Bedford to Cambridge: The Preferred Route Option

Linking existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy, south of St. Neots, this route was the favourite among people who responded to our consultation on route options. It also provides the most benefits for every £ of taxpayers’ money spent.



Why is this the preferred route option?

  • It delivers the best value for the taxpayer, returning the most benefit for every pound spent
  • It was the most popular option with people who responded to our consultation
  • It would deliver the best opportunities for the environment

The decision was firmly rooted in feedback and observations we received from local communities in the non-statutory public consultation we held in early 2019. We are incredibly grateful to the 7000 people who gave their time and expertise to respond: a full analysis of the feedback received is available below. 

More information about the route, the reasons why it was chosen, and answers to many key questions about the project can be found in the two documents below. Full, detailed reports are available at the bottom of the page.


What happens in the next few months? 

Having announced the Preferred Route Option, we will continue to talk with local communities and local authorities, both informally and through formal consultation, to develop a specific route alignment, so we can begin the process of applying for planning consent.

  • We held a number of community events and spoke with hundreds of members of the public.
  • We will also begin environmental surveys in the area around the Preferred Route Option, to help us create the right alignment, and from February onward will be contacting local landowners to arrange access for these surveys. Visit our Land and Property page.
  • Later in the year, we will launch a community hub on our website, to provide more ways for you to talk to the team and access information.


When are the community events? 

In light of the Government advice given on Monday 15 March 2020, to avoid all non-essential social contact, the final six in a series of fourteen events planned for the Bedford-Cambridge section of East West Rail will be put on hold, with the intention of re-booking them later in the year as the situation allows.
The team is extremely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to visit one of the events already, to share views or ask questions about the project. We know there will be many people still keen to speak to the team. Please rest assured that all other methods of communication remain open, and we’d love to stay in touch. 
Over the coming days and weeks, we will be contacting your representatives – Parish Councillors, Ward Councillors, MPs and Local Authorities – and will talk with them about the best ways to stay in touch and keep talking during this unprecedented situation.

What do people living and working in the Preferred Route Area need to know?

At present, we are still working to develop the precise alignment that the railway will take within the Preferred Route Option. Crucially, before the Route Alignment is chosen, there will be more opportunities for you to comment on the plans and we will continue to use feedback from communities as part of our decision-making process throughout the life of the project.

Our aim is to avoid adverse effects in residential areas and existing communities, and as the project and our design progresses, we will discuss the evolving detail with individual landowners and occupiers directly.

We will be undertaking environmental surveys in the area around the Preferred Route Option, to help us choose the right alignment, and from February onward will be contacting local landowners to arrange access for these surveys. 

Legal safeguards are already in place for people impacted by projects like ours, and we will also publish our own detailed policies before the statutory consultation.

We will work hard to earn the trust of anyone who might be impacted by the railway, and will be transparent and clear at every stage.

Our commitment to landowners and occupiers (PDF - 500KB)


Gathering environmental data

We will soon start to gather information and conduct surveys on the land to get a thorough picture of land ownership, land use, environmental conditions, historical features and geological conditions that could affect the design, construction or operation of the railway.

A full explanation of the kind of surveys we are undertaking and the methods we use is included on our Access to Land and Property page, along with key documents we recently sent to landowners and occupiers. 


What's the route to construction? 

The project will move through a number of stages before we can secure the necessary consents and funding approvals to start constructing your new railway. At every step, we hope you and your community will get involved and talk to us so we can deliver the right connections for you. 

 Bedford to Cambridge: the route to construction (PDF - 61KB)


Find out more

We have published detailed reports on how we chose the Preferred Route Option and a full account of the public consultation we held in 2019, along with a number of helpful documents explaining our commitments to impacted landowners, our approach to the environment and our approach to procurement. You'll find links to all these documents below. 

If you'd like copies of any of our documents, you can download them directly using the links below, or if you get in touch using the methods listed at the bottom of the page, we can pop hard-copies in the post to you. 


Get in touch

Whether you’d like to share your ideas on East West Rail, ask a question or just find more information on the recent announcement, we’d love to hear from you:

  • Email us at [email protected]
  • Send us a letter to Freepost EAST WEST RAIL 
  • Call us on 0330 1340067  
  • Send us a message online at
  • Chat to us at community events we'll be hosting throughout the year 

You can also sign up to our newsletter so you’re always kept up to date.