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What is this East West Rail project aiming to do?

  • The overall project and its history Click here 
  • The key section from Bedford to Cambridge Click here
  • Wasn’t there a railway line from Bedford to Cambridge before? Click here 
  • I'd like further information on details of the project Click here
  • What are Network Rail's plans? Click here 


Who is building the East West rail link?

No decision has been taken at the time of writing but it will probably be a private enterprise consortium of some kind. An example is:
  • EWR Alliance (EWRA)  The Alliance is made up of Network Rail, Atkins, Laing O’Rourke and Volker Rail. It is responsible for designing and building the Western Section.

Who decides which route to take?

  • CamBedRailRoad (CBRR)  We are an interest group and produced this website to influence the route decision to secure a transport system that serves the people and will provide a sustainable transport solution
  • Department for Transport (DfT)  Owns Network Rail, HS2 and finances EWR Company: owns Highways England. Transport Secretary: Right Hon. Chris Grayling MP. Has the ultimate say.
  • Network Rail (NR)  Owned by DfT. Owns and operates track-work and signalling. (TOCs - Train Operating Companies - own or lease rolling stock and periodically bid to run franchises.) 
  • East West Rail Project (EWR)  Connecting Oxford and Cambridge, with Milton Keynes, Bedford etc. through the 'Knowledge Arc'. Divided into 3 Sections: West = Oxford – Bedford; Central = Bedford – Cambridge; East = Cambridge – eastwards.
  • The East West Railway Company (EWRC)  The company was formed by the Secretary of State for Transport to optimise the delivery of the East West Rail. It initially reviewed the East West Rail proposals and led a value engineering and programme delivery review, identifying in 2016 one route out of eight short-listed with the “best performing” Benefit to Cost Ratio, Route C2-2. (The goalposts were moved by the National Infrastructure Commission’s report the following year.)
  • The East West Rail Consortium  19 Local Authorities: chaired by CCC. Commissioned Phase 1 Report, 1995. Commissioned Phase 2a Report, 2013. Commissioned Phase 2b Report, 2015.
  • High Speed Rail 2 Ltd  Company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s second high speed rail project from London to Birmingham and the north of England.
  • railfuture  Interest group campaigning for a better passenger and freight rail network, independent of rail companies, government, etc.
  • Highways England (HE)  Runs UK's road infrastructure including road bridges: schemes include: A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet and Ox-Cam Expressway
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  “The MHCLG's job is to create great places to live and work, and to give more power to local people to shape what happens in their area.” Housing Secretary: Right Hon. James Brokenshire MP
  • Ministry of Defence  Responsible for military installations such as Bassingbourn Barracks. Route C2.2 option for the East West Rail link would pass through it.
  • National Infrastructure Commission (NIC)  Chairman Sir John Armitt. Provides independent, strategic thinking, analysis and advice to address the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. Has expressed strong support for an integrated road-rail solution.

The decision may be influenced by Parish, District, City and County Councils, including the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority. Ultimately the final decision rests with the Department for Transport, co-ordinating the actions of Network Rail and Highways England, and co-ordinating with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, all as recommended by the NIC.

Which Local Authorities have a say about the route?


What other Organisations are showing an interest in the route?

  • Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE)
    “Standing up for the countryside.”
  • Smarter Cambridge Transport (SCT)
    “Advancing integrated and sustainable transport for the Cambridge region.”
  • Gamlingay Environment Action Group (GEAG)
    “GEAG aims to promote understanding and to be a focal point for discussion of environmental issues, from high-tech sustainable power solutions to helping home owners about how to ‘go green’ and to supporting wildlife initiatives. It is a non-political organisation informing all about the damage being done to the environment — both locally and globally. We work for positive change, starting here in South Cambridgeshire.”
  • Cambridgeshire Campaign for Better Transport (CBBT)
    "3. Prioritise east-west rail, for which our preferred route would run between Bedford and Cambridge via St Neots (for East Coast Main Line connections) and Cambourne." (CBBT Newsletter 13 Nov 2017)

Aidan Van de Weyer
(Deputy Leader, South Cambridgeshire District Council)

“The vitality of the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor is crucial to the future prosperity of the whole country. We need to make bold investments in infrastructure to support that growth and make it sustainable. The East West Railway is the most important piece of the jigsaw, so we've got to work together and get it right by looking at what all the options can bring.”

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“Our area is driving the UK economy. The scale of development that brings means we must get the infrastructure right and for the sake of our residents and future generations it must be sustainable. Putting both road and rail along the A428 corridor where so much growth is planned delivers sustainable infrastructure with a minimum of planning blight. It is the obvious solution.”
Sebastian Kindersley
(Cambridgeshire County Councillor):