The new line would head north from Bedford and then turn east to cross the East Coast Main Line between St Neots and Sandy, where an interchange station would be provided. The line would then run east via a new station at Cambourne to join the existing railway south of Cambridge where another new station would be built.

Map showing the preferred route.

The preferred route was chosen because:

  • it gives the best value for taxpayers
  • it was the most popular option with people who responded to a consultation last year by East West Railway (EWR), which is responsible for implementing the entire project, and
  • it was the best choice environmentally.

Selection of the preferred route will enable the government to make a final decision on whether to build the line and to make an application for a Development Consent Order (DCO).

“There is still a lot of work to be done, including further consultations and engagement with local communities,” says Mr Simon Blanchflower, EWR’s CEO.

The Oxford - Bicester section of the EWR reopened in December 2016, and preliminary work is underway to reopen the section between Bicester and Bletchley. Construction on this part of the line will start later this year and the first passenger services are expected to run at the end of 2023. The line from there to Bedford was the only section of the former Oxford - Cambridge line to escape closure in 1967.

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