East West Rail Consortium wins ADEPT President’s Award

Adept Award 2

The East West Rail Consortium has been recognised at the inaugural ADEPT President’s Special Recognition Awards, held at the Association’s Annual Dinner on 28th January.

Heather Barnes, President of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport introduced the awards this year to recognise members’ outstanding achievements in three areas: devolution, resilience and communities.

The East West Rail Consortium won the award for ‘Meaningful Devolution’.

The Consortium, which includes county, district and unitary local authorities in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, is trailblazing a joint-delivery approach with Network Rail to reconstruct and upgrade disused and underused sections of the former Oxford to Cambridge railway, between Bicester and Bedford, and between Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Princes Risborough. Once complete, it will provide new train services linking the growth towns and key centres of business and employment in the region.

Neil Gibson, Managing Director Transport Economy Environment at Buckinghamshire County Council and Chair of the East West Rail Consortium Project Executive Board said:

“We are delighted to have received national recognition for the innovative approach we’re pioneering, working in partnership between the Consortium’s local authorities and Network Rail. We’re committed to making it work and establishing a new delivery model for railway investment projects that may be adopted for future schemes. East West Rail will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to people in our region and beyond, through improved rail services and connections.”

Heather Barnes said: “In a background of continual change, local authorities are  under constant pressure to deliver more for less. Amongst all the noise and  headlines, however, the very real success stories being delivered by ADEPT  members throughout place-based services can get lost.

“With these awards, we wanted to ensure that successful and innovative projects  received the recognition they were due and that ADEPT members were  commended for their exceptional contribution to the transformation of services  in their areas.”

ADEPT is the voice of Local Authority county, unitary and metropolitan Strategic  Place Directors across England with responsibility for the key place based  services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development,  housing and waste.

Case Study

East West Rail Consortium – Pioneering a New Approach to Rail Investment and Delivery

East West Rail (EWR) is a project to reconstruct a partially disused railway and reinstate train services through Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire on the western section of the former Oxford to Cambridge ‘Varsity’ Line.

It will help improve the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people, improving connectivity in the region, reducing journey times and providing a sustainable alternative to road travel.

The case for East West Rail was developed and promoted by a consortium of local authorities and strategic partners. It will deliver significant economic, social and environment benefits to the individuals, communities and businesses in the region it serves, and beyond.

In 2012, Government announced that it would fund the project for delivery in its next five-year investment period.

It is rare, if not unique, for Government to invest in a project of this scale that has been promoted from outside the rail industry.

In addition to the regional benefits the railway will bring, Government recognised its importance to the national strategic rail network and included it in the National Infrastructure Plan.

Funding was conditional on a ‘local contribution’ by local authorities to the cost of the project.

Justified by its exceptional return on investment, councils have committed £45m+ towards the project, which may be paid in cash or as ‘Works In Kind’ over a 15-year period.

This estimated £1bn investment is forecast to boost regional GDP by c.£135m and contribute to the public purse through tax revenues of c.£65m per annum. It will support the planned growth of 120,000 new homes and c.100,000 new jobs along the route.

Two county, three district and three unitary councils continue to work together to support successful delivery of the railway itself and associated economic, social and environmental benefits.

The process is governed and facilitated by a joint delivery board of local authorities’ elected members and Department for Transport (DfT) and Network Rail representatives.

DfT now heralds this innovative, partnership approach to funding and delivery, including the innovative ‘Works in Kind’ agreement, as an exemplar for future rail investment projects.

EWR work includes building a new station at Winslow, extending platforms at existing stations, major earthworks, building or renovating 18 road bridges, modifying or closing 75 level crossings and building 22 new footbridges or underpasses.

The Works in Kind agreement is helping to incentivise local authorities to collaborate effectively. Teams of highway, planning and environmental experts from local authorities are working alongside Network Rail to make early progress, accelerate delivery and provide value-for-money solutions.

This co-ordinated use of combined expertise is over and above what would happen in a traditional promotor/local authority relationship based solely on statutory interaction.

The joint working approach extends beyond the technical aspects of reconstructing the railway. Local authorities are also working with Network Rail and its contractors to promote use of local suppliers, employ local people and develop a framework for training, skills development and apprenticeships.

There is also significant joint working towards the shared core aim for East West Rail to achieve a ‘net-positive’ impact on the environment.


Notes to Editors:

For more information about East West Rail Consortium, please contact Caryl Jones, Communications Manager on 07785 927210 or email caryl.jones@bedford.gov.uk

For more information about ADEPT and further case studies, please contact Julie Everett at Coast Communications on 01579 352600 or 07866002635 or email Julie@coastmarcoms.co.uk

About the East West Rail Consortium  

The East West Rail Consortium includes local authorities working to improve rail connectivity, to support economic an housing growth, from East Anglia through to Oxfordshire.

The Western Section of East West Rail will see the reconstruction of a partially disused, and underused railway between Bicester and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Princes Risborough for passenger services to operate between Bedford / Milton Keynes and Oxford, and Milton Keynes to Aylesbury.

Consortium members for the Western Section includes Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Milton Keynes Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Wycombe District Council, Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council.



The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) represents local authority county, unitary and metropolitan Directors. Operating at the strategic tier of local government, members are responsible for delivering public services that primarily relate to the physical environment and the economy, but which have a significant impact on all aspects of the nation’s well-being. ADEPT represents members’ interests by proactively engaging central Government on emerging policy & issues, promoting initiatives aimed at influencing Government policy and through the development of best practices and responding to European and UK Government initiatives and consultations.

The ADEPT Prospectus for Growth can be downloaded here: www.adeptnet.org.uk/Policy Statement.pdf

For more information on ADEPT please visit the website: www.adeptnet.org.uk