Saturday 23 January 2021 10:18 am

Two rail lines closed in 1960s to receive £800m investment boost

Two railway lines closed to passengers more than 50 years ago will be brought back to life with almost £800m of funding from the government.

East West Rail, which will eventually connect Oxford and Cambridge, has been granted £760m to reopen for the first time since 1968.

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Ministers have also pledged £34m to accelerate plans to reopen the Northumberland line between Newcastle and Ashington, which closed in 1964.

“Restoring railways helps put communities back on the map, and this investment forms part of our nationwide effort to build back vital connections and unlock access to jobs, education and housing,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps.

“Returning these routes to their former glory, and progressing work to reopen even more lines and stations shows our commitment to levelling up.”

The East West Rail investment will be used to restore links between Bicester and Bletchley.

The work, which is expected to create 1,500 jobs, will include the construction of a new station at Winslow as well as improvements to existing stations, including Bletchley.

By 2025, two trains will run per hour between Oxford and Milton Keynes via Bletchley.

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The move is the first step in a project, set to be completed by the end of the decade, that will connect Oxford and Cambridge by rail.

The investment forms part of the government’s pledge to restore rail links closed in the Beeching cuts in the 1960s as it vows to improve infrastructure outside London.

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