East-West rail franchise being considered


    The UK Department for Transport has revealed proposals for a new East-West rail franchise to reflect expectations of future passenger growth.

    In an updated franchising schedule, the DfT said it was considering a “small” franchise to operate services between Bletchley, Oxford, Aylesbury and Bicester – the western section of the future East West Rail corridor.

    According to the schedule, the franchise would operate from 2018.

    The document also references a number of other updates. The DfT is planning a direct award for the Cross Country franchise in October this year until 2019, at which point the new franchise will start.

    The Great Western franchise ITT will be issued in February 2018. A study is due to be published later this year which, according to the DfT, could result in a remapping of the existing franchise.

    The DfT also pointed to changes that are likely to be made during the next West Midlands franchise, which starts in October next year, to hand over more control to local authorities.



    1. The new central section will pass north of Sandy and over the East Coast Main Line between Bedford and Cambridge and also the East-West line or Varsity line could also be used for freights with new, revamped and reopened railway stations on the route between Cambridge and Oxford.


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