Business leaders across the Cambridge to Oxford corridor have collaborated to make the case for East West Rail.

Businesses, including the likes of AstraZeneca and KPMG, have produced a report outlining the need for the Oxford to Cambridge railway line to be delivered in full.

Coined the East West Main Line Partnership, the report ‘Building Better Connections: the business imperative for East West Rail’ emphasises the importance of the railway to businesses in the region.

Serious doubts emerged over the latter stages of East West Rail after the Cabinet Office’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority said they appear unachievable and former transport secretary Grant Shapps admitted he would like to scrap them during an interview earlier in the year during an interview on LBC radio.

A consortium of VolkerRail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and Network Rail is building the first phase of East West Rail, creating a new track between Bicester and Bletchley to allow trains to run from Oxford to Milton Keynes by 2025.

Procurement of a delivery partner for a £677m job overseeing phases two and three – the line to Bedford and Cambridge – is due to start later this year.

East West Main Line Partnership chair Steven Broadbent said: “As a hotbed for world-class science and technology innovation, our region plays a pivotal role for the UK economy.

“However, our existing transport system is holding us back, hitting productivity, restricting collaboration and limiting access to labour. That’s why the businesses and organisations we spoke to said that East West Rail cannot come soon enough. East West Rail will boost economic growth and innovation, connect skills and talent, and increase the UK’s global competitiveness.

“Construction work between Oxford and Milton Keynes is well under way and due to be complete by 2025. With economic growth a key priority for the Prime Minister, it is crucial that the Government now commits to delivering the scheme to Aylesbury, Bedford and Cambridge.”

Image source: East West Rail

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