COLUMNIST: Rail cash would put Vale on track for the 21st century

b11-715 Opening of new Specsavers store Bedford Town Centre.  JE wk 25''Local celebrity  Ben Raza  opens new Specsavers. ENGPNL00120110620154447
b11-715 Opening of new Specsavers store Bedford Town Centre. JE wk 25''Local celebrity Ben Raza opens new Specsavers. ENGPNL00120110620154447
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Sometimes it’s all in the delivery.

For example, not everyone is interested in trains, the history of the railways, long-term strategic planning for our... Yup, I’ve lost you 
already, haven’t I?

Whereas ‘Major threat to multi-million pound scheme which will bring new jobs and cash to Aylesbury’? That sound a little more exciting.

Which is exactly where we are with the East-West Rail link. This long-awaited scheme could be delayed - by up to seven years in some parts. And that is bad news, even if you don’t have any interest in trains.

I was born and raised in Aylesbury. Then I moved away – and now I’ve moved back. Living here again, one of the things which always strikes me is that we don’t have as good a rail network as anywhere else I’ve lived in the 
intervening years.

Even when you compare it with other towns in our
 local area, Aylesbury seems like a poor relation.

Leighton Buzzard seems to have faster trains to 
London.

Bedford has better links across the country.

And Milton Keynes is simply a 21st century rail hub.

That’s three towns in our local area which Aylesbury has to compete with for jobs and investment. And in my opinion, when it comes to our railways, we don’t compete with any of those places.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s the official numbers on what that sort of investment in the East-West Rail scheme would mean.

A £73million boost to the economy? Check.

Tax revenue up by £34million? Check.

Up to 12,000 new jobs? Check.

A new station which will link the town of Winslow to the national rail network? Check.

Relief for our over-used roads as more people can travel to and from Aylesbury by public transport? Check.

So here’s the bald facts. Aylesbury can’t wait around for East-West Rail to happen. County chiefs are already lobbying the government to protest at any delays to the scheme, and they need all our support.

Aylesbury needs that investment. This is one rail delay we do not want to see.