Work starts on clearing line for East West Rail

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Network Rail is currently carrying out preparation work on a section of the future East West Rail line between Swanbourne and Steeple Claydon.

The firm is carrying out vegetation clearance and topographical and winter ecology surveys on a section of track which has no running trains, in preparation for work which will upgrade the railway line between Claydon Junction and Bedford. The section of track which forms part of the East West Rail scheme will re-establish a rail link between Oxford and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury and involves upgrading and reconstructing underused and disused sections of railway.

The main de-vegetation works will be taking place on a piece of track that has no running trains, from just outside Steeple Claydon to Bletchley.

Work will also be carried out along the live railway between Bicester and Steeple Claydon.

Ecologists will be on site throughout the works to assess potential bat roosts and ensure the work will not impact on local ecology.

Network Rail will publish its delivery plan for the five-year spending period April 2014 to March 2019 at the end of March. The western section of the East West Rail scheme is to be delivered in this spending period.

An East West Rail spokes man confirmed that the target date for delivery of the ‘core’ East West Rail scheme for the line to be ready for passenger train services remains December 2017.