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1997-05-29 RTK-001
Railtrack plc

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East-West Rail link study published


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East-West Rail Link
East West Rail



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Railtrack plc

East-West Rail link study published
_______________________________________________________________


date
29 May 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release



A feasibility study into a multi-million pound rail link between East Anglia and Central Southern England has reached a vital stage.

The rail link is the brainchild of the East West Rail Consortium, a public-private partnership between Railtrack, 25 local authorities and the Government Offices for South Eastern and Eastern England.

The new link would open up rail journey opportunities between Swindon/Oxford and Ipswich/Norwich via Bletchley, Bedford and Cambridge.

The route would be formed by installing new sections of line and upgrading existing track. It would also provide connections into existing rail services.

Appointed by the Consortium, consultants Steer Davies Gleave have been investigating the potential for the new link. They have now reported on a preferred route and provided preliminary costings for two broad service specifications.

Although only ten miles of new line would be required, extensive work to upgrade disused and freight-only lines would need to be carried out at a cost of around £98 million for a lower specification scheme, rising to an estimated £172 million for an enhanced option which would provide faster journey times. Funding is likely to be a 50/50 split between private and public sector sponsorship and it is estimated that the route could be open by 2003.

Benefits of the new link include:-

o Provision of direct rail services between East Anglia and Central Southern England which could cut existing rail journey times via London by an hour or even more.

o Provision of feeder services and connections into existing main line rail services

o New rail links between major towns such as Swindon and Bedford that currently have a high degree of car ownership and significant anticipated population growth

Railtrack will review the findings of the report and, in conjunction with the Consortium, develop funding packages.

Railtrack Director Michael Holden commented: "We have worked closely with the Consortium and studied Steer Davies Gleave's report. We agree that there is a case for more detailed work to be carried out. The scheme could have national as well as regional benefits and now that it is widely accepted that extensive road schemes are not going to be the future of Britain's transport system this rail link could provide a real alternative to people using their cars especially for medium and long distance journeys."


Railhub Archive ::: 1997-05-29 RTK-001





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