The East West Railway Company (EWR) has announced that the final route between Bedford and Cambridge will run south of Bedford and via Tempsford and Cambourne.
In January 2019, EWR ran a public consultation on five routes. At the time the public was told to expect the announcement of the final selected corridor, late in 2019.
Now, EWR has stated it has selected Route E estimated at £2.2 billion a year ago and an 80 minute journey time between Oxford and Cambridge.
Critics point out it was the second slowest of the route options and the most expensive, with a new interchange station likely between Sandy and St Neots.
This route corridor also looks likely to avoid Wimpole and Moggerhanger Park although it may impact on the River Great Ouse and the Cam.
The CamBed RailRoad (CBRR) group had lobbied hard in favour of this route to discourage EWR from selecting any of the routes running via Bassingbourn.
Independent councillor Adam Zerny who represents Tempsford said "Make no mistake, this rail route is about justifying mass house building in our area. I will remain vigilant for any plans which would negatively effect the residents of Temspford and the significant history of RAF Temspford."
The next stage will be for a public consultation to be run on a number of route options within this selected corridor. After this, a statutory consultation will be run on the final option selected. No dates have yet been given on when these consultations will take place.
Simon Blanchflower CBE, CEO of East West Railway Company said: “Of the five route options we consulted on, people were really positive about the one we have chosen. The line would bring people closer to opportunities for jobs and homes and bring friends and family closer together.
"There is still a lot of work to be done, including further consultations and engagement with local communities. Today is an important milestone for everyone living and working in the Arc, and for us at the East West Railway Company, marks the beginning of a really exciting new phase.”
As East West Railway Company prepares for further consultation, a detailed process of land surveys will begin to understand the environment, historical features and geological conditions.
Landowners in the area of the Preferred Route Option will be contacted in the coming weeks.
Technical documents show the line could run through Bedford town centre, providing an interchange with the Midland Main Line via Bedford Midland station, before heading eastwards north of Bedford.
From there, it could head eastwards and serve a new split-level station between Sandy and St Neots that could provide an interchange with the East Coast Main Line (i.e. the EWR track and platforms could sit above the East Coast Main Line).
This station could be located in the broad areas around Tempsford or to the south of St Neots. It could then serve a potential new station around Cambourne before swinging south to head into the south of Cambridge.
For more details visit https://eastwestrail.co.uk.