Now that the work on the Hitchin Grade Separation project is all but finished with only the drainage work from the viaduct to the River Hiz to be completed, I thought that I might start a new blog on the East West Rail project. I will also include the Evergreen 3 project as this is uses the western end of the line from Oxford to Bicester. This work will help facilitate the first section of the East West route and is an integral part of it. I won't be able to do such frequent updates because of the distances involved. I thought I would start by taking a look at the developments in Bicester but this involved a drive of an hour and a quarter so this will not be possible that often.
The East West Rail project has been very slow to get going but now I think the momentum is picking up. It has always been a source of dismay locally that the route was lost in 1967. With virtually all other east west links also closed, if you want to travel cross country, then you have to travel into London and back out again. The project was formally started in 1995 by Ipswich council as the East West Rail Consortium. It now consists of all local authorities along the route plus local businesses and other interested parties. When it is finally completed, it will provide an orbital rail route that will link the Great Western, West Coast, Midland, East Coast, and Great Eastern main lines. It will even take in the stub of the Great Central.
The western section is now confirmed and should be operational by 2017. This will mean the section from Oxford to Bedford will be open throughout and will include links to Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. The pressure for the central section by East West Rail Consortium and Railfuture has finally resulted in some positive news. The government has announced its support for the this section by including it in its Tech Connected document. Feasibility studies are to be carried out to decide on the most suitable routes.
I will endeavour to report on developments as they happen and also take a look at what is actually left of the various routes that will or could be used. This will probably include the Oxford to Bletchley section, Bletchley to Bedford, Bedford to Sandy, Sandy to Cambridge and Bedford to Hitchin.
I would also welcome any contributions from anyone interested in the project and would be happy to acknowledge this in the blog.
East West Consortium website:- http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/?url=welcome-east-west-rail
Railfuture website:- http://www.railfuture.org.uk/ox-cam/index.php
Tech Connected document:- https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263864/tech-connected.pdf