone for the East West Rail scheme. The work Parsons Brinckerhoff will be carrying out will enable the project to be developed to the point where we can then award contracts for detailed design and construction.”

The first phase of the scheme is already underway with the construction and doubling of track for more than 18km of railway to increase line speeds to 100mph along with a variety of other works. These include the construction of new overbridges, underbridges and footbridges, closure of 37 level crossings, construction of a new station at Oxford Parkway and work to upgrade Bicester Town and Islip stations along with a new signalling system.

Darren Reed, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Director of Rail UK/Europe, said “We are delighted to be working with Network Rail and the East West Consortium to facilitate the development of this major complex rail programme which will enable essential east west rail connectivity. We look forward to developing this visionary strategic transport scheme, which in turn will encourage economic growth and promote sustainable transport solutions.”

The East West Rail will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and beyond.