PLANS to reopen the East West Rail link from Oxford to Bedford via Bicester have taken a step forward.

A Joint Delivery Board has been set up to oversee the project to bring a mothballed section of track back into use.

Passenger trains would run from Reading to Bedford via Oxford, Bicester Town station and Milton Keynes, and London Marylebone to Milton Keynes.

The board includes representatives from the East West Rail Consortium, a group of eight local authorities along the route, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.

Last year the Government agreed to back the reopening of the line. Under the plans ten miles of the closed East West Railway will be re-opened and electrified.

Board chairman Peter Hardy, a Buckinghamshire county councillor, said: “The economic, social and environmental benefits of this railway are considerable. It will enable more journeys by rail – that are fast, clean and efficient – and provide a real alternative to our congested roads.

“This in turn will make the region more attractive to businesses.”

The line is expected to start operating from December 2017.