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Please show your support for East West Rail during the TWAO representation period!

East West Rail reached a major milestone today (Friday), as Network Rail applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to construct phase 2 of the project between Bicester and Bedford.

If the TWAO is granted by government, it will allow major works to begin as soon as 2019, enabling services from Oxford to Milton Keynes, Oxford to Bedford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes in the early 2020s.

There is now a period until September 7 to make representations to the Secretary of State regarding the plans.

Councillor Mark Shaw, Chairman of the East West Rail Consortium of councils which has campaigned for the reopening of the Varsity Line since 1995, said: "I’d really encourage people to give their views directly to the Department for Transport and leave them in no doubt about the public’s appetite for getting trains on tracks as soon as possible."

How to find out more and support the application

If you wish to support the TWAO application, you may find the Consortium's TWAO section useful. It includes five key things you may wish to refer to in your correspondence, alongside an in-depth Q&A and links to information about the TWAO process.

The email address to write to is transportandworksact@dft.gov.uk (you may wish to copy in the Consortium – info@eastwestrail.org.uk)

The postal address is Transport and Works Act Orders Unit, Department for Transport
1/14-18, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR.

All submission documents are available at www.networkrail.co.uk/east-west-rail  and paper copies can be viewed at the following locations:

  • Bicester library
  • Aylesbury Study Centre
  • Winslow library
  • Milton Keynes library
  • Bedford library
The period of representation ends on September 7.
Network Rail's news release in full
 
The transformational East West Rail project has taken another step forward today.  

Network Rail has applied to the Secretary of State for Transport for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to construct phase 2 of the project between Bicester and Bedford.

The East West Rail project is being built progressively in phases, and once complete will create a world class rail link between Cambridge and Oxford, connecting communities and businesses to create more jobs, more economic growth, and more sustainable housing.

With phase 1 between Oxford and Bicester already complete, phase 2 proposes major track and signalling upgrades between Bicester, Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, including the reinstatement of a ‘mothballed’ section of railway between Bletchley and Claydon Junction.

The proposed works will see major improvements to local travel, with the phased introduction of new rail journeys between:
  • Oxford and Milton Keynes, with trains stopping at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow and Bletchley
  • Oxford and Bedford, with trains stopping at Oxford Parkway, Bicester, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Ridgmont
  • Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, with trains stopping at Bletchley, Winslow and Aylesbury Vale Parkway
Construction of phase 2 is subject to permission through a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO), which if granted by government could allow major works to begin as soon as 2019.
 
Colin Murphy, Head of Consenting and Environment for Network Rail, East West Rail project said, “The submission of the Transport and Works Act Order is a culmination of four years of work developing the scheme and follows three positive rounds of community consultation, where we’ve continually refined our proposal based on the views of the community and planning experts.

"We have carried out a comprehensive programme of consultation to understand the impact of our proposals and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed. As intended the feedback we received has informed our final proposals which we are submitting today.  Once completed, the new railway will connect communities and businesses along the route and beyond, creating new opportunities for jobs, housing and economic growth”.
 
Rob Brighouse, Chairman at East West Railway Company said: “As a dedicated delivery body, East West Railway Company’s role is to streamline decision making and ensure the project is delivered quickly and cost-effectively.

“We will lead the development, procurement and delivery of this transformational project, with the support of the community and our delivery partners.

“Today’s announcement by Network Rail is very welcome and shows our shared commitment to move all elements of the project from planning to delivery as quickly as possible.”
 
Councillor Mark Shaw, Chairman of the East West Rail Consortium of Councils which has campaigned for the reopening of the Varsity Line since 1995, said: “East West Rail will drastically reduce journey times within the region, bringing key economic and cultural centres within easy reach of each other.

“After more than 20 years of campaigning, the submission of the TWAO is a hugely significant milestone, marking the final stage in acquiring permission to reopen the rail lines between Oxford and Bedford, and Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.”
 
Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of England’s Economic Heartland’s Strategic Transport Forum, said: “The Government has made realising the huge economic potential of this region a national priority and East West Rail is fundamental to delivering this. It will support new jobs and housing and also be a catalyst for regenerating the towns and cities across its route.

“We now need  the route between Bedford and Cambridge to be confirmed as soon as possible, so that delivery of the full scheme can be achieved within the Government’s stated target of the mid-2020s.”
Remember - people have until September 7 to make representations regarding East West Rail to the Secretary of State. We really encourage you to take part and share your views. Email transportandworksact@dft.gov.uk

And for five key points you may wish to include in a letter of support, please see the Consortium website.
 
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