Last month, the East West Rail Company published five possible routes for the new direct rail line between Bedford and Cambridge. Local people are being asked to give their views on the options in a consultation which runs until 11 March.
It is hoped that the new line could be built by 2026 and will complete. It will form the Central Section of East West Rail and complete the the link between Oxford and Cambridge, passing through Bedford.
The Western Section between Oxford, Bicester, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford uses existing or older, currently disused, rail lines, but the route from Bedford to Cambridge will need an entirely new rail line. Phase 2 of the Western Section linking Bicester and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes and Bedford is expected to open by 2024 and is the currently the subject of a separate Public Inquiry
Of the five possible routes:
Two will use the existing station at Bedford Midland, the other three would use a new ‘Bedford South’ station (which may or may not be the proposed Wixams station on the Midland Mainline between Bedford, Luton and London St Pancras).
The overall route options include three that will take a southern route via Bassingbourn and two that take a northern route via Cambourne.
Depending on the final route selected, new stations along the way could also be built in Cambourne, St Neots, Sandy, Tempsford and Bassingbourn as well as at Addenbrooke’s / Cambridge South.