The complete East West Rail scheme involves reinstating and upgrading the railway between Cambridge and Oxford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury to provide a strategic rail route that will link Ipswich, Norwich, Cambridge, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Bicester and Oxford, with connections to national mainline services.
The route will connect the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich with the Great Eastern, East Coast, Midland, West Coast and Great Western main lines without the need to travel on congested tracks around North London. It also provides an extra route for north-south intermodal traffic from the port of Southampton.
The route will link the strategic growth areas along the M11 corridor, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Bedford, as well as Oxford, and support the growing hi-tech, digital economic sectors by connecting key hubs between Oxford and Cambridge.
The whole concept of East West Rail has some parallels with the M25, in that it provides an orbital route around London which both passenger and freight services will use for short, medium and long distances.
Page updated January 2014