THE government is to be pressed by Buckinghamshire councillors over the suspension of a plan to include Aylesbury in East West Rail by running EWR trains from Claydon Junction, between Bicester and Bletchley, down to Aylesbury.
The line exists, and is being used by passenger trains as far as Aylesbury Vale and by waste trains to Calvert, close to Claydon Junction. It was originally part of the Great Central main line, but since the GC was closed as a through route 55 years ago the line north of Aylesbury to Claydon Junction has been singled.
If it was used by EWR trains, they could run from Aylesbury, via Claydon, and on to Bletchley. From there they could join the West Coast Main Line to get to Milton Keynes Central.
This was part of the original EWR plan, along with the main route between Oxford, Bletchley, Bedford
and eventually Cambridge, but the Aylesbury section received a setback in March this year, when a map in a new consultation document described it only as a ‘potential future section’.
At the full council meeting this month Buckinghamshire councillors unanimously agreed to continue pressing the government to include the Aylesbury route in the current project.
Aylesbury East Councillor Mark Winn proposed the Motion, saying: ‘We welcome the £760 million that the government has announced it is investing in East-West Rail and the 1,500 jobs it will create.
‘However, we remain concerned that this recent funding announcement did not commit to the completion of the proposed spur between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. This spur was originally conceived as a key part of this project.
‘So many residents in Bucks, not just in Aylesbury, but along the current route of the current Chiltern line in Buckinghamshire would benefit from the building of a North South railway along the entire length of the county.’
Councillor Winn also called for the Aylesbury-Princes Risborough line to be doubled. He concluded: ‘I am therefore urging government to rename this line “the Buckinghamshire Line” to reflect the significance to the whole of the county. The track is there, the need is there, but we now need the government to put in the investment to get the trains running.’
Transport secretary Grant Shapps has yet to reply, but on 18 March this year he did cancel a parallel ‘expressway’ which had been proposed between Oxford and Cambridge, saying: ‘Our analysis shows the expressway cannot deliver such links in a way that provides value for money for the taxpayer, so I have taken the decision to cancel the project. But we remain committed to boosting transport links in the area.’