MP backs “value for money” east-west rail

MP Tony Baldry
MP Tony Baldry
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BICESTER’S MP has written to ministers urging them to prioritise funding for the East-West Rail project as it will give “incredibly good value for money.”

The proposed East-West Rail scheme would link Reading, Didcot, and Bicester to Milton Keynes and Oxford.

Chiltern Railways has already announced major plans to upgrade the line and services between Oxford and Bicester, including the redevelopment of Bicester Town station.

MP Tony Baldry said it was “crazy” many Bicester people were still having to travel to Oxford by car and coach with a rail option available.

“It will help take traffic off the A34. It will enable many communities to maximise their geographical location. It will make it a lot easier for people from a whole range of areas to get to work locally, said Mr Baldry.

He added: “It is crazy that at the moment for so many people living in Bicester the only way they can get to work in Oxford is by car or coach, and the East-West Rail network has the potential to link up all sorts of cross-country lines, enabling people to get to a much greater range of destinations by train than they can at present.”

Mr Baldry said there was an exceptional business case for an east-west rail line, and that such a scheme would not require any public subsidy once ut was up and running.

The East-West Rail scheme is backed by a consortium of local authorities and businesses along the proposed route.

In November last year, rail minister Theresa Villiers said the western section of the East-West Rail link should be considered for inclusion in funding plans for 2014-19. The plans are due to be published next summer.

Mr Baldry said: “I appreciate that there will be considerable completion for funding for various rail projects, but in terms of value for money, I would suggest that all schemes have to be submitted on a basis of value for money and this scheme gives incredibly good value for money.”