The chairman of the East West Rail Consortium (EWR) has hailed the announcement on the preferred route between Bedford and Cambridge as a ‘landmark moment’ in the scheme’s history.
Following consultation last year, the preferred route could see the new rail line run from Bedford to Cambridge, serving new stations along the way. This will lead to the government making a final decision on whether to take the project forward, and to make an application for a developed consent order (DCO).
If approved, both EWR and the government say the new route could present opportunities to unlock new housing projects, boost an innovation corridor, improve passenger access, and could see a significant boost delivered for local transport connectivity across the Oxford-Cambridge arc.
Mark Shaw, EWR consortium chairman, said: “I’m delighted that the East West Railway Company has today announced its preferred route. It is a landmark moment in the scheme’s history. This announcement ensures the momentum established by the East West Railway Company is maintained and we will continue to work closely with them as they look to secure detailed planning consent and get trains on tracks at the earliest opportunity. The government’s continued support for East West Rail is particularly welcomed and reflects the importance of this project to the UK economy as a whole.”
Paul Maynard, minister for EWR, said: “East West Rail could help us revolutionise transport in the Oxford-Cambridge arc, increasing people’s access to job opportunities while making travel quicker, cheaper and easier. On top of connectivity and travel benefits, EWR has the potential to support new homes and jobs in the arc, dubbed the UK’s own Silicon Valley. The government is committed to ensuring that future development demonstrates high standards of design and environmental sustainability and with local infrastructure and affordable housing in place.”
EWR consortium chairman Mark Shaw said that the work of the consortium – a grouping of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships which was founded in 1995 and produced the scheme’s original business case – would continue to ensure East West Rail’s full potential is realised.