Ox-Cam UK Map

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Two positive East West Rail announcements from government in two weeks

In November 2016 the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC, chaired by Lord Adonis, who is a Railfuture honorary vice-president) had recommended that the government spend £100m on the Bicester-Bletchley rail section to effectively 'get spades in the ground.' Network Rail has been planning to submit a Transport and Works Act (TWA) application at end of 2017. With 18 months for approval and two years for construction it could lead to a 2022 opening date.

On 23rd November 2016, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that the government would provide the £100m recommended by the NIC and a further £10m to fund further development work on the Central Section of East West Rail, which is the Bedford-Cambridge link. This was further evidence of the government's support for the full Oxford-Cambridge railway that Railfuture has been campaigning for since the mid-1990s.

The second piece of good news came on 6th December 2016 when Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, announced his proposal for a new private standalone company to design, built and operate the full East West Rail link, comprising Phase 2 of the Western Section (Bicester to Bedford, plus links from Aylesbury and Milton Keynes) and the Central Section. Little detail was provided by the government but Railfuture has included some thoughts in an article.

East West Rail Progress

Over the last few years there has been increasingly good news about the East West Rail Link, although the full scheme will not be realised until at least late 2020s. Click [News Archive] to read Oxford-Cambridge news stories from 2010. These include:

  • The upgraded link between Oxford station and Oxford Parkway opened to passengers on Sunday 11th December 2016, with an opening ceremony performed by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, on Monday 12th December. The track-work had been completed almost three months earlier, on 21 September 2016, as Network Rail confirmed in a Press Release.
    • First Oxford Parkway to Oxford train service (just 6 minutes versus bus link of 20 minutes) was at 08:44 on Sunday 11 December 2016. The train had started from London Marylebone and Railfuture representatives were on board it.
  • Network Rail announced that the East West Rail Central Section will run in a Cambridge - Sandy - Bedford corridor [March 2016]
  • Re-built upgraded line is opened providing high-quality service between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone station [October 2015]
  • Options for Bedford-Cambridge 'Central Section' reduced from seven down to two corridors [July 2015]
  • Excellent news as study finds Bedford-Cambridge 'Central Section' has "significant economic growth potential [August 2014]

UPDATE - See Railfuture Central Section photos about the Cambridge-Bedford route, uploaded in April 2016, and Western Section photos about the completion of the Oxford-Oxford Parkway route, uploaded in September 2016, which opened to the public on Sunday 11th December 2016 as a 'trial' day with the full service commencing the following day.

Help us continue to Cambridge by contacting your MP. You can send our 'postcard' (PDF 34kB) to them. Spread the message and get as many other people as possible to do like-wise. You could either send them an email with the address of this web page, or print the leaflet (below) and postcard and give it to your friends. Many thanks.

For further information about Oxford-Cambridge Rail Link read our 2-page leaflet (PDF 2.5 MB - revised Jan 2013). [Leaflet photography by Brian Forbes and Jeffray Wotherspoon.]

Railfuture held its national conference in Oxford on 2nd November 2013, which included a presentation about the Ox-Cam link from Patrick O'Sullivan of the East West Rail Consortium.

Railfuture also held a conference in Cambridge on 22nd June 2014, when nearly all of the speakers (including two representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, which is leading on the Cambridge-Bedford section) mentioned the Ox-Cam link in their presentations. This clearly shows how important the rail link.

On 21st May 2016 Railfuture held its national AGM in Milton Keynes. The main speaker was Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, who talked about East West Rail and how vital it is. There was also a presentation about the Borders Railway that reopened in September 2015, which serves a much lower population. It took only five years from final approval to opening to the public.

Ox-Cam mini-site developed with assistance from


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Page last changed on 12th December 2016.

About Railfuture

Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.

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