Network rail recommends new Bedford platform for ‘fast London trains’


A report from Network Rail has said Bedford’s Ashburnham Road station needs a new platform to serve ‘fast trains to London’.

The Bedford Area Strategic Advice also advises East West Rail Company that construction of that platform would free up space on the slow lines north of Bedford for their own plans.

Bedford Borough Council has welcomed the news as this supports their view that houses north of Bedford station need not be demolished to make way for additional East West Rail lines.

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The recommendations identified by Network Rail are:

  • A new London-bound fast line platform is to be built at Bedford station
  • East West Rail to explore further the opportunities for a new platform and removal of fast trains from the slow lines at Bedford will bring
  • Further studies be undertaken to review the best use of capacity on the Midland Main Line south of East Midlands Parkway in the light of information included in the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands
  • Improvements to be made to station facilities and gate line capacity as part of the planned East West Rail redevelopment of Bedford station

The study, which is designed to look at the long-term use of Bedford Railway Station takes into account a number of factors including safety, resilience and performance, proposed railway projects, government policy and local and national rail strategies.

Cllr Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Rail, said, “Bedford Borough Council very much welcomes these recommendations from Network Rail, which line up with our own Rail Strategy relaunched earlier this year.

“A fast line platform for London bound services is crucial as it will mean more trains can stop at Bedford as well as freeing up additional capacity on the slow lines.

“It’s also encouraging that Network Rail is asking the East West Rail Company to look again at using this additional capacity on the existing slow lines with this additional platform.

“As we have long argued, this is infinitely better than adding additional tracks that would lead to the demolition of people’s homes, which we strongly oppose.”