East West Railway Company launched to restore Oxford-Cambridge rail link

The old Varsity line. Photo: ukrailpix.co.uk.
The old Varsity line. Photo: ukrailpix.co.uk.

The restoration of a railway between two of the UK’s academic powerhouses has come a step closer.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has officially launched the East West Railway Company (EWRC), which will oversee the reconstruction of a rail link – dubbed the Silicon Valley line – between Oxford and Cambridge.

The launch, on December 14, was almost 50 years to the day since the closure of the old Varsity line.

The UK’s Department for Transport said that East West Rail will be one of the country’s most strategically important rail projects when it is completed in the mid-2020s.

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

When the line opens, it will have interchange stations with four main railway lines radiating out of London, but it will run under or over each, minimising any risk of delay. The aim is to build a route that allows future upgrades to be incorporated with as little disruption as possible

Chris Grayling said that the line is “the perfect example of how we can revitalise the railways, grow the network and unlock jobs and housing growth.”

EWRC interim chair Rob Brighouse added: “This railway has huge potential to spread prosperity all the way along the line, making life better for those who live and work here.

“That’s why it’s so important to deliver it quickly and cost effectively; and that’s what the East West Railway Company has been set up to do. We are working very closely with local representatives, to make sure we build a railway that works for the passengers and the communities it will serve.”

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