Out and about talking East West Rail

Portrait shot of Gail Buckland EWR Community Engagement Manager

Hi there – my name’s Gail and I’m the Community Manager here at East West Railway Company. This summer we’ve been out and about hosting a series of public drop-in events which started back in Bedfordshire on the 18th May. 

Since then, we’ve spoken with around 1500 people in 10 different locations across the proposed route including Oxford, Bedford, Lidlington and Cambourne to name a few. Despite no new information being available at this stage, lots of people came down to talk with our team about proposals. Given that not everyone is online, it was great to be back in the room as soon as possible after Covid restrictions lifted earlier in the year.

We know that many people are waiting for an update on the project, and we’d hoped to give an update earlier in the year. However, announcements for projects like EWR need proper scrutiny from central government before they can be made. With the evolving situation in Government over the past few months, this process has not been straightforward. The team will work with new ministers and officials, giving them the most up to date information we have so they can make the right decisions about EWR, and we’ll update the public as soon as we can.

In the meantime, the drop-in events have provided an opportunity for communities to ask questions and help us all get to know each other a bit better. On a personal level, it’s given me a greater understanding of how best to stay in touch with the people EWR will serve. Following conversations during these events, we’ve already started looking at alternative ways of communicating based on feedback, as well as how we can deliver these events and present the information available in the most suitable way for our communities moving forward.

It's been a real pleasure talking with people in the communities and finding out what excites people about the project, as well as learning more about what might be worrying some. I’d encourage anyone wanting to learn about EWR to visit our website where you can find lots of information about the project, stay up to speed by signing up for our newsletter, plus the Community Hub which will keep you updated on future events.

If you managed to make it along to one of our drop-in events, a huge thank you and it was great to meet you. We’d love to hear what you thought by completing this short survey.

If we didn’t get a chance to catch up this time, then I look forward to meeting you at an event down the line.