13 MARCH 2019

PUBLIC THANKED FOR THEIR RESPONSE TO BEDFORD-CAMBRIDGE RAIL LINK CONSULTATION

  • The East West Railway Company’s initial non-statutory consultation on five route options to link Bedford and Cambridge closed at midnight
  • More than 3,500 people attended eight events over the six-week consultation
  • Thousands of pieces of feedback were submitted
  • East West Railway Company will publish a feedback report and announce a preferred route option later this year

The non-statutory first stage of consultation on ambitious proposals for a new Bedford to Cambridge rail link has closed after high levels of interest.

Thousands of people attended a busy series of events and submitted valuable feedback, helping East West Railway Company to consider five different route options for connecting Bedford to Cambridge.

Simon Blanchflower, East West Rail Company’s Chief Executive said: “We are hugely encouraged by the level of interest people have shown in the project and thank everybody who took the time to attend our events or got in touch over the course of the consultation. The team will now be looking at all the comments we’ve received and working with partners and the government as we narrow down to a preferred route option. Bedford, Cambridge and the communities in between need the right kind of infrastructure to support them and the insight we have received from local people will help us to deliver that.”

A preferred route option will be announced later this year following which, work to design a precise route alignment will begin.

The link has the potential to reduce journey times and transport costs for thousands of people across the area, as well as supporting housing growth and boosting the local economy.

The full East West Rail route from Oxford to Cambridge is expected to be complete in the mid-2020s, helping deliver infrastructure to meet the ambitions for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Of the five route options offered for consultation, three take a broadly southerly route through South Cambridgeshire via Bassingbourn and two take a broadly northerly route via Cambourne.  

The East West Railway Company will keep people updated on the project and its website eastwestrail.co.uk will be updated at key stages, including the preferred route option announcement.  Notices will also be sent to local media.

The consultation follows early work to develop the project by local councils, Network Rail and the Department for Transport – backed by the National Infrastructure Commission. 

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

  • Route option: the five areas on which East West Railway Company has consulted, through which the line could run: these are several kilometers wide in places.
  • Route alignment: the exact route on which the line would run within a route option. We will develop a preferred route alignment following the selection of a route option.
  • East West Rail is creating a new direct connection between Oxford, Cambridge and beyond. Once complete it will be a world class rail line connecting Oxford, Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Cambridge, and communities in between. The section between Oxford and Bicester was completed in 2016 and enabling work has been completed on the section between Bicester and Bedford.
  • The line will deliver much needed connectivity to unlock the economic potential of this corridor - supporting new jobs and communities, as well as reducing journey times and travel costs for residents and commuters.
  • The East West Railway Company was set up by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2017, with the ambitious remit to accelerate delivery of rail infrastructure and passenger services between Oxford and Cambridge.
  • The project supports Government’s proposals for delivering growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, which includes unlocking land for new homes and jobs, as well as linking into north-south rail routes.
  • The project would also work to achieve the aims of the government’s 25-year environment plan.
  • The consultation opened on 28 January and closed on 11 March.
  • Following this non-statutory consultation, EWR will develop a detailed route alignment. There will be a formal, statutory stage of consultation on this route alignment. This is planned for 2021.
  • Consultation material can still be downloaded from www.eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay for reference.