East West Rail – things you might like to know but can’t now ask face-to-face

Although we’re on the edge of the ‘Preferred Route Option’, you may still be interested to find out more


The East West Rail Company's roadshow in Little Gransden Village Hall – 29th February 2020. Well organised with intelligent people on hand to talk to. While the graphics were good, no mention of why the line is needed – and 'freight' does not appear anywhere.

By Peter Mann

Now the ‘Preferred Route Option’ for a new line between Bedford and Cambridge has been announced, the East West Railway Company (EWRC) was holding ‘community’ open days to explain what’s happening next – unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak scuppered the six (out of 14) happening after 16th March.

The East West Rail Company's roadshow in Little Gransden Village Hall – 29th February 2020. Well organised with intelligent people on hand to talk to. While the graphics were good, no mention of why the line is needed – and 'freight' does not appear anywhere.

The East West Rail Company’s roadshow in Little Gransden Village Hall – 29th February 2020.

However, East West Rail says it has the ‘intention of re-booking them later in the year as the situation allows’ – and is still keen to hear our views via its website.

As a reminder, the route will link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with new stations in Cambourne and, possibly, the area north of Sandy / south of St Neots if Sandy station doesn’t get the nod.

The route is said to:

  • Provide the most benefits for every £ of taxpayers’ money spent.
  • Deliver the best opportunities for the environment.
  • And was the favourite among those who responded to EWRC’s consultation on route options last year.

The open days were an opportunity to ask questions about:

  • The benefit of the line.
  • Who says we need it and why.
  • How much freight traffic it’ll carry.
  • What’s being done to protect the local environment.
  • Will the line be an excuse to build thousands (if not a million) new houses.
  • What the next steps are.

The events began in mid-February and were meant to end in Barrington on 31st March, but only got as far as Bedford before the coronavirus outbreak stopped them.

Having been to the roadshow in Little Gransden Village Hall at the end of February, I can report it was well organised, quite well attended and the EWRC staff on hand were easy to talk to, listened politely and took notes of our comments.

But… while the graphics were good and easy to read, they contained no mention of why the line is needed – and ‘freight’ did not appear anywhere.

These events are separate from EWRC’s formal ‘consultation’ programme, for which details are still to be announced.

Post created 13th February 2020; updated 18th March 2020.