Rail link is key for growth, says Transport Secretary

Dec 18, 2017

The Transport Secretary was at Bletchley Park to launch the new company, which will oversee the restoration of the link, nearly 50 years to the day since the closure of the old Varsity Line.

He also visited nearby Bletchley Station and Bletchley Viaduct, which is being reopened as part of the new route. Bletchley Park was a key stop on the old Varsity Line and is at the heart of the East West Rail line.

Mr Grayling pictured said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since Victorian times to meet the growing demand for rail travel, while also boosting business and increasing productivity.

“East West Rail is the perfect example of how we can revitalise the railways, grow the network and unlock jobs and housing growth. And Bletchley Park – the home of World War II codebreakers – is the perfect location to mark the historic occasion because the line will be key to the development of this corridor as a world-class centre for innovation, technology and high-skilled jobs.”

Mr Grayling met with Rob Brighouse, interim chair of the East West Railway Company, regional council leaders and Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart for the launch.

Mr Brighouse said: “This railway has huge potential to spread prosperity all the way along the line, making life better for those who live and work here. That is why it is so important to deliver it quickly and cost effectively, and that is what the East West Railway Company has been set up to do.

“We are working very closely with local representatives, to make sure we build a railway that works for the passengers and the communities it will serve.”

East West Rail will be one of the country’s most strategically important rail projects, with its direct link through the corridor dubbed the UK’s own ‘Silicon Valley’ when it is completed in the mid-2020s. The new line will also create a direct link between East Anglia and central and southern England, delivering benefits for passengers and businesses regionally and nationally by unlocking additional housing and economic growth.

Cllr Ian Bates, on behalf of the East West Rail Consortium of local authorities that have lobbied for the line to be reopened, said: “We welcome the real emphasis on accelerating delivery of the Oxford to Cambridge link in support of economic growth. The consortium has played a pivotal role getting us to this point and we have pledged to continue working in partnership to ensure there are trains on tracks at the earliest opportunity.”

The line will have interchange stations with four main railway lines out of London. 

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