Economic boost as East West Rail confirmed to come to – and through – Bedford

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Diagonal countryside railway bokeh background

The government have announced today that the new East West Rail line will be stopping at Bedford Midland station, connecting the town directly to Cambridge and Oxford.

Route E, the route recommended by the East West Rail Consortium, has been chosen. It connects Bedford Midland to Cambridge with a new station between Sandy and St Neots and another at Cambourne.

This ‘Central Section’ builds on the ‘Western Section’, connecting Oxford and Bicester with services through to Bedford.

The news means increased connectivity for our town, bringing more opportunities to travel for work and leisure, as well as supporting Bedford’s economic growth and prosperity, attracting businesses and jobs.

Recent modelling in the Bedford Borough Council Rail Strategy showed that East West Rail is forecast to bring over £20million of additional economic activity to our Borough. This could be additional investment, businesses, and jobs.

East West Rail Route E
Route E has been selected

Richard Fuller, MP for North East Bedfordshire, said: “I am pleased that the government has made this announcement to progress investment in this important rail link. 

“Today in the House of Commons, I pressed the Transport Minister on the implications of this announcement and to consider this new rail route in conjunction with the realignment of the A1 to allow for proper integration of road and rail to support planned sustainable housing growth.”

Responding to Richard in the House of Commons, the Minister for East West Connectivity, George Freeman MP, gave a commitment that he would consider “proper integration of housing, rail and the A1 junction”.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said, “Bedford Borough Council recently launched a ‘Rail Strategy for Bedford’, setting out our vision for Bedford Borough to be a great place to live, work and visit and to create a Borough that attracts international business and highly skilled and sustainable jobs.

“This announcement is the first step in the delivery of this Strategy, and places Bedford at the heart of this key new infrastructure. Our Rail Strategy demonstrates our commitment to improving rail infrastructure for the benefit of local residents and a vibrant local economy.

“I would like to say thank you to our officers for all their hard work and to Cllr Michael Headley, who has sat on the East West Rail Consortium for a decade successfully pushing the case for Bedford.”

Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston said, “This confirmation is great news for Bedford residents who have had a hard time with their rail services recently.

“Increased connectivity will bring more opportunities to travel for work and pleasure, boost economic growth and prosperity and take more cars off the roads to ease pollution.”