A new bridge that will carry direct rail services between Oxford and Cambridge has been lifted into position over the route of HS2.

An enormous 600 tonne crane lifted the new bridge into position north of Aylesbury.

The bridge deck - which weighs the same as 25 double decker buses - will carry East West Rail services and the controversial high speed rail line which will run between London, Birmingham and the North will run underneath.

East West Rail co-chief executive Beth West said: “Local communities are now one step closer to enjoying the benefits of a new faster, more sustainable and affordable way to travel between all the communities from Oxford to Cambridge – and on across the country.

"East West Rail will connect thousands of people to jobs, families and friends with a reliable and safe service.

"The bridge installation over the Calvert cutting is a really important milestone in bringing EWR to life."

READ MORE: HS2 boss hails ‘immense progress’

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt backed the £5billion East-West Rail project in his Autumn Statement after cuts to the scheme had been suggested.


Bicester Advertiser:

Services on the route will be introduced in stages, the first being between Oxford and Milton Keynes which includes a new station being built in Bletchley.

The first section to upgrade the railway between Oxford and Bicester was completed in 2016.

Stage two involves predominantly upgrading existing infrastructure, between Bletchley and Bedford, to allow services between Oxford and Bedford.

Stage three involves building a new line, between Bedford and Cambridge, to extend the railway and facilitate services from Oxford to Cambridge.

Ms West said: “The Government recently recommitted to East West Rail and construction of the stretch of railway between Bicester and Bletchley is being delivered as planned – both on time and on budget with passenger services between Oxford and Bletchley set to be operational from 2025.”

Alongside the bridge, HS2 is also delivering 650,000 cubic metres of earthworks, two smaller road bridges and a footbridge for East West Rail in the Calvert area.

The first section of earthworks was handed over to East West Rail a few weeks ago.

The last two sections of the East-West rail project from Bletchley to Bedford and from Bedford to Cambridge still require planning permission.

Bicester Advertiser:

Campaigners in various locations along the proposed route have voiced concerns about the impact the line would have.

Campaign group Cambridge Approaches has said: "Thousands of south Cambridgeshire residents living along the proposed 100mph (161km/h) mainline route are affected by the proposals, which will have a massive and negative impact, with no benefits."

Residents in Bedfordshire said the line would cut through homes and businesses in the Bedford Poets' area.

The East-West Rail Company previously said the rail link would provide a £1.1bn boost to the economy.



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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda.Norris@newsquest.co.uk. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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