CPRE Bedfordshire disappointed about the chosen route for the East West Rail Central Section
The preferred route has been announced as part of the third and final stage of the East-West rail Central section from Bedford to Cambridge.
The chosen route E travels north from Bedford Midland station then moves in an easterly direction around the northern urban edge of Bedford, across an area of open countryside and rural villages to a new station that will be located somewhere on the East Coast Mainline between Sandy and St Neots.
Five options were published for consultation in January 2019. CPRE Bedfordshire expressed a preference for route B which would travel through the A421 corridor south of Bedford and;
- provide an opportunity to create an East West Rail/Midland Mainline interchange station at Wixams to serve the growing population there,
- avoid bringing yet more traffic into the highly congested areas leading to and around Bedford station,
- avoid disturbing the tranquility of small rural villages and countryside north of Bedford.
Furthermore, Route E opens up rural north Bedfordshire to the development of a new town of 6,000 homes at Twinwoods/Thurleigh Airfield.
The chosen route therefore represents a massive disappointment for CPRE Bedfordshire and for Bedfordshire residents who have been campaigning to prevent major housing and infrastructure development associated with the Oxford to Cambridge Arc strategy, from taking hold in this sensitive area of North Bedfordshire.
CPRE Bedfordshire will continue to work with local groups and the other county branches within the Arc Corridor, to campaign for measures to limit the damage to rural areas as far as possible, when more details of the route become clear.
A detailed preferred route option map can be found at; https://eastwestrail.co.uk/the-project/central-section
There will be a series of local community events hosted by East-West Rail in February and March – find out more here. This is your chance to find out more and ask questions about the route and the environmental impact.