Network Rail has launched public consultation on plans for the second phase of the East West Rail project in the UK.
The first round of public consultation will conclude on 16 October, while further consultation will be carried out in early 2016, before a final scheme is submitted to the secretary of State for Transport next summer.
The second phase of the project focuses on the upgrade of the route from Oxford to Bedford, and Milton Keynes to London Marylebone via Aylesbury and Princes Risborough.
Work under this phase will include upgrading and reconstructing underused and mothballed sections of the railway linking the Great Western, Chiltern, West Coast and Midland main lines north of London and providing a strategic east-west route.
Following completion, the work will pave way for new journey opportunities, including Reading – Oxford – Milton Keynes, Reading – Oxford – Bedford, and Milton Keynes – Aylesbury – London Marylebone.
The project will also provide increased capacity for freight services, taking lorries off the highway network.
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The plans also include construction of a new station at Winslow, two new platforms at Bletchley, 18 new overbridges, 22 new footbridges/subways and changes at 97 crossings.
The first phase of the project from Oxford to Marylebone is now complete and Chiltern Railways will start new services from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone this October.
Network Rail route managing director Martin Frobisher said: "A new service from Oxford to Marylebone, from late October, will be a great new option for people travelling to and from the capital.
"As our attention now turns to the future, we want to hear your views in order to properly understand what’s needed for the next phase of this scheme."
In March last year, a joint venture (JV) between Carillion and Buckingham Group Contracting secured a £87m contract from Network Rail to deliver the design and construction of the new Chiltern Railways route between London Marylebone and Oxford.
The JV will also close 37 level crossings, build a new station at Oxford Parkway, renovate Bicester Town and Islip stations, as well as installing a new signalling system, according to the agreed terms.
Image: East West Rail Map. Photo: courtesy of East West Rail® Consortium.