UK infrastructure manager Network Rail has submitted plans to develop the second phase of the East West Rail project.
This part of the project involves major track and signalling upgrading works between Bicester and Bedford, Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as the rehabilitation of the railway line between Bletchley and Claydon Junction.
Once completed, it will enable passengers to travel between Oxford and Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury directly, generating significant improvements in local travel and supporting economic growth in the region.
The phase 1 of the project, which involved development works between Oxford and Bicester, was completed in December 2016.
Network Rail East West Rail project head of consenting and environment Colin Murphy said: “We have carried out a comprehensive programme of consultation to understand the impact of our proposals and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed.
“As intended, the feedback we received has informed our final proposals which we are submitting today. Once completed, the new railway will connect communities and businesses along the route and beyond, creating new opportunities for jobs, housing and economic growth.”
If approved, the proposals will enable Network Rail to start works next year.
East West Railway Company chairman Rob Brighouse said: “Today’s announcement by Network Rail is very welcomed and shows our shared commitment to move all elements of the project from planning to delivery as quickly as possible.”
The third and final phase of the project is currently under development.