A COUNCILLOR has been elected to a role overseeing one of the most important rail developments Oxfordshire and its neighbouring counties have seen in decades.

County councillor Rodney Rose, the deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council, has been elected as the chairman of the delivery board for East-West Rail, a project that will link Oxford’s rail network to Milton Keynes and Bedford.

This work will involve the upgrading of existing lines and reinstating the railway line on former track bed as far as Bletchley. The line is also be electrified between Oxford and Bedford.

Mr Rose said: “I have been a long-standing advocate and enthusiast for this project. It is many years since any new rail developments occurred in Oxfordshire or in our neighbouring areas.

“The trend, until relatively recent years, has been for railway lines to close rather than open.

“I had already been working as deputy chairman for the joint delivery board, which is made up of councillors from the areas that will benefit from this project, working alongside Network Rail and the Department for Transport.

“We’re all committed to a lot of hard work to get this project completed.”

It is hoped that the East-West Rail scheme will be extended as far as Cambridge but the first phase is already under way, with work started on Chiltern’s Evergreen 3 project.

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