Railfuture campigners recently met with local authority officials who seemed hopeful that the western section of the East-West rail link could at last be making progress.

Although the Strategic Rail Authority has failed to recognise the route's importance, officials are hoping to secure funding from the Office of the deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.

The current £68million scheme could see an hourly service between Bedford and Oxford as well as Aylesbury and Bedford.

The East-West Rail Consortium has already udertaken nine detailed studies and is now prearing for another £1.5million detailed report.

The Government has recently approved more than £1billion of road building in the Bedford and Cambridge area.

For only £400million the entire East-West rail project could be implemented.

Information from railfuture Thames Valley branch.