A Pictorial Journey along the East West Rail Route

A healthy attendance of 65 on Zoom enjoyed a fascinating evening travelling along the route of the East West rail link from Bletchley to Bicester in the company of Milton Keynes Branch committee member Clive Pepper. Clive has been following the developments of East West Rail for a number of years documenting its construction since 2020.


Our journey started at Bletchley, which has seen considerable change to the railway scene. Not least has been the demolition and subsequent rebuilding of the flyover south of the station, now supported on a ‘covered way’ as it crosses the West Coast Main Line. New High Level platforms have been provided at Bletchley which will serve the East West Rail line.


The line beyond Bletchley to Bicester was closed in 1993, the final train – ‘The Mothballer’ hauled by 56046 running on 29th May. Since, only a short stub to near Swanbourne was open to engineering trains and the occasional charter services.


During the evening Clive stopped us at each of the former intermediate stations to Bicester. These were helpfully illustrated with maps showing their location along the route and ‘before’ and ‘now’ photographs showing the considerable engineering to rebuild the railway. With the exception of Winlsow none are to reopen with East West Rail. Perhaps one of the most remarkable former stations is Verney Junction, literally built in the middle of a field, but once the terminus of the Metropolitan line and an important four-way railway junction. The station site has now been cleared, and this will be a section of high-speed two track railway between Bletchley and Oxford.


At Claydon major work has taken place for the intersection with HS2, a construction compound for the latter will be linked to the East West Rail line. Views from 2016 of the area are almost impossible to recognise with a similar view in 2022 such is the scale of transformation of this part of rural Buckinghamshire. Clive pointed out that whilst during construction the impact on the surrounding environment was considerable, the surrounding land is returned to the condition it was in before.


This was a fascinating evening and interesting to see a new railway in our Branch’s are being built. We hope Clive will bring us further updates as East West Rail nears completion.