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Buckingham Liberal Democrats

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Go ahead to the UK’s East-West rail link cheers local activists

November 30, 2011 7:42 PM
Cllrs Llew Monger (l) and David Vick make debut in AVDC chamber

Lib Dem councillors Llew Monger (l) and David Vick. The new lines will pass through their wards.

The shock news that the Department of Transport has given the go ahead to the UK's East-West rail link haas been wamly welcomed by local Lib Dems. It's now almost 20 years since the Lib Dems in the Buckingham constituency first started campaigning for its reintroduction.

In a letter to the East West Rail Consortium, the DoT revealed that the government was "committed to developing the new East West rail link between Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford".

The completed East-West Rail scheme would form a new route linking key hubs in East Anglia, including Ipswich, Norwich and Cambridge, and the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe, with Oxford, allowing connections to the Thames Valley, the southwest and South Wales. The scheme's intention is to alleviate the need for passengers to travel in and out of London.

The announcement was made by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement with £25m earmarked to be spent on the project by the final year of this parliament in 2014/15.

It is estimated that the complete Oxford to Cambridge railway (the Bedford to Cambridge link will need separate approval) could create 12,000 jobs, by linking growth areas along the route.

The scheme will restore the railway line from Oxford to Bedford (much of it is still in place, and part being currently used to carry refuse trains to Calvert), with a spur to Aylesbury.

The line would link N. Bucks directly with Cambridge, Ipswich and Norfolk, and bring, perhaps, direct Winslow to Stansted services, and connect Aylesbury to Bristol, and Wales, missing out London altogether.

People argued in the 1960s that it was a cut too far, when Dr Beeching severed the strategic line between Oxford and Cambridge, which carried bright code breakers to Blechley Park from the two university cities in World War 2.