The company building the East West Rail link has published the five route options for the central section – a new line between Bedford and Cambridge.
Three of the options take a broadly southern route through South Cambridgeshire via Bassingbourn while 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.
The new line 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. The options can be viewed here.
The East West Rail Company (EWR) – a non-departmental public arms-length body – said the new line 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.
Chief executive Simon Blanchflower 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.'
Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of England’s Economic Heartland’s Strategic Transport Forum, said: ‘East West Rail is a fundamental part of the infrastructure required to enable economic growth in the Heartland, by transforming the travel choices available for individuals and businesses while achieving net gain for our environment.
‘Our communities and partners within England’s Economic Heartland will now want to look in detail at the relative merits of the route options which have been announced, including how they will support delivery of Local Plans.’
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 scheme is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, so an application for consent would be submitted to government.