Work continues on second phase of East West Rail

Statement from the East West Rail Joint Delivery Board

4th December 2015

The Government has confirmed its commitment to delivering the East West Rail links from Oxford to Bedford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley, and Milton Keynes to London Marylebone via Aylesbury.

Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, published his review of the nationwide Railway Upgrade Plan on 25th November 2015.  His report confirms that the second phase of the Western Section of East West Rail will go ahead with development work continuing and delivery starting as soon as possible before March 2019 (referred to as Control Period 5 or CP5), for completion in the following five-year railway control period (Control Period 6 or CP6).

Sir Peter’s report states:

“During CP5 development work will continue into the full re-opening of the route between Bicester and Bletchley – a project which will enable trains to operate between Oxford/Aylesbury and Milton Keynes/Bedford (East West Rail Phase 2) and delivery will be started as soon as possible.”

Further development work, now being done by the newly-appointed EWR2 Alliance, is needed before final delivery dates can be confirmed.

Cllr Rodney Rose, Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and chairman of the Joint Delivery Board for East West Rail, said:

“We have met with Sir Peter Hendy of Network Rail. The vital importance of East-West Rail to improve connectivity within our region, as well as part of the national strategic rail network, is well understood. The new train services on East West Rail are vital to support economic growth, planned housing developments and the creation of thousands of new jobs. We understand the challenges ahead. Our joint delivery approach means that we are using the combined expertise of Network Rail and the local authorities within the East West Rail Consortium to accelerate the delivery process.”

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail, route managing director, said: “The railway is vital to Britain’s economic health. We are carrying out East West Rail (EWR), part of our national Railway Upgrade Plan, because we care about giving train passengers what they want and about building a strong economic future for people in the regions this scheme will connect.

“Such is our commitment to delivering East West Rail as soon as possible, we have just awarded alliancing contracts for Phase 2 (EWR2). An alliance of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Network Rail will design and construct EWR2, linking Oxford to Bedford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley, and Milton Keynes to London Marylebone via Aylesbury.

“A connection from Oxford to Ipswich via Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge is a vital missing piece in our country’s rail network. That’s the end goal of EWR. Phase 2 will be major step towards making that a reality.”

Martin added: “As the development work continues to finalise the scope and develop more detailed designs, we will be able to give more precise dates for construction. We recently completed a successful first round of public consultation, which showed a high level of public support and yielded valuable feedback on our initial proposals. The project team will now refine these proposals ahead of a second round of consultation in 2016.”


The East West Rail Joint Delivery Board comprises elected members of local authorities within the East West Rail Consortium, with representatives of the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Local Enterprise Partnerships. The boards oversees joint working to deliver Phase 2 of the Western Section of East West Rail.

View or download the The Hendy Report here: