EAST West Rail services could be running from Bicester in just two years’ time, it was revealed at a meeting last week.
Further details of the scheme to link Oxford and Bicester with towns such as Milton Keynes and Bedford were revealed by rail consultant Patrick O’Sullivan last Thursday.
Mr O’Sullivan said the Oxford to Bicester section would be the first ‘tranche’ of work done, and would include the construction of infrastructure for electrified East West Rail services and Chiltern Railways’ Evergreen 3 project.
The next phase will be Bicester to Bletchley and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes, followed by Bletchley to Bedford.
After the opening of the Oxford to Bicester section, services could run between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, Bicester and Bletchley by December 2017.
The East West Rail Consortium said it only had an outline plan and timescale at present, but would have further detail once the plans had progressed.
A report added: “We expect construction work between Bicester and Bletchley and Aylesbury to Claydon Junction to start in 2015 for completion in 2017.”
The new details come soon after the announcement that the Oxford to Bedford section of the line would be electrified.
Network Rail is now leading the construction project, and is working with the East West Rail consortium.
The next stage of the East West Rail project will be to complete detailed survey work along the route, as well as environmental impact assessments, which will examine things such as noise, vibration, and effect on wildlife.
Public consultation by Network Rail, supported by the East West Rail Consortium, is unlikely to start before the end of the year.
Construction work is expected to start in 2015, but will be subject to the results of the survey and environmental impact work.
> See page 7 for more detail on the East West Rail meeting.