News: Bedford to Cambridge Preferred Route Option Announced
On 30 January 2020 we announced the preferred route option between Bedford and Cambridge. The preferred route option will link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy, south of St Neots.
East West Rail: making meaningful connections
East West Rail is creating a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge, and beyond. Serving communities across the area, it will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads.
Improving everyday journeys makes the biggest difference. We're making it easier for you to get from home to work or wherever else life takes you.
Our mission at the East West Railway Company, is to deliver all of this safely, quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.
Benefits at a glance
Faster and cheaper journeys
East West Rail will provide a quicker, cheaper and more reliable alternative to the current transport options. Find out more about the route.
A boost for the local economy
New connections will make the area more commutable, which will open up new job opportunities, support local business and help the economy to grow.
While the line is being built, there will be jobs and contracts supporting our planning and delivery - and when that's all done there will be jobs operating the railway too. Read more about job opportunities.
Improved access to housing
By improving travel locally and across the UK, East West Rail will make it easier to live closer to work and support the creation of new communities. Read more about the benefits.
A new and innovative delivery model
At East West Railway Company, our role is to oversee and accelerate delivery of East West Rail. We've been set up to innovate and challenge the status-quo, leading to quicker and more cost-effective project delivery, and an improved experience for passengers and the communities we serve.
We're working closely with Network Rail and the East West Rail Alliance to deliver the Western Section between Oxford and Bedford, while leading the development of the Central section between Bedford and Cambridge.
A realistic timeline for delivery
The connection between Oxford and Cambridge is expected to be complete mid 2020s, when construction of the Central Section is planned to finish and trains will run directly between Oxford and Cambridge. This follows the expected completion of the Western Section, with the first services expected to start running by the end of 2023.
These dates have been agreed between the East West Railway Company and the Department for Transport, but we are doing everything we can to safely accelerate planning and construction timelines to bring new services online sooner.
If, as the project progresses, it becomes necessary to change our delivery dates we will publish changes here. Alternatively, if you'd like regular updates, scroll down and sign up to our newsletter.
Delivery is underway
East West Rail is being built in phases, which will allow services to start running sooner. Once complete it will create a world class rail link connecting Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, and communities in between.
Oxford to Bicester
Western Section Phase 1
Completed on 12 December 2016, Phase 1 of the Western Section involved a double-track upgrade between Oxford and Bicester Village to enable future East West Rail services.
The upgrade also allowed for Chiltern Railways to begin running services from Oxford through to London via Bicester.
Bicester to Bedford
Western Section Phase 2
East West Rail Phase 2 reinstates and upgrades railway lines to enable new train services to run between Oxford and Milton Keynes, between Oxford and Bedford and between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury.
It also involves creating a new station at Winslow, building two new platforms at Bletchley, installing 8 new over-bridges, 22 new footbridges or subways, and making changes to 97 railway crossings.
Some enabling work has already been completed, and major work will begin in late 2019, with the first of these services to be introduced from the end of 2023
Bedford to Cambridge
We're developing options for the Preferred Route Alignment of this section, which will link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy, south of St Neots. Once these options are sufficiently advanced, we'll present them as part of a second non-statutory consultation, which follows on from our first public consultation in 2019.