East West Rail appoints technical partners to deliver next phase

A Mott MacDonald-WSP joint venture has been appointed as technical partner by East West Railway Company (EWR Co) to drive forward the next scheme development phase.

A Mott MacDonald-WSP joint venture has been appointed as technical partner by East West Railway Company (EWR Co) to drive forward the next scheme development phase of the programme to build a new railway between Oxford and Cambridge.

Plans for East West Rail (EWR) – which will connect Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge – are set to progress after the government’s recent commitments in the Autumn Statement. 

The project involves building a brand-new railway between Bedford and Cambridge, with the first phase of the project connecting Oxford with Bletchley and Milton Keynes due to open in 2025.

Mott MacDonald and WSP will provide the technical and management resources to support EWR Co as it prepares to apply for a development consent order (DCO). 

This includes preliminary engineering and systems design, environmental assessment and management of the statutory processes. 

A successful DCO would authorise EWR Co to build the new infrastructure required to deliver EWR.

Work is currently underway on the section between Oxford and Bletchley, with earthworks nearly completed, track being laid, new bridges built and a new station under construction at Winslow. 

The second stage will see a section connect to Bedford and the final stage would see the line from Bedford to Cambridge link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in the surrounding area. This will provide:

  • Fast and affordable connections for communities between Bedford and Cambridge.
  • Opportunities for economic growth and investment along the route, improving quality of life in the area.
  • A more sustainable way to travel for work and leisure, helping people enjoy everything the region has to offer.

Simon Scott, engineering director at EWR, said: “Following the chancellor’s recent commitment to EWR, we are now moving forward with our plans to deliver a faster, more sustainable and affordable way to travel that links people to their jobs, families and friends. 

“So we are very pleased to be working with Mott MacDonald and WSP to open up more opportunities for best-in-class collaborations, from designers and engineers to innovators and sustainable suppliers, on the important next phases of this exciting project, which will improve the quality of life for local communities and help boost the UK economy.”

Stephen Flanaghan, managing director for rail at Mott MacDonald, added: “We are delighted to be supporting East West Rail Co on the next phase of this prestigious scheme. 

“East West Rail will create new opportunities for our communities to flourish, by linking them to a world class transport network, increasing capacity and connectivity across the UK, and improving standards of living across the wider OxCam Arc.

“This is a significant opportunity to deliver a truly digital, collaborative and innovative solution that is rooted in our community. We look forward to working closely with East West Rail Co, and its partners, stakeholders, and the local community, to further improve on the fantastic results achieved to date.

“We will embrace this opportunity with the ambition, spirit and behaviours that are essential to successful delivery, and we will place our shared purpose and values at the heart of what we do.”

Darren Reed, managing director for rail at WSP, said: “East West Rail will bring new levels of connectivity along the rail corridor between Oxford and Cambridge, and being part of the team making this a reality for the many communities it will benefit is an exciting opportunity.

“The chancellor made clear in his recent Autumn Statement the importance of connections and transport infrastructure in spreading wealth and opportunity across the country. We look forward to working closely with our JV partners in a fully integrated team to deliver the multi-disciplinary engineering and technical expertise needed to make this complex scheme a success.”

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