Latest Rail News

30.03.16

Preferred central corridor for East West Rail announced

The central section of East West Rail will go through the Bedford-Sandy-Cambridge corridor, it was announced today.

Network Rail selected their preferred corridor after considering 20 options. It will publish the methodology behind the decision and begin a further consultation process in May.

The announcement comes following concerns that the railway route could be delayed by three to seven years after a Network Rail draft recommendation suggested the project should be delivered in three phases instead of two.

Eric Blamire, principal strategic planner for Network Rail, said: “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.

“This work has allowed us to reduce the 20 potential corridors which were originally identified down to this single corridor which the evidence indicates offers the best return on investment.”

Factors which influenced the decision included station catchment areas for population and employment, operating costs, forecast passenger demand, demand for short and longer distance journeys, the need to reduce crowding on the London rail network, infrastructure needs, train service opportunities and other impacts of the railway.

It is hoped that the railway will provide a faster and more reliable train service to support economic growth and employment in Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia.

Comments

Carl   31/03/2016 at 20:40

I hope the eventual route connects to the ECML with a north facing Junction at Sandy and passes through St Neots station before turning East through countryside to reach Cambourne, Tumpington and the new station planned for Addenbrookes and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. This would allow commuters between St Neots and both Bedford and Cambridge to use trains rather than the congested A428/A421. It would also allow through running to Peterborough and give access to the ECML destinations further north for the stations along the Western section of the East West Route.

Rob   01/04/2016 at 09:37

Although the principal of a new Bedford to Cambridge link is welcome there must still be significant doubt of it's financial viability unless it connects a new Cambridge South station and then serves the main areas of business, university and population growth west of the city with a new station at Cambourne and then running alongside the proposed new dual carriageway from Caxton Gibbet to St Neots which is the largest town in Cambridgeshire and desperately needs integration into better routes East and West. A replacement station at St Neots near the Little Barford power station would then join the existing line into Sandy. The current St Neots station occupies a valuable site for future residential or commercial development. The old "Varsity Line" which was closed by Beeching in the 1960s is not an option. It is partly built over and does not serve any of these areas of growth whereas Cambourne, Papworth , Bourn Airfield and the surrounding area will form a major East-West corridor.

Jerry Alderson   03/04/2016 at 14:01

Please correct the article. Network Rail has not chosen a "route". That would create planning blight. It had identified two "corridors" - one somewhere near Hitchin and one somewhere near Sandy - the two are about 25km apart. It has decided to go for one somewhere near Sandy (and will only re-consider the Hitchin corridor again if it cannot get a route in the Sandy corridor). There is no implication that it will go through Sandy as the corridor is about 15km north or south of Sandy. For example, the Railfuture proposal is for Bedford to St Neots (i.e. quite far north of Sandy) to Cambourne to Addenbrooke's Hospital station to Cambridge (Central) station. Please see page 8 of http://www.railfuture.org.uk/east/docs/East-West-Rail-Routes-from-Cambridge-Sept2013.pdf The so-called "Sandy corridor" is perfectly compatible with the Railfuture proposal, as St Neots is just under 15 km north of Sandy.

Huguenot   03/04/2016 at 19:34

I agree that a route via St Neots would be better. St Neots is a larger town and would give more scope for railheading, as well as ECML interchange. This would then provide the opportunity to serve Cambourne, a growing but rail-less new town. Highways England has a propsal to dual the remainder of the A428, so how about a joint construction project with EWR? A route via Hitchin would be quite a lot longer and so impact on journey times from the west to Cambridge. An important question is what to do at Bedford. Reverse EWR trains there? Or construct a new route from the MML swinging eastwards north of Bedford? Bedford station is already very congested but EWR must not bypass it.

Daniel Scharf   04/04/2016 at 10:47

Looking at this from Oxford I am cautious about criticising the suggestion that a road scheme (ie the dualing of the A428) with the construction of a new rail line. However, I am concerned about the proposal for an Oxford to Cambridge 'expressway' before the cities are re-joined by rail as this can only harm the viability and, therefore, the prospect of the rail link being completed.

Graham Nalty   05/04/2016 at 07:57

I used the line to travel to University at Cambridge from Nuneaton. Times have changed and the need is now far much faster links from Bristol and Bournemouth in the west to Norwich and Ipswich in the east. There is also the need for local rail commuting around all the larger towns along the route and linking to the north/south routes at Oxford, Bletchley/Milton Keynes, Bedford, Sandy/St. Neots and Cambridge. After such a long wait for re-instatement, I say well done to those involved for the progress they have made.

Andrew Gwilt   18/04/2016 at 10:33

The East-West Rail Link is soon going to be new newest rail link outside of London that it will connect from Eastern England to the West Country and it will also be a new freight route linking from Felixstowe port to Nuneaton freight terminal via using the new railway line and connect towns between Oxford and Cambridge including Bicester, Thame, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Woburn Forest, Bedford and Sandy with a new railway bridge that will carry the East-West line over the 4 track ECML with 2 new platforms to be built at Sandy to connect with the 2 current platforms that some Great Northern trains do stop at Sandy which will be the 1st time that Sandy is a interchange station.

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