Strategic Transport Forum chairman, Councillor Heather Smith, has written to Network Rail to confirm the Heartland’s support for East West Rail.
Cllr Smith was responding to the consultation on phase two of the Western Section of the scheme, from Aylesbury to Milton Keynes, and Bicester to Bedford.
Delivery of the Western Section remains an immediate investment priority (one of five) for England’s Economic Heartland.
Cllr Smith’s response references the National Infrastructure Commission’s report which identified East West Rail as part of a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to create a transport spine along the Oxford – Milton Keynes – Cambridge corridor.
“The Forum has also explicitly identified how the scheme opens up the opportunity to improve north-south connectivity – in particular along the Northampton – Milton Keynes – Aylebsury – High Wycombe – Old Oak Common corridor, facilitated by the opening of HS2 in 2026.
"Network Rail’s recently published Chiltern and East West Railway Route Study further highlights the importance of this strategic corridor in the short/medium term. Improved rail access to the growth hub at Old Oak Common/Park Royal is of strategic importance for both England’s Economic Heartland and the London Mayor.”
The Heartland’s response emphasised that the full scope of the Western Section, including an upgraded Marston Vale line to Bedford and stops at Aylesbury Vale Parkway and Winslow, must be delivered as a minimum.
“This is necessary to provide the confidence in East West Rail that allows Local Plans to be prepared with greater certainty and gives confidence to private sector investors that they can plan their developments on the basis that East West Rail will be there,” said Cllr Smith.