Defunct 'Varsity Line' between Oxford, Cambridge to resume direct rail service

Updated 2017-12-15 13:33:13 Xinhua

A direct rail link between the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge took a step closer fruition Thursday after British Transport Secretary Chris Grayling officially launched a company that will restore a line closed for 50 years.

The East West Railway Company will oversee the restoration of the once famous Varsity Line between the two iconic academic powerhouses.

Grayling performed the launch ceremony at the historic Bletchley Park, the central location for British secret codebreakers during World War II where British computer scientist Alan Turing famously cracked the hyper difficult Enigma code used by Germany.

Grayling also visited nearby Bletchley Station and Bletchley Viaduct, which will be re-opened as part of the new route.

Bletchley Park, a key stop on the old Varsity Line, is at the heart of the East West Rail line as it sits halfway between Oxford and Cambridge.

"We are making the biggest investment in the railways since Victorian times to meet the growing demand for rail travel, while also boosting business and increasing productivity," Grayling said. "East West Rail is the perfect example of how we can revitalize the railways, grow the network and unlock jobs and housing growth."

"And Bletchley Park, the home of World War II codebreakers, is the perfect location to mark the historic occasion, because the line will be key to the development of this corridor as a world-class center for innovation, technology and high-skilled jobs," he added.

The East West Rail is anticipated to be one of the most strategically important rail projects, speeding up travel to Cambridge's Science Park and helping develop the region as Britain's own "Silicon Valley" when it is completed in the mid-2020s.

The line will have interchange stations with four main railway lines radiating out of London to ease congestion.

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