Status: early planning
Bedford to Cambridge
East West Rail is a valuable rail infrastructure project for the region. It aims to deliver vital transport connections for communities between Oxford and Cambridge, providing people with faster journeys and more affordable travel. Connecting them to the things that matter most.
Unlike the other sections, Bedford and Cambridge will follow a completely new route.
We asked for initial public feedback on five initial route options in early 2019. As a result of the feedback, a preferred route option was identified. It travels from Bedford to Cambridge via Sandy/St Neots and Cambourne – both of which are proposed to receive brand new stations.
We’re now refining plans on exactly where the line could be situated, and we’ll be seeking further public feedback on these options during a public consultation in 2021.
New stations and services
Brand new stations will be built at Cambourne and between Sandy/St Neots, along with a rebuilt Bedford station. Proving vital connectivity for local communities.
Cheaper and easier travel
With new services and stations, we aim to make travel quicker and cheaper for all.
Jobs and growth
By connecting science parks, universities and industry, we’ll provide access to new opportunities.
Why is this the preferred route option?
We consulted on five route options between Bedford and Cambridge in 2019. Seven thousand people contributed their feedback and expertise, and a full report is available here.
After the consultation, we announced a preferred route option between Bedford and Cambridge, which will travel via Cambourne and the Sandy/St Neots area. This route option was the most popular option and provides the best value for money and the best environmental outcomes.
We are currently identifying potential routes for where rail line might go between Bedford and Cambridge, which we will consult on in 2021.
Following this, we will refine our plans and will take into account your feedback, before we share our final proposals with the public and then the Planning Inspectorate. They will then consider our proposals before a decision is made on whether to approve them. For a timeline of our journey from planning to construction, please explore our fact sheet about the route to construction.
DocumentFile Type & Size
The Preferred Route Option Between Bedford and Cambridge: Executive SummaryPDF - 1.5MB
East West Rail: Your Questions AnsweredPDF - 1.8MB
Our Commitment to Landowners and OccupiersPDF - 350KB
Our Approach to the EnvironmentPDF - 182KB
Our Procurement PolicyPDF - 172KB
Bedford to Cambridge: The Route to ConstructionPDF - 59KB
The Preferred Route Option ReportPDF - 5.2MB
2019 Bedford to Cambridge Route Option Consultation Public Feedback ReportPDF - 3.6MB
2019 Bedford to Cambridge Route Option Consultation Public Feedback Report: Appendix 1-10PDF - 4.8MB
2019 Bedford to Cambridge Route Option Consultation Public Feedback Report: Appendix 11PDF - 4.3MB
2019 Bedford to Cambridge Route Option Consultation Feedback Report: Appendix 12PDF - 1.1MB
Environmental surveys in your area
We're currently undertaking detailed environmental surveys between Bletchley and Cambridge to help inform planning and design work.
The surveys will be carried out throughout 2021 and will gather vital data on plant and animal life, environmental features like rivers and streams and historical features. This activity is part of our continued commitment to put environmental considerations at the heart of proposals for the new East West Rail connection.
For more information about the surveys, please visit our dedicated land page.Learn more
Services will be introduced in three connection stages
We’ve designed the delivery of this project with the community in mind. Ensuring minimal disruption, while making sure the services are reliable from the start. All to provide the best value for the taxpayer.
To achieve this, we will be introducing services in three connection stages. Read more about them below, or watch our helpful video.Watch now
Following confirmation of funding in the 2020 Spending Review, we’re now starting construction of the section between Bicester and Bletchley, delivered through the East West Rail Alliance. This will allow us to run trains from Oxford to Milton Keynes by 2025 (Connection Stage 1).
Delivering a reliable service for passengers is our top priority, and we are working with government to deliver the full Oxford-Milton Keynes connection from day one. We may though need to introduce the service to Bletchley first, and then extend to Milton Keynes as soon as we are satisfied it will be reliable for our customers.
Upgrades to Bletchley station have already begun, and a brand-new station will be built for communities at Winslow.
We are also working on a costed plan to run a reliable service from Aylesbury, so we can make the best possible case for Government to confirm that upgrade too.
After the Oxford to Bletchley/Milton Keynes connection is delivered, the next stage of East West Rail will see trains run from Oxford all the way to Bedford. Bedford station will be completely remodelled to support this.
The existing train line between Bletchley and Bedford will also need a significant upgrade, both to enable trains to reach Bedford, and so that trains can eventually run all the way to Cambridge
We are looking at different options to do this while minimising disruption. We will bring these options to the community through a consultation in early 2021.
After the Oxford to Bedford Connection is delivered, in the final stage of East West Rail services will run all the way from Oxford through to Cambridge, via Bedford.
We will be presenting options for the section between Bedford and Cambridge in a public consultation early in 2021.
Following consultation we will work with Government to unlock the next stage of funding to progress the project.
At East West Railway Company our role is to oversee construction of the project between Oxford and Bletchley - which is now underway. We're also designing the section of railway between Bletchley and Cambridge.Learn more
In 2019 we held a non-statutory public consultation, talking with people living and working across the Bedford to Cambridge route corridor about five potential route options.Learn more