Latest Rail News

07.07.14

East West Rail could boost regional economy by £73m – report reveals

The Western Section of the East West Rail section could boost the regional economy by £72.7m per annum, almost double the £38m forecast by Oxford Economics in 2010, a new assessment has revealed. 

Conducted by independent engineering and consultancy firm Arup, the economic review attributes the significant increase to greater investment in the scheme, including electrification and other track improvements, and the benefits of the proposed service patterns and destinations served. 

It also identified that the East West Rail line, which will connect Aylesbury and Oxford with Milton Keynes and Bedford by March 2019, will substantially improve rail connections for business and leisure travel. 

The scheme for the Western Section of East West Rail received government support in 2011 and was confirmed as a priority scheme to be delivered in the Department for Transport’s five-year spending period 2014 to 2019. Since then further enhancements to the line have been identified to accommodate anticipated future demand for additional passenger and freight services. 

It is expected that electrification of the line between Oxford and Bedford will enable cleaner, quieter and more efficient trains to operate, and the railway will become an integral part of the national ‘Electric Spine’ from Southampton on the south coast to the midlands and intermodal hubs in the north east of England. 

Cllr Rodney Rose of Oxfordshire County Council and chair of the East West Rail (Western Section) Joint Delivery Board said:  “We have always known that East West Rail will bring substantial benefits to our region. 

“These findings serve to reinforce the extraordinary case for investment in the railway and show just how important it is to our region. Consortium members are contributing £45m to the scheme which represents serious value for money when you consider the benefits.” 

The East West Rail scheme was originally developed and promoted by a consortium of local authorities between East Anglia and Oxfordshire aimed at improving transport links within the region and connections to the rest of the UK. When the line is finally completed 41 out 65 UK cities will be accessible by rail from stations on the East West Rail line, with no more than one change. 

Jo Kaye, director of strategy and Planning for Network Rail, said: “It is clear that East West Rail is not just a railway project, but a catalyst to deliver wide economic, social and environmental benefits. It will support economic growth in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and beyond and thousands of passengers will enjoy an improved and expanded service.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

Comments

Stephen Cryan   07/07/2014 at 17:56

This map suggests that services will offered, Milton Keynes - Bletchley - Winslow - Aylesbury - High Wycombe - Marylebone, which are an alternative to the London Midland ones to/from Euston. A way of alleviating the overcrowded corridor south of Rugby.

Pat Monroe   08/07/2014 at 09:08

The time taken from London to Milton Keynes on existing London Midland line is between 32 and 56 minutes. The estimated time taken via HW, Aylesbury, Winslow, is between 1hr 30 minutes and 1hr 50 minutes. (The quickest time from London to Aylesbury is 52 minutes.) Which would you take? It will alleviate very little.

Stephen Cryan   08/07/2014 at 11:02

@Pat Monroe: You are quite right in so far as to what you say. However, I never for a moment considered this route as a substitute for the Euston one. 1)The way to make it an alternative route is to upgrade it and improve running times drastically - is not an improvement of 25-30% possible will electric trains? 2)Not all passengers go point to point. I do not see many passengers living (or working) just next to the main stations. The final criterion is one of door-to-door times. 3)Though I did mention the London(passenger) termini as destination points a lot of capacity could be devoted to freight traffic where speed is not of such great importance. 4)Regular maintenance and periodical upgrades of the WCML are essential. These have not been done(as much as wanted or needed) to the route south of Rugby for lack of alternatives. The overdue upgrade south of Milton Keynes, or worse south of Watford, could entail prolonged closures. this alternative route would suit that. Whatever the decision taken it will always come down to, construction costs, convenience(door-to-door timing), flexible(or discriminatory) pricing and frequency of service. we shall see.

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