How East West Rail would benefit Cambridge

Home to an internationally renowned life sciences cluster, as well as leading robotics and fintech companies, Cambridge is a powerhouse of innovation, bringing prosperity to the area and the UK.  But, it’s being held back by constrained growth. EWR would provide better connectivity and ease the pressure on the city, helping Cambridge grow in a way that benefits everyone. It would open up more options for lab and office space, generate local jobs and open up access to homes.   

The new line would make it easier for people to get around the Cambridge area, travel across the region and access the rest of the UK with faster, greener journeys. 

    East West Rail would help reduce car dependency and congestion, unclogging roads, making it faster and easier to get around locally.   

    The railway would also serve Cambridge Biomedical Campus and Addenbrooke's Hospital, better connecting the existing 17,000-strong community of healthcare professionals and research scientists.

    Forecasts predict Cambridge could create 80,000 new jobs by 2050, but this growth is constrained because of the existing transport network. Not only does it limit local growth and opportunities, it also limits how far economic benefits can spread.   

    New direct commuter connections to Bedford, Milton Keynes and Oxford would support prosperity for all within the Cambridge area, stimulating jobs and opportunities at all levels.     

    Connecting employment hubs and communities, EWR has calculated that, if Cambridge’s employment potential is realised, a total of £4bn-5bn GVA per annum could be generated every year by 2050 – that’s over 50% more than its current economic contribution. Our goal is to foster inclusive economic growth, giving communities improved access to education, skills and opportunities at a local and national level.

    A new railway would take cars off the road, reducing emissions with journeys that are better for the environment. This would make roads safer as well as improve local air quality. Compared to a car journey, travelling by train can reduce emissions by up to two thirds and our ambition is to be a net zero carbon railway while delivering a 10% boost to biodiversity.   

    We are committed to protecting Cambridge’s much-loved landscapes and wildlife, with our greener for the environment one of our key priorities. 

    House prices in Cambridge are over 13 times the national average. With new, faster commuter journeys, and entirely new stations at Cambourne and Tempsford, EWR would improve connectivity to nearby areas, making it easier for people working in Cambridge and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus to live in more affordable locations along the line.

    Cambourne would be just a 15-minute train journey away, Bedford could be reached in 35 minutes, and other surrounding towns would also benefit. 

    Oxford and Cambridge are bursting at the seams. Connecting them with the fast-growing and less constrained towns and cities in between, like Milton Keynes and Bedford, will make places more appealing for people wanting to start and grow all types of businesses. It will help attract and retain the best talent in the region and bring businesses closer to their supply chains, research sectors, competitors and other sectors, creating wealth and jobs for an area of nearly 4 million people. 

Proposed Need to Sell Property Scheme

We understand our plans may affect people’s homes and businesses, so we’re supporting them through our new Proposed Need to Sell Property Scheme. This will help property owners who have a compelling reason to sell but are only able to do so at a substantially lower value due to the EWR Project. Eligible owners can apply for their property to be purchased at its unaffected market value.

Find out more here.
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What's happening in this area?

Building a new rail link between Oxford and Cambridge would bring faster and better long-term connectivity across the region. It would open up new journeys, cut travel times, ease congestion on local roads and bring more jobs within reach of local people.

Proposals

    Following feedback, we’re looking at ways we can reduce the need for, or the height of, embankments and viaducts through South Cambridgeshire and have identified potential opportunities which will be presented in our statutory consultation.

    Since the 2021 consultation, we’ve looked again at our proposals for both the northern and southern approaches to Cambridge. Even with considerable improvements to the northern approach – including around cost and environmental impact – our analyses shows that a southern approach is preferred. This video explains why a southern approach to Cambridge is preferred.

    It serves the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which is an unparalleled centre for life sciences of global importance and is home to Addenbrooke's Hospital. Our work found a southern approach is more likely to unlock the region’s potential for transformational economic growth and create jobs, attract investment and support the UK economic recovery.

    Oxford and Cambridge are bursting at the seams. Connecting them with the fast-growing and less constrained towns and cities in between, like Milton Keynes and Bedford, will make places more appealing for people wanting to start and grow all types of businesses. It will help attract and retain the best talent in the region and bring businesses closer to their supply chains, research sectors, competitors and other sectors, creating wealth and jobs for an area of over 3.8m people.

Videos

East West Rail - Borders Rail Case Study
East West Rail - See how EWR would make it easier to get out and about across the UK
East West Rail - YQA Cambridge Community Drop-In July 2023
East West Rail - YQA Harston community drop-in June 2023
East West Rail - YQA Cambridge Approaches
East West Rail - Unlocking the Science Supercluster
East West Rail - Why is the southern approach to Cambridge the preferred option?
East West Rail - Transforming everyday journeys

Documents & factsheets

  • Approaching Cambridge factsheet
  • Assessment Factors factsheet
  • Benefits of East West Rail factsheet
  • Our approach to the environment factsheet
  • Route Update Report

Maps

  • Approaching Cambridge
  • East West Rail preferred route
  • Proposed train service pattern – Southern approach to Cambridge

Meet your community engagement team

Here at EWR Co, we’re passionate about hearing what local representatives and their communities think about East West Rail. It means we can work together as we build a successful project that will deliver shorter journey times, lower transport costs and ease pressure on local roads while bringing people closer to the things that matter most – jobs, friends and family.

Meet your Community Engagement Manager, Gail Buckland and your Local Representatives Groups Engagement Manager, Sarah Jacobs.

We’ve set up 15 Local Representatives Groups in areas along the EWR route. Head over to our community hub where you can find out more, including details of our events.

Find out more
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Latest stories

We're delivering EWR over several stages. This includes:

  • Upgrading an existing section of railway between Oxford and Bicester  
  • Bringing back a section of railway between Bicester and Bletchley  
  • Refurbishing existing railway between Bletchley and Bedford  
  • Building brand new railway infrastructure between Bedford and Cambridge 

East West Rail trains are expected to start running between Oxford and Bletchley/Milton Keynes in 2025, with services extending across the route in the coming years – following planning approvals and construction of the new railway.

What's next?

We'll provide further details of our developed proposals for how East West Rail will serve Cambridge at the statutory consultation.