28 JANUARY 2019

Consultation underway on new rail line between Bedford and Cambridge: Residents urged to have their say

  • The East West Railway Company today revealed five route options for the new rail line between Bedford and Cambridge
  • All five route options reduce travel times in the area and support the potential for housing growth
  • The ambitious new line will reduce travel costs and create new connections for thousands of people
  • The consultation runs for six weeks from Monday 28 January to Monday 11 March

Ambitious plans for a new rail line between Bedford and Cambridge come one step closer to fruition today, as the East West Railway Company reveal five route options and ask the public to have their say.

 The new line will create a direct connection between Bedford and Cambridge, unlocking a wealth of benefits for communities along the route. It 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.  It is expected to be built by the mid-2020s, marking the completion of the link between Oxford to Cambridge and the next phase of the East West Rail link.

Of the five options offered for consultation, three take a broadly southern route through South Cambridgeshire via Bassingbourn and two take a broadly northern route via Cambourne. The consultation also reveals options for potential new stations in Cambourne, St Neots, Sandy, Tempsford and Bassingbourn.

Simon Blanchflower, East West Rail Company’s Chief Executive said:

“Bedford, Cambridge and the communities in between need the right kind of infrastructure to support them. We’re hoping that residents will give use feedback on these route options to help us understand more about the priorities of the people this line will serve.

“We’d like as many people as possible to give us their views and are grateful to everyone who takes the time to help us as we design this crucial piece of infrastructure for the area.”

 Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“The launch of this consultation marks a significant milestone in bringing this project to fruition.

East West Rail will transform journeys in one of Europe’s most vibrant economic regions, providing passengers and businesses with the transport system they deserve while unlocking the area's economic potential.”

Councillor Mark Shaw, Chairman of the East West Rail Consortium, said:

“This announcement shows the real progress being made in getting trains operating between Oxford and Cambridge at the earliest opportunity. It’s crucial that people now give their views on the proposals so that the best possible route can be taken forward.”

 The East West Railway Company is inviting members of the public to find out more about these options, by downloading the consultation documents from their website (eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay) or dropping into one of the eight public events being held over the six week consultation period.

Documents will all be made available on the East West Railways Company’s website and a consultation helpline will run throughout the consultation. Feedback can be submitted through the website, via the freepost address EASTWESTRAIL, and in person at one of the consultation events.

This 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:

  • 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 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 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 project is part of the Government’s proposals for delivering growth in the Oxford to 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 website www.eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay will be live from 08:00 on Monday 28th January. It includes downloadable consultation materials and an online feedback form.
  • The consultation opens on 28th January and closes on 11th 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.
  • The development is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, so final application for consent would be submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) rather than local councils.

The consultation events will be held as follows:

St Neots: Monday 11 February, 3:30pm - 7:30pm

The Priory Centre, Priory Lane, St Neots PE19 2BH

Bedford: Friday 15 February, 3.30pm – 7.30pm

Scott Hall, Barford Avenue, Bedford MK42 0DS

Bassingbourn: Saturday 16 February, 10am – 2pm

Bassingbourn Community Primary School, Brook Road, Bassingbourn SG8 5NP

Potton: Tuesday 19 February3.30pm – 7.30pm

Potton and District Club34 Station Road, Potton, Sandy SG19 2PZ

Cambridge: Friday 22 February, 3.30pm – 7.30pm

The University Centre, Granta Place, Cambridge CB2 1RU

Orwell: Tuesday 26 February, 2pm – 6pm

Orwell Village Hall, 32-66 High St, Orwell, Royston SG8 5QN

Sandy: Friday 1 March, 3:30pm – 7:30pm

Sandy Village Hall, Medusa Way, Sandy SG19 1BN 

Cambourne: Saturday 2 March, 10:00pm – 2:00pm

Belfrey, Back Lane, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6BW

 

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