Going East: The Story of East-West Rail and the Oxford-Cambridge Line (Amberley)

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The history of the railway route from Oxford to Cambridge, from its beginnings through partial closure, to the present day plans to reopen it as an East-West line.

The railway route between Oxford and Cambridge – nicknamed the Varsity Line – was opened in stages in the nineteenth century. Running roughly east to west, it crossed several major trunk routes linking London with the North and Midlands, and became part of the LMS in the 1923 Railway Grouping. Its strategic value was recognised during the Second World War as it allowed freight traffic to avoid London and several new connections to the line were built. Despite post-war plans to develop the line further, parts of the line were closed by BR in the 1960s.

Since then, rising demand on the railways in general and recognition of the value of this through route have resulted in sections being reopened and a new company, East West Rail, has been founded to re-establish the entire line by 2030, linking Oxford, Bicester, Bletchley/Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge. This book surveys the history of this route and its operations, and looks at the campaign and plans to open it again, analysing both the benefits and downsides of such a large rail project today. 96 pages.

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