Electrification could yet be on the agenda for East West Rail, after Government ministers confirmed that the decision not to wire the reopened railway could be reversed.
The announcement was made in the same week as the EWR Consortium revealed it was looking to lease second-hand diesel multiple units, in order to start running trains between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Aylesbury.
Baroness Vere confirmed in a Lords Written Reply on March 11 that “electrification is being reconsidered after previously being descoped to reduce capital costs”. As a minimum, there will be passive provision provided in construction so that overhead line electrification could be erected, she added.
Meanwhile, East West Railway Company has issued an Invitation to Tender in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), for a train fleet.
In a statement, EWR Co said that this prioritises getting passenger services up and running as quickly as possible while creating time to explore a wider range of green technology. It also said it would allow for a smoother transition to electrification across the whole EWR line from Oxford to Cambridge.
The ITT requires a fleet of 12 or 14 three-car units with European Train Control System Level 2 and Driver Controlled Operation capability. There needs to be a full maintenance package included.
The lease is for four years with an option to extend for two years. Trains are due to be running to Bedford by the end of 2024. The deal is worth some £40 million and is due to end on May 10 2028.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 901, published on March 25, and available digitally from March 21.