Oxford Economics says there is a strong business case for reinstating track and upgrading the line to enable a service to carry passengers from Reading to Bedford via Oxford and Milton Keynes and from Milton Keynes into London Marylebone via Aylesbury and High Wycombe.
It has published a report on the economic case for investment, which has been welcomed by a consortium of councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships supporting the rail link.
The report East West Rail: The Economic Case for Investment comes at a time when there are concerns about the low economic growth outlook for the UK.
East-West Rail Consortium chairman Neil Gibson said: “Oxford Economics have confirmed what we have been saying to ministers and Whitehall officials: that investment in East-West Rail is a great deal for the taxpayer, for business, the travelling public and for supporting economic growth.”
The project was a critical piece of transport infrastructure that was essential to the new infrastructure necessary to help to kick-start economic growth in England, he added.
An earlier study by engineering and design consultancy Atkins said that reinstating the railway between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Bedford with a link to Aylesbury, represented a business return of £6 for every £1 invested.
The Oxford Economics report adds: “Specifically, the scheme will contribute strongly to numerous key goals of the UK’s National Infrastructure Plan and will make the Oxford-Bedford corridor more attractive for businesses and individuals to locate.”
Dr Martin Dare-Edwards, chairman of the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “East-West Rail makes superlative sense for supporting growth across this vital arc for the UK’s high-value-adding economy. It also provides an optimal solution for connecting people to jobs, and businesses to services customers and suppliers in a low carbon way.
"We welcome this report and look to Government to look favourably on this sound investment opportunity.”
The East-West Rail Consortium is seeking inclusion of the scheme in the government’s 2014-19 railway investment programme, due to be decided and announced by July 2012.
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