East-West Rail gathers support in Parliament

CALLS for a new railway station at Winslow, featuring a spur line down to Aylesbury, will be heard in Parliament next month.

The proposal is part of the £250 million East-West Rail plans to restore a disused line from Oxford to Bedford.

The group, led by Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart, aims to encourage the government to back the proposal next summer, when it set out its rail spending plans for 2014 to 2019.

Chairman of the Oxon and Bucks Rail Action Committee Chris Wright has lobbied for the East-West line for 25 years.

He said: “It is separate to High Speed Rail, they are entirely different. HS2 is north south, East-West Rail is east west, obviously.”

Eventually Mr Wright hopes East-West Rail will run from Oxford to Cambridge, and then on to Ipswich or Norfolk.

The original line was closed in 1967 and the cost of restoring the Bedford to Cambridge stretch is likely to reach to another £350 million.

Compared to HS2, Mr Wright claims East-West Rail offers better value for money.

He says it offers a cost benefit of 6.3–1, figures from HS2 Ltd show it offers 2.7–1.

There are also proposals to link East-West Rail with a line from Manchester to Bournemouth via Oxford – increasing destinations and reducing journey times from Manchester.

The plans would also link Cambridge with Nottingham and take advantage of the electrification of the Western Main Line, reducing journey times from Oxford to Bristol.