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Oxcalo rail connectivity

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The Department for Transport’s Tech Connected prospectus “articulates the Government’s commitment to a national tech community, linked by a modern and growing rail network”.


The triangle of London – Cambridge – Oxford is the kernel in the UK of cutting edge high tech industry developments. Government is determined to support this ongoing focus of economic development within the UK economy. Beyond these central clusters, we are also enhancing and expanding connections to other high tech hubs across the UK, as well as a range of international gateways.

Extract from the Department for Transport 'Tech connected', 2013

Department for Transport ‘Tech connected’, 2013


We have bold and fully funded plans to enhance and expand the rail networks which serve the core tech hubs:

* A £500m scheme will provide western access to Heathrow, facilitating fast and direct access to the UK’s hub airport from the Thames valley, and potentially other key destinations from the early 2020s.

* The western section of East-West Rail will re-instate direct services between Oxford and Milton Keynes/ Bedford via Bletchley. Fast electrified services will serve brand new and redeveloped stations from 2017.

Our ambitions for rail are relentless. Subject to affordability and statutory processes, we aim to expand the network even further:

* We are developing bold plans to complete the tech triangle. The central section of East-West Rail would connect Bedford with Cambridge, likely including an interchange station where it meets the East Coast Main Line.

* As well as a rapidly developing tech destination in its own right, Stratford is an expanding transport hub, with connections to tube lines, High Speed 1 and Crossrail. As soon as 2017, we aim to deliver new infrastructure which will facilitate the introduction of direct connections with Cambridge and the proposed Science Park station.

The prospectus reflects the conflicting messages in the Department for Transport’s PR activity. Having stated that ‘patch and mend is disruptive’ and ‘unable to provide the capacity uplift required’, nearly all the schemes planned for the Oxford — Cambridge — London triangle are based around upgrading existing infrastructure.


Our electrification programme will revolutionise much of the UK’s Victorian rail network. Electric trains offer faster, more comfortable journeys. Oxford will be a key beneficiary, with electrified trains to London from 2016 and to Milton Keynes from 2017.

In the second stage of the HS2 scheme, the fast intercity services from London to West Yorkshire and Scotland would be transferred from the East Coast Main Line to the high speed railway. As a result, there would be connectivity losses for West Anglia, but the scale of these is unknown because no post-HS2 service pattern has been provided.

Oxcalo and RP6

Indicative options for new rail routes in south central England in the RP6 concept

Indicative options for new rail routes in south central England in the RP6 concept, including the Great Central and Varsity lines

In the alternative Rail Package 6 concept, an upgraded East Coast Main Line would retain the intercity service between London, Yorkshire, and Scotland. With fast trains stopping at Peterborough, or Sandy, connectivity into Cambridge and the Oxcalo triangle would be maximised.

Written by beleben

December 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

One Response

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  1. I believe it is absolutely telling that DfT shows no line between Birmingham (New Street) – ok, Curzon Street- and Oxford which is currently about 1hr 10 min journey time with stops. From Oxford to Slough (just outside Heathrow), the journey is another 39 min.
    Ask National Rail Enquiries for ‘Birmingham- Heathrow’ and the total journey time is quoted as 2hr 36m (via Euston and Paddington). Amazingly, at the same time as you arrive at Euston, you are on the U/G to Paddington.
    When the western mainline has direct access to Heathrow, they could get non-stopping trains from Birmingham to Heathrow in 90 min or less as opposed to the HS2 option of change at Old Oak Common and at Hayes and Harlington. No doubt they will use the same timing mechanisms for this: step off one train directly into another which leaves at the same time as yours arrived – but it will still be about 90 min to T5 only(?).

    When the western route is in place, 6-10million (10-15% of the population) will be able to access Heathrow without going near or through London or using HS2.
    Unfortunately, it will potentially reduce GDP and London’s transit fees (and time ‘costs’) on the West of the country.
    More amazingly, they are agreeing to the building of a London rail ring road without apparently realising it resulting in even less pressure on London rail services and even less cause to build HS2.


    December 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm

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