The Consortium is forecasting that the re-opened railway, planned to be operational by 2017, will bring up to 12,000 new jobs to the area as well as increasing annual regional gross domestic product by £38 million and tax revenues by £17 million. In terms of rail demand it will add up to 2.58 million rail trips p.a. and remove up to 1.5 million car trips p.a.
On the basis of the local contributions committed to the capital cost of the project, the forecast Benefit to Cost ratio (BCR) included within the overall business case is calculated to be well in excess of 11 to 1. Compared to many other transport schemes, this BCR is exceptional and underpins the strength of the argument for the re-opening of the railway which was closed to passenger services in 1967.
The contribution of £50 million by local authorities along the route is based on ‘best efforts’ for £30 million and ‘reasonable efforts’ for a further £20 million.
◊ Provide a strategic east-west route linking key centres of economic activity;
◊ Support local authorities’ ambition for substantial economic growth based on the creation of new private sector jobs and the development of major areas of new housing;
◊ Provide a connection between existing radial routes out of London facilitating journeys without the need to interchange through London.
The project has been driven forward by the East West Rail Consortium: a partnership of local authorities, rail operators and Network Rail. It has been developed in accordance with the rail industry’s standard assessment of new projects.
2012: East West Rail included within CP5 HLOS.
2013/14: Planning and statutory processes complete and conditional local contribution funding secured.
2014/15: Franchising specifications drawn up and full approval secured.
2015: Infrastructure procurement and contracts let
2016: Agreed franchise contract(s)
2017: Start of passenger services
Planned Train Services
One train per hour (1tph) from Reading to Oxford and Milton Keynes, stopping at Water Eaton, Parkway, Bicester, Winslow and Bletchley. These services could start from Didcot.
Oxford to Milton Keynes 40 minutes
Reading to Milton Keynes 84 minutes
◊ 1 tph from Reading to Oxford and Bedford, stopping at Water Eaton Parkway, Bicester, Winslow, Bletchley, Woburn Sands and Lidlington. Again these services could start from Didcot.
Oxford to Bedford 60 minutes
Reading to Bedford 106 minutes
◊ 1 tph from Milton Keynes to London Marylebone as an extension of the existing service to Aylesbury Vale Parkway with stops at Bletchley and Winslow.
Milton Keynes to Aylesbury 33 minutes
High Wycombe to Milton Keynes 63 minutes
The existing Bletchley to Bedford stopping service would not be affected