For the first time in over 50 years, Phase 2 will create direct connections between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes

Piling work taking place at Bletchley

This project will link communities across the area, bringing faster journey times and easing pressure on local roads.

To deliver East West Rail Phase 2, the EWR Alliance was established in 2015 and consists of four partners: Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail. 

What are we doing?

In August 2020, engineers Tara Scott and Liz Conroy visited the Bletchley flyover to watch an especially exciting stage of its dismantling. Watch this video to find out how to remove 300 tonnes of concrete from directly above the railway:

Our plans include:

  • Improving stations and viaducts at Bletchley, Winslow.
  • Making railway crossings safer by replacing structures and diverting or closing highway, foot and field crossings
  • Upgrading track, including doubling track and upgrading infrastructure between Bicester and Bletchley
  • Installing new and upgraded signalling and associated cabling
  • Establishing Environmental Compensation Sites (ECS) to offset the ecological impacts of constructing the project
  • Clearing overgrown vegetation, including removing overgrown vegetation predominantly along the railway corridor
  • Constructing and restoring structures, including a new station at Winslow, new high-level platforms at Bletchley station, refurbishments, reconstruction and general repairs to existing infrastructure.

The benefits

East West Rail Phase 2 will provide the first direct rail link in more than 50 years between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes, transforming connectivity and journey times for people and businesses across the heart of the country.

  • Boost economic growth and create opportunities for new housing and jobs
  • Encourage people out of cars and onto public transport
  • Provide a greener low carbon transport system.

When is the work taking place?

Main construction work started in Spring 2020 and is due for completion in Spring 2024.

Work timeline

  • Marking out and preparing the additional land we will need to build the new railway
  • Parts of the mothballed line are very over grown so we need to clear this and manage vegetation along the line
  • To bring Bletchley flyover up to modern standards parts will be deconstructed and rebuilt
  • We will construct work compounds to act as main hubs for construction workers and equipment
  • Environmental mitigation, including the creation of new habitats for badgers, otters, reptiles, great crested newts, bats, butterflies
  • Repairing and strengthening bridges and structures
  • Road improvement work – putting in passing bays to enable construction traffic to use roads
  • Build a new station at Winslow
  • Prepare the ground for the new railway to be constructed
  • Begin work to build a new road bridge at Charbridge Lane in Bicester
  • Continue with our bridge and structure refurbishments
  • Rebuild Bletchley flyover
  • Install the new railway tracks
  • Complete Bletchley flyover work
  • Installation of the new railway track will be completed between Bicester and Claydon Junction
  • Begin putting in the new signalling system, power and communications systems
  • HS2 will hand over the integration area where they will have completed their work on East West Rail
  • The new railway tracks will be completed between Claydon Junction and Bletchley
  • Signalling and power testing will begin
  • Signalling, power and communications testing and commissioning will be completed
  • Infrastructure will be ready for test trains

What disruption this work may cause for the community?

To get our materials and construction vehicles to sites where we are rebuilding the railway we need to use public roads. The routes that our vehicles will take was consulted on as part of our TWAO process. All the routes have been assessed to make sure they are suitable for construction traffic and we will also carry out improvements to junctions, providing passing places, and repairs where required. Whilst we carry out work, we may sometimes need to put in traffic management measures such as traffic lights or close a section of the road and put in diversions.

When closing a road, signs will be placed along the route giving advance warning of an upcoming road closure one week beforehand and road diversion signs will be in place one day before the road is closed.

Information on all road closures and diversions can be found on the website.

We have regular liaison meetings with local highway authorities to discuss our proposed road works with the aim, as far as possible, of minimising disruption. We will notify authorities of any proposed road works and changes 28 days before works begin.

All construction traffic will follow clearly signposted and identified authorised routes. Abnormal loads will be handled on a case by case basis and may deviate on an individual basis from the normal construction routes. These loads will be notified to the Local Authorities and Emergency Services beforehand.

The project will be employing the Voyage Control system to manage construction traffic and logistics. This system allows us to proactively manage, monitor, co-ordinate, track and communicate.

As part of the project, we have already needed to close a number of footpaths/bridleways along the old ‘varsity' railway line between Bicester and Bletchley. The footpaths which crossover and run alongside the railway have always been part of our plans, and the proposals for their closures were included in the various consultation phases and presentations which the Network Rail and EWR Alliance has made to communities along the route. There will be a great deal of construction work taking place to reinstate the railway, including sections of ‘haul roads' which will be used by HGVs and large construction vehicles – making it dangerous to allow members of the public to use the footpaths. We recognise that this is inconvenient and as soon as work has been completed and it is safe to do so we will re-open the footpaths.

Whats happening in your area?

Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO)

The Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) has been approved by the Secretary of State for Transport and came into force on 25 February 2020, which allowed the EWR Alliance to start main construction works.

TWAO application documents

Contact us

If you have any questions you can email us or call our 24-hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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