The Department for Transport said £760million will support the next phase of East West Rail to reinstate services between Bicester, in Oxfordshire and Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, for the first time since 1968. And a scheme to reopen the Northumberland Line between Newcastle and Ashington – which closed to passengers in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts to increase efficiency – will receive £34million.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is urging councils, MPs and community groups to bid for a share of the final round of the DfT’s Ideas Fund to support plans for new routes and reinstatements.
He said: “This investment forms part of our effort to build vital connections and unlock access to jobs, education and housing.”
East West Rail will boost connectivity between Oxford and Cambridge, and is expected to stimulate economic growth and serve new housing. The section between Bicester and Bletchley will include new stations at Winslow and Bletchley.
By 2025, two trains per hour will run between Oxford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley.
The investment in the Northumberland Line will fund preparatory work including land acquisition and detailed designs. The scheme includes six new stations as well as track upgrades.
Northumberland county council leader Glen Sanderson said: “The Northumberland Line will bring a huge boost to housing, employment and education.”