Transport Secretary Announces New Approach to Deliver East West Rail

The Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, has announced a new approach to deliver East West Rail.

His plan is to create a new East West Rail organisation which will be an integrated rail operation.

The new East West Rail organisation will deliver the design, construction and operation of the missing railway link between Oxford and Cambridge. Rob Brighouse, former Managing Director of Chiltern Railways, has been appointed chairman.

Full details of the announcement may be viewed here: 

Cllr Rodney Rose of Oxfordshire County Council and Chairman of the East West Rail Consortium’s Joint Delivery Board for the Western Section said:

“Our priority is to have train services operating at the earliest opportunity on the Western Section, but we have been disappointed at the pace of progress due to financial constraints on Network Rail’s overall investment programme. We look forward to being part of this new approach to delivery of the whole scheme from Oxford to Cambridge, as well as the Milton Keynes Aylesbury line.

“This railway will connect the fastest growing centres of economic activity and population growth. The Western Section alone between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Bedford has a strong business case and forecast return on investment meaning the railway is expected to be operable without public subsidy within five years. Every year of delay to delivery is costing circa £200m in lost economic benefit.

“The East West Rail Consortium (of local authorities and strategic partners) has pioneered an approach to railway investment, by developing the initial case for this railway. We have committed to make a contribution towards the cost of the scheme and look forward to continue working alongside Government and the National Infrastructure Commission to ensure its delivery.

“Now, it’s time to speed up the development work, get spades in the ground and tracks laid.”

Cllr Ian Bates of Cambridgeshire County Council who chairs the Consortium’s Board for the Central Section of East West Rail said:

“This is a welcome development to drive forward this much needed rail improvement. Not only is it vital for the continuing prosperity of Cambridgeshire but for the region and the UK economy. The East West Rail Consortium has shown the way in how authorities and Government can be innovative in bringing forward transport schemes such as this so they can be delivered in a new way. Cambridgeshire is one of the fastest growing Counties in the country and an international destination for business, technology and research and this will only be improved with the greater links the East West rail will provide. I look forward to seeing work started and trains running on this new line.”