Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park

    A direct rail link between the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge took a step closer today, as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling officially launched the East West Railway Company.

    The Transport Secretary launched the new company which will oversee the restoration of the link between the two academic powerhouses nearly 50 years to the day since the closure of the old Varsity Line at the historic Second World War site of Bletchley Park.

    The Transport Secretary also visited nearby Bletchley Station and Bletchley Viaduct, which are being re-opened as part of the new route.

    Bletchley Park, so vital in the UK’s Second World War effort, was a key stop on the old Varsity Line and is at the heart of the East West Rail line as it sits halfway between Oxford and Cambridge.

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since Victorian Times to meet the growing demand for rail travel, while also boosting business and increasing productivity.

    “East West Rail is the perfect example of how we can revitalise the railways, grow the network and unlock jobs and housing growth. And Bletchley Park – the home of World War II codebreakers – is the perfect location to mark the historic occasion because the line will be key to the development of this corridor as a world-class centre for innovation, technology and high-skilled jobs.”

    East West Rail will be one of the country’s most strategically important rail projects, with its direct link through the corridor dubbed the UK’s own ‘Silicon Valley’ when it is completed in the mid-2020s.

    The new line will also create a direct link between East Anglia and central and southern England, delivering benefits for passengers and businesses regional and nationally by unlocking additional housing and economic growth.

    Mr Grayling met with Rob Brighouse, interim chair of the East West Railway Company, regional council leaders and Milton Keynes South MP Iain Stewart for the launch.

    He is also meeting with Cyril Bleasdale the owner of Rail News who worked on the original Varsity Line construction in the 1960s and helped to build the Bletchley Viaduct.

    Mr Bleasdale said:  “I remember when we had our own little ceremony where I dug the first spade for it in 1962, so I’m delighted that the viaduct could be part of this historic line from east to west."

    Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster said: “I am very pleased to hear the new company’s focus will be on accelerating delivery. This project, linking MK with Oxford and Cambridge, will create significant economic and social opportunities for the region. Milton Keynes will
    be the heart of the UK’s Silicon Valley.”

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