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Could East West Rail end in a seaside destination?

East West Rail clearance work and ecological survey at Swanbourne Station area.
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East West Rail clearance work and ecological survey at Swanbourne Station area. 140129M-A177 ENGPNL00120140129160242

The new East West Rail line could eventually extend from coast to coast, a new report suggests.

On Monday, the East West Rail Consortium published a report that shows a strong economic case for extending the line from Oxford to Cambridge, creating the infrastructure for train services to run from East Anglia to Oxfordshire and beyond.

The western section of East West Rail, which has been approved, will include a new station at Winslow.

The section will link Oxford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes and Bedford, with connections to the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

It will use the Oxford to Bicester Line, a renovated section of the disused Varsity Line from Bicester to Bletchley, and finally the Marston Vale Line from Bletchey to Bedford.

A new passenger service between Milton Keynes Central and Aylesbury is also planned.

Now the East West Rail Consortium is working to identify a route to extend the line beyond Bedford and on to Cambridge, to connect with the East Coast Main Line, so train services could run all the way from Oxford to Norfolk and Suffolk.

The former railway between Bedford, Sandy and Cambridge was closed in the 1960s and some of the land has now been built over, so this would be the most difficult and costly part of the route to reinstate.

More than 100 people attended a public drop-in session in Swanbourne last Wednesday to discuss railway crossings for the line.

An East West Rail Consortium spokesman said: “We were very pleased with the attendance. There was a lot of support for the scheme.”

The next public drop-in session to discuss railway crossings and rights of way will be held in the Mark Bulman Parish Room at St Michaels Church, Steeple Claydon, on September 17, from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

Chris Wright, who chairs the Oxon and Bucks Rail Action Comittee (OBRAC), attended the Swanbourne gathering.

He said: “It seemed to me that most people were very interested in what was going on and most people were in favour of it.

“I’m impressed with the amount of support that’s coming from people.

“We thought we’d be lucky to get an Oxford to Milton Keynes railway. They’re even considering half-hourly services from Aylesbury to High Wycombe.”

See www.eastwestrail.org.uk/news

 

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