East West Rail – north or south?

23rd September 2021

CPRE Bedfordshire has long supported a southern route round Bedford for East West Rail, but what does that mean in practice? 

Following the announcement that we support the BFARe campaign for a re-consultation and their preference for a southern route, we have understandably received a number of questions from parish councils and members who would be affected by a southern route, which we hope to answer here.


What is CPRE Bedfordshire’s preference?

Our preference is for a route which follows the existing A428/A421 transport corridor between Cambridge and Bedford. In the 2019 consultation Route B provided the closest match to this preference.

Why route B?

We believe that Route B, or a variation based on Route B, is the optimum route corridor for several reasons including:

  • ability to serve the maximum number of existing communities
  • construction cost
  • operating revenue
  • least disruption to the countryside and to agriculture
  • least opening up of scarce agricultural land for development
  • speed of delivery


Where do you stand on specific route alignments?

Any consideration of a southern route should be subject to further consultation with local communities and Parish Councils. All options for a southern route should be explored in detail like the last consultation (2021) did for Route E. We will only comment on routes put forward by East West Rail.

We believe that the priority should be a route as close to the A421 as possible to avoid intrusions into open countryside and rural villages as far as possible; and that Parish Councils should be properly consulted.


What are you asking for at this stage of the consultation process?

We are calling for a re-consultation which should include detailed southern route options.


If you have any questions about our support for a southern route which have not been answered here please do get in touch using info@cprebeds.org.uk

Quernmore landscape