Route selection met with disappointment
CamBedRailRoad (CBRR) has greeted the Consultation Document announcing the five potential EWR Central Section ‘Route Options’ with disappointment. The grassroots organisation has been lobbying for the consideration of a Northern Option, entering Cambridge from the North. The Chairman of CBRR Sebastian Kindersley said:

“We are disappointed that East West Rail Co Ltd (‘EWR Co’) has not included our Option for consideration despite widespread support from local MPs, Councils and residents. We are further disappointed because only two of the potential Options (‘B’ and ‘E’) come anywhere close to meeting the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission (‘NIC’), which said that road and rail should be delivered together in a sensible and coherent manner. But, doubly disappointingly, they enter Cambridge from the South by some tortuous route from Cambourne despite CBRR’s demonstration that a Northern approach was easy and quick to deliver.

“EWR Co appears to have selected low Cost and obviously low Benefit Options which deliver very little indeed to local people and which now present a considerable planning blight (up to 15 km wide) on communities across Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. Meanwhile, EWR Co ignores the needs of 70,000 people immediately to the north and west of Cambridge – with more development planned. This is a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity to get a major piece of national infrastructure right and must not be squandered.

“We will be contributing to this non-statutory consultation and making our argument forcefully. We will focus on taking up EWR Co’s significant open invitation to be persuaded that there are operational, technical, planning, programming, environmental and financial advantages to be gained by entry from the North – even EWR Co agrees ‘it is not too late to see sense’.

“The CBRR Option delivers new train stations at Bedford, St Neots, Cambourne and Northstowe; sustainably links established and approved centres of population growth; supports  NIC’s call for significant further housing development; and enables high speed trains, low speed commuter trains as well as freight to travel east/west. It is an obvious Option to assess and to consult upon.” 

“We will continue to work constructively with EWR Co and local communities, so we can all arrive at the optimal solution.”
Heidi Allen MP (South Cambridgeshire):

“... East West Rail and the Expressway are well and truly on Government’s “to-do” list. At every opportunity I get, I reinforce the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation that their corridors must be aligned so that they serve both existing and emerging communities.”