A consultation launched today seeks views on the preferred route for the central section of the new East-West Rail line – helping towards meeting a key recommendation from the National Infrastructure Commission.

The consultation seeks views from residents and businesses on the best route to link Bedford and Cambridge, a key part of offering improved rail links across the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Arc.  This will link up to the existing Western end of the route, towards Oxford.

The consultation includes consideration of the possible locations of a new station at Bedford and how this can fully connect to the centre of the town, and how best the railway can interchange with both the Midland and East Coast Main Lines.

In its report the National Infrastructure Commission advised that this, and the proposed new Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, should be designed to make the most of every opportunity to deliver much-needed new homes to the area, including considering the opportunities for new towns and villages.

The report, Partnering for Prosperity, argued that one million new homes would be needed between now and 2050, to support the future economic growth of the area, increasing its contribution to the national economy from £90billion to £250billion a year.

Commenting on today’s consultation, a spokesperson for the National Infrastructure Commission said:

“Today’s consultation is a vital step towards delivering an East-West Rail service that works for residents and businesses across the Growth Arc, helping to deliver improvements to transport links from Oxford to Cambridge.

“We would urge everyone from across the Growth Arc to have their say over the future route for this new rail line, and to ensure that it is designed in such a way that also delivers the new homes the area so desperately needs.”