Beds, Herts & Bucks

East-West rail link: New stations considered for Bedford to Cambridge

Image of East West train Image copyright Network rail
Image caption Once the East-West rail link is complete it will link Oxford to Cambridge

New railway stations could be built as part of the third and final stage of the East-West rail link.

Five routes for the new section of track from Bedford have been revealed as part of plans to link Oxford and Cambridge by rail.

It could mean new stations for Bedford, St Neots, Cambourne, Bassingbourn and Tempsford.

Chief executive of East West Railway Company, Simon Blanchflower, said the line would make a "huge difference".

Trains already operate on the section between Oxford and Bicester after it was completed in 2016, following a major upgrade of an existing rail line.

The second part of the project, between Bicester and Bedford, is due to start later this year and should be completed by 2023.

The third and final phase from Bedford to Oxford should be finished by 2027.

Image copyright East West Railway Company
Image caption Five routes have been chosen to link Bedford to Cambridge via rail

Mr Blanchflower said they wanted to hear from people so they could work out the "right route to take" that would "add the most benefit to the area".

He said a preferred route would be chosen after the end of the consultation into the five routes.

Sandy station could also be re-located in work that could cost up to £3.4bn.

Liberal Democrat councillor Aidan Van de Weyer, deputy leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said it raised many questions: "How [will] the wide areas they have provided as potential routes be narrowed down, what level crossings will be needed, will any roads need to be closed and where will stations be located?"

The government announced £110m of funding for the rail link in 2016.

North East Bedfordshire Conservative MP Alistair Burt said: "This is an exciting and ambitious project that will link communities and reduce travel costs and journey times between them."

The consultation runs until 11 March, and public events will take place in towns and villages along the route from 11 February to 2 March.

Image copyright John Sutton/Geograph
Image caption The old Varsity Line used to run between Oxford and Cambridge and was operational from 1851 to 1967

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