Rail connectivity in South East of England in some respects is centred around London, with traffic flowing between the suburbs, the outer regions to the city. However, there is a significant amount of cross country traffic too.
One of the new rail links that are being promoted – the East-West Rail link – aims to link Cambridge and Oxford (without the tedious need to cross London – whilst improving connectivity along the way.
The East West Railway Company have revealed five route options between Cambridge and Bedford, and have launched a consultation on the routes
The East West Bedford to Cambridge options – image, East West Rail.
In the five options offered for consultation, three take a broadly southern route through South Cambridgeshire via Bassingbourn and 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.
East West Railway company argue these route will reduce travel times the area, and support the growth of housing in the area, as well as opening new connections up.
The link is to be expected to be constructed in the mid-2020s completing the link between Oxford and Cambridge.
Time to consult
The main consultation period is open until 11th March, with local road-shows and events running. If you want a say, East West Rail has posted a site with the technical documents, maps and feedback at https://eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay.
If you live in this corridor, it’s worth you at least looking at the maps and consultation document – to see how it impacts you.
If you are a potential customer, it’s worth a look too to see what the possibilities will be in a few years time
Simon Blanchflower, East West Rail Company’s Chief Executive 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.
“We’d like as many people as possible to give us their views and are grateful to everyone who takes the time to help us as we design this crucial piece of infrastructure for the area.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“The launch of this consultation marks a significant milestone in bringing this project to fruition.
“East West Rail will transform journeys in one of Europe’s most vibrant economic regions, providing passengers and businesses with the transport system they deserve while unlocking the area’s economic potential.”
Whilst travel in the South East of England is London centric, there are plenty of arguments to open up connectivity between cities whilst avoiding London. The Oxford-Cambridge link existed in the past as part of the Varsity Line, with a number of factors making British Rail close the line to passenger and freight traffic in the 1960s.
As the UK Rail network fills up further, development of the network needs to happen for all traffic on the rails.
In addition, with the section complete, it can open better connections to airports (such as Stanstead Airport) and ports (such as Felixstowe). Such capacity will be welcome and would be used.
And like air travel – connectivity is the name of the game.
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