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Growth Board receives update on Oxford/Didcot electrification

The electrification of the rail line between Didcot and Oxford remains a possibility according to the Department for Transport.

Councillor Emily Smith, Chair of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, wrote to the Transport Minister seeking commitment to East-West Rail.

In the letter, Cllr Smith explained how the Government’s pledge to invest in East West Rail was a critical step boosting in Oxfordshire’s connectivity – a cornerstone of the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision.

The letter also set out the Board’s hope that the necessary financial commitment for the remainder of the East West Rail route, together with its integration with the north-south routes that it crosses, will be made as soon as possible.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister for Rail, replied and confirmed the Government’s commitment to decarbonisation of the railway as part of its wider commitment to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The MP revealed diesel trains may initially be used as an interim measure between Oxford and Bedford as part of East West Rail’s Connection Stages 1 and 2.

He confirmed a review is being undertaken by East West Rail Company, which is looking at options including full electrification along the whole route as well as partial electrification using battery/electric hybrid rolling stock, and other sustainable rolling stock options.

Mr Heaton-Harris added the electrification of the line between Didcot and Oxford was still a potential scheme, but that any future decision would be subject to a satisfactory business case offering value for money for the taxpayer.

You can read the full response here.

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