East West Rail Consultation Opens

East West Rail (EWR) is creating a new direct connection between Oxford and Cambridge, broken down into three distinct areas: Western Section Phase 1 & Phase 2,  Central Section and Eastern Section, which extends the railway in to Norfolk and Suffolk.

Serving communities across the area, it will bring faster journey times and lower transport costs as well as easing pressure on local roads.

In the 2016 Autumn Statement Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced an additional £10m funding to continue development work to identify a preferred route for the central section to extend the line east of Bedford to Cambridge.

Within the overall scheme, this is the most difficult and costly part of the route to reinstate, as the former railway has been dismantled and the land disposed of after the line was closed in the 1960s. Many bridges have either been removed or are in a poor state of repair and the Bedford bypass severs the line.

In the 2017 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor reiterated his commitment to delivering East West Rail as quickly as possible, confirming completion of the western section by 2024 . This will enable services between Oxford and Bedford, and Aylesbury and Milton Keynes. The East West Rail Company was established to accelerate delivery of the central section between Bedford and Cambridge, aiming for completion by the mid-2020s and leveraging private sector investment.

For the last year, EWR have been developing route options for the Bedford to Cambridge section and now want to hear your views on the five options available. Full details are available in the Consultation Document and technical report.

This first public consultation will run from 28 January to 11 March 2019. Although several years away from the start of construction, it is important for residents to take this opportunity to share their views at this early stage of the schemes development by submitting to the consultation.

Commenting Heidi said, “I am pleased the East West Rail company have now come forward with outline route corridors and are clearly planning to consult extensively with residents. From my point of view, I am delighted to see that Cambourne features as a location for a possible new station. As we have good railway connections in the South of the constituency already, I really do feel we should be concentrating our priorities in the North. I am however disappointed, that at this stage there appears to be no route into Cambridge via the North. BUT, it is important (and I must tell myself this just as residents must!) that these are very early scoping corridors and that we all have a role to play in feeding in our views. Therefore, please do try and attend one of the public events to see the detail up close. Make sure you also give your views in the consultation process. To help me contribute and influence as your MP, I will be listening to parish councils, local councillors, businesses and residents to ensure I understand their views too.”

Public consultation events in South Cambridgeshire:

Bassingbourn: Saturday 16 February 2019, 10am – 2pm
Bassingbourn Community Primary School, Brook Road, Bassingbourn SG8 5NP

Orwell: Tuesday 26 February, 2pm – 6pm
Orwell Village Hall, 32-66 High St, Orwell, Royston SG8 5QN

Cambourne: Saturday 2 March, 10:00pm – 2:00pm
Cambridge Belfry, Back Lane, Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6BW