Network Rail, the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, has received approval to begin the work on the second phase of East West Rail.

In 2018, the firm has submitted plans to build the second phase of the East West Rail project between Bicester and Bedford.

The three-phase project will create the first direct rail link in more than 50 years between Oxford, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.

Established in 2017, East West Railway Company is responsible for the development of the direct rail connection from Oxford to Cambridge.

Upon completion of the second phase, the project will connect communities and businesses between Oxford and Bedford, and Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.

The proposal includes two trains in each direction between Oxford and Milton Keynes for every hour, one train each direction between Oxford and Bedford in one hour and one train in each direction between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury per hour.

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The rail line will also link the Great Western main line, Chiltern main line, West Coast main line and Midland main line.

The second phase of the project includes track and signalling upgrading works between Bicester and Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.

Additionally, the work includes reinstating of a railway line between Bletchley and Claydon Junction north of Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

The first phase of East West Rail is the major upgrade of the existing rail line between Oxford and Bicester is already completed.

Work included was construction of a new one-kilometre railway link to connect the former Bicester Town station to Oxford via the Chiltern main line.

Network Rail’s North West and Central Region managing director Tim Shoveller said: “Building a new railway would transform connectivity and journey times across the heart of the country.

“East West Rail promises to provide a greener, low carbon transport system which will bring huge benefits to passengers and businesses – driving economic growth and creating opportunities for housing and new jobs.”


Network Rail receives approval for second phase of East West Rail. (Credit: Network Rail)