Next phase of railway flyover demolition involves three of the UK’s largest cranes: Bletchley Flyover sunset May 2020 (1)

Thursday 2 Jul 2020

Next phase of railway flyover demolition involves three of the UK’s largest cranes

Region & Route:
North West & Central

Huge sections of a concrete flyover are being removed in order to build the first direct rail link between Oxford, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury in more than 50 years.

Three of the largest cranes in the UK are working in tandem to lift out sections of ‘Bletchley flyover,’ which was built in the early 1960s to allow trains travelling from West to East to cross over the West Coast main line.

Since April work has been under way to remove concrete spans so the structure can be rebuilt to modern standards as part of the East West Rail project*.

Now the sections above Buckingham Road, the main route in and out of Bletchley, are being lifted out. One crane will be installed on Buckingham Road itself requiring its closure to traffic from 5 July to August 30.

Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West and Central region, said: “The work to remove Bletchley flyover as part of the East West Rail project is a hugely impressive feat of engineering. I thank local people and road-users for their patience as the project moves into this next phase over Buckingham Road.

“East West Rail will transform connectivity and journey times across the heart of the country. The resulting low-carbon transport system will bring huge benefits to passengers and businesses - driving economic growth and creating opportunities for housing and new jobs.” 

Pedestrian access will be maintained by a protected walkway so people can still cross Buckingham Road throughout the work.

At certain times this won’t be available but when the walkway is closed a shuttle bus, running every 15 minutes, will take people between the train station and bus station.

Jeff Booth, project leader for East West Rail Alliance, said: “This work is a vital part of the East West Rail project to re-establish train services between Oxford and Milton Keynes and the road needs to be closed so that we can carry out the work safely. We appreciate that closing the road can be disruptive to motorists and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience this causes. We thank motorists in advance for their patience.”

From 1 September -7 December Buckingham Road will then be partially closed to divert gas, electricity, telecoms, and drainage. 

Traffic lights will be used to manage traffic and diversions will be in place.

When the road needs to be closed entirely a full diversionary route will be signposted for motorists.

Notes to Editors

*East West Rail is an ambitious project which will connect communities between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge with fast, affordable, environmentally sustainable transport, creating new opportunities for jobs and supporting the economic future of people across the region.

Once complete, phase 2 of East West Rail would connect communities and businesses between Oxford and Bedford, and Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, with:

  • Two trains per hour each way between Oxford and Milton Keynes
  • One train per hour each way between Oxford and Bedford
  • One train per hour each way between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury

The new railway will also connect the Great Western main line, Chiltern main line, West Coast main line and Midland main line - providing passengers with much-improved cross-country rail links from East to West.

This would help create jobs, boost economic growth, encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport and enable sustainable housing development for generations to come.

East West Rail phases explained

The East West Rail project is planned to be built progressively in phases, and once constructed would create a world-class rail link connecting Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge.

East West Rail phase 2 is part of the wider East West Rail proposal to connect Cambridge to Oxford.

The Western Section (phase 1), which operates services between Oxford and Bicester was completed in December 2016. The Western Section (phase 2) proposes to extend services from Oxford to Bedford and Milton Keynes to Aylesbury. 

The Central Section (phase 3) would see the full reconnection from Cambridge to Oxford, and the proposal is currently in development.

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