First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood has welcomed the decision to include the Western section of the East West Rail (EWR) in the Government’s strategy for transport. Speaking at the East West Rail Consortium event to celebrate the announcement, Mark Hopwood said:
“Re-opening of the East West route provides some really exciting opportunities for First Great Western Customers. It opens up the potential to not just link Oxford and Milton Keynes but to develop other links from places like Bristol and Reading.
“We look forward to working with our partners to develop the line and the possible train service options. This is fantastic news for the towns and cities that the East West Rail will serve.”
Inclusion in the Government’s strategy means that funding for the project, including electrification of the Oxford to Bedford part of the route, has been confirmed.
A special train was provided to take representatives from the East West Rail Consortium, Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail and partners to view part of the EWR route.
Much of the route already exists as freight network or disused lines and necessary development work is currently being carried out to ensure the target re-opening is met by 2017.