East West Rail has taken key steps forward with the granting of planning permission for Phase Two and the selection of a preferred route for Phase Three between Bedford and Cambridge.
The Secretary of State for Transport has approved Network Rail’s Transport and Works Act Order application, authorising the reinstatement of the partially disused routes between Bicester, Bletchley and Bedford and between Aylesbury and Claydon Junction (where it joins the Bicester to Bletchley route). The order also makes provision for a new station at Winslow, platforms at Bletchley and Aylesbury Vale Parkway and platform extensions at Woburn Sands and Ridgmont.
The choice of preferred route for the Bedford to Cambridge section has been backed by Government. The East West Railway Company held a six-week consultation on five options in early 2019. The preferred option, Route E, would use the existing Bletchley to Bedford Marston Vale line into the current Bedford Midland station, providing interchange with Thameslink and Midland main line services. It would then leave Bedford to the north, with a new interchange station on the East Coast main line between Sandy and St Neots before continuing east through a further station at Cambourne and joining the West Anglia main line to enter Cambridge from the south. EWR aims to begin running direct trains between Oxford and Cambridge by the end of the decade.