East West Railway Company strategy director Will Gallagher has vowed to have trains running on the line by 2023.
Gallagher said that works are well underway on the first section of the line between Oxford and Bicester Village, claiming that there is an “unprecedented” level of government support for the project.
Announcing an open date of 2023 at England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) conference, Gallagher added that everything was being done to bring that open date forwards.
“We think we will get the first section of this railway open in 2023 and we are working hard to drag that open date forward if possible,” he said.
“We are looking at how we can accelerate the programme before 2023 but at this point I am not going to stand here and commit to opening earlier as that would not be fair.”
East West Rail
He added: “We are getting on with it as we speak and at this very moment we have enabling works ongoing.
“I am also pleased to provide assurances on the level of commitment from the government on this. The secretary of state is continually putting pressure on us to make sure we deliver this. The level of commitment on this project really is unprecedented.”
Gallagher confirmed that design route options were currently being drawn up for the link between Bedford to Cambridge and would be put before the public by the end of the year.
He also suggested that an overhaul of Bletchley station was being looked at “to open up the station to the town”.
He added: “We are determined to design a railway project that drives economic growth in to this region and brings prosperity.”
Gallagher’s announcement came in response to EEH’s “Call to Action” which demanded assurances over six infrastructure projects in the region including works on the East West Rail link.
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