A corridor running between Bedford, Sandy and Cambridge has been selected as the preferred option for the central section of East West Rail.
East West Rail aims to improve the east-west connectivity between Oxford, Cambridge and East Anglia.
The proposed central section would connect with the western section via a geographic “corridor” that starts in the Bedford area and progresses towards Sandy and on to Cambridge.
Further analysis will continue over the coming months to confirm that this corridor is most viable both in terms of business case and the ability to deliver it.
“Interest in the East West Rail project has understandably been high and we are keen to keep people up to date with our progress so far,” said Network Rail principal strategic planner Erica Blamire.
“In reaching our decision on the Central Section we have assessed the benefits and costs of several potential broad corridors, with input from rail industry stakeholders and regional working groups, including the local authorities in the East West Rail Consortium and the Department for Transport.
Once the methodology behind the Bedford – Sandy - Cambridge corridor is published in May, further analysis and consultation will take place to determine options for the ‘line on a map’ route.
“East West Rail is a great opportunity to transform connections across the region,” said rail minister Claire Perry. “The first phase, which has created new journey opportunities between London and Oxford Parkway via Bicester, is already proving hugely popular.”
“East West Rail is an important priority for Government. Because of this, we’ve agreed with the National Infrastructure Commission that it will take the Consortium’s work as an input as part of wider work to unlock growth, housing and jobs opportunities along the Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford corridor.”