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East West Railway begins second phase of rolling stock procurement

East West Railway Company, (EWR Co), is set to resume market engagement with possible train suppliers, as its rolling stock procurement process enters a new phase.

The East West Rail project is set to create a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge, serving communities across the area with faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads.

Network Rail was responsible for developing the first stage in this project, connecting Oxford and Bicester, and is a partner in a construction alliance to develop the second stage of the route, where East West Rail Company is acting as the Department for Transport’s sponsor.

EWR Co is now evolving the route to allow services to run to Cambridge via Bedford and will be seeking statutory powers under the Planning Act 2008, following a period of extensive consultation.

The move follows an early phase of procurement activity, which EWR Co concluded earlier in the year.

A new PIN Notice has been issued today (13 Nov) to reignite engagement with potential suppliers, which includes a set of technical specifications taking account of feedback from the market gained during the initial procurement phase.

This procurement aims to secure a short-term, interim solution to leasing a small fleet of self-powered trains for the Western Section of East West Rail.

EWR Co launched its rolling stock Invitation to Tender in March 2020, when the company announced it is taking an interim approach to securing trains in order that passenger services on the Western Section of East West Rail could be up and running as quickly as possible.

This remains a priority as the EWR Co engages again with the rolling stock market, with this activity expected to conclude by the end of November.

Simon Blanchflower CBE, Chief Executive at East West Railway Company said: “We listened to what the market had to say about our technical specification, and this has enabled us to reshape our requirements in a way that give us more flexibility in achieving the right outcomes for passengers.

 “It’s essential we get this public procurement absolutely right, to make sure we give the best value to taxpayers and provide the best solution to the communities who live and work along the East West Rail route.”

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