The East West Rail project has taken a major step forward today (Friday).
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.
If the TWAO is granted, major works will begin as soon as 2019, enabling services between Oxford and Bedford, Oxford and Milton Keynes, and Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, by the early 2020s.
Please show your/ your organisation's support for East West Rail by writing to the Secretary of State during the period of representation which runs to September 7.
The email is email@example.com
For more information, including five points you may wish to reflect in a letter of representation and an in-depth Q&A, see the East West Rail Consortium's website.
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."
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.
"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."