East-West, where’s best?

One of the big missed opportunities with HS2 – or certainly Phase 1 – is the missed opportunities with connectivity. For instance, East West Rail is a scheme that is developing the railway line between Oxford and Milton Keynes, with the intention of eventually connecting to Cambridge.

It seems obvious to have a station that connected HS2 and East West Rail, except that idea doesn’t seem to have occurred to HS2 Ltd, even though East West was already in development.  They rejected the possibility of HS2 stations at Bicester and Milton Keynes, on the grounds too many people would use them, and at Aylesbury because too few people would.

Chiltern LibDems describe the problems with HS2 and East-West rail on their website:

“It will cross the forthcoming East West (Oxford to Cambridge) Rail line (EWR) somewhere around Calvert/Charndon near Grendon, in North Buckinghamshire, in the Buckingham constituency.

“HS2 has a large construction depot planned at Calvert, while EWR intends to site a depot a mile or so away at Charndon.

“It is only recently that managers at both the HS2 and EWR projects have begun to talk to each other. However the message seems to be that they cannot combine their two depots in order to minimise disruption during construction.

…The current plan is for an EWR compound to be based on land opposite the Charndon Community Centre, operational for 2.5 years from early 2019 to mid 2021. It would have 200 car park spaces, but no residential accommodation.

According to Mix 96, David Lidington, Conservative MP for Aylesbury, has another suggestion:

David Lidington says the government now wants more capacity – not speed – through the project. So he reckons that should mean the idea for Steeple Claydon – where East West Rail crosses – should be looked at again.

David said:

“To retro-fit a station in ten years time is going to be much more expensive than building one at this stage. What I don’t know is what their figure work is telling them about whether that ends up attracting more commuters to the area and you actually end up overwhelming that capacity….

“It just seems to me that we’ve got two bits of strategic line – surely there should be a junction between them? It would give some benefit to people in the Aylesbury area then.”

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