Ox-Cam UK Map

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Bedford-Cambridge 'Central Section' will be in South Cambs corridor

On 29th March 2016 Network Rail (NR) announced that the Central Section of East West Rail, will run in a Cambridge - Sandy - Bedford corridor. NR has not defined the broad 'corridor', which does not necessarily go through Sandy, but later clarified to the Cambridge News that it includes places such as Cambourne and Bourn Airfield where major housing growth is planned. NR's alternative corridor was Bedford - Hitchin - Cambridge, which has now been rejected. No reasons have been given - a detailed report will be published by NR in May - but the Hitchin corridor is potentially longer and more difficult to construct.

In the previous option selection round, each corridor had a sub-option, representing alternative Bedford stations - existing, or new; there has been no further comment on those, but further information may be released in May 2016 with the detailed report.

Whichever route is finally chosen, the route will be mainly in South Cambridgeshire and Central Bedfordshire. Other news media have speculated on the prospects for Sandy itself, though its population is lower than other towns that may be in the corridor.

Railfuture has studied possible route options (24-page PDF document with maps and explanations). Its preferred route is Bedford - St Neots - Cambourne - Addenbrookes's Hospital - Cambridge. This is described on pages 9 and 18 and has the advantage of offering a shorter Cambridge to Peterborough service via St Neots.

Network Rail will now work with the East West Rail Consortium and the local authorities to develop route options within the corridor. Railfuture hopes the public will be consulted before the route is finally chosen.

Railfuture has written an article East-West Double Boost, which gives a greater insight on the proposals.

UPDATE - See Railfuture Central Section photos about the Cambridge-Bedford route, uploaded in April 2016, and Western Section photos about the completion of the Oxford-Oxford Parkway route, uploaded in September 2016.

East West Rail Progress

Over the last few years there has been increasingly good news about the East West Rail Link, although the full scheme will not be realised until at least mid-2020s. Click [News Archive] to read Oxford-Cambridge news stories from 2010. These include:

  • Upgraded link between Oxford station and Oxford Parkway will open to passengers in December 2016. On 21 September 2016 Network Rail confirmed in a Press Release that the track-work had been completed.
    • First Oxford Parkway to Oxford train service (just 6 minutes versus bus link of 20 minutes) will be at 08:44 on Sunday 11 December 2016.
  • Re-built upgraded line is opened providing high-qulity service between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone station [October 2015]
  • Options for Bedford-Cambridge 'Central Section' reduced from seven down to two corridors [July 2015]
  • Excellent news as study finds Bedford-Cambridge 'Central Section' has "significant economic growth potential [August 2014]

Help us continue to Cambridge by contacting your MP. You can send our 'postcard' (PDF 34kB) to them. Spread the message and get as many other people as possible to do like-wise. You could either send them an email with the address of this web page, or print the leaflet (below) and postcard and give it to your friends. Many thanks.

For further information about Oxford-Cambridge Rail Link read our 2-page leaflet (PDF 2.5 MB - revised Jan 2013). [Leaflet photography by Brian Forbes and Jeffray Wotherspoon.]

Railfuture held its national conference in Oxford on 2nd November 2013, which included a presentation about the Ox-Cam link from Patrick O'Sullivan of the East West Rail Consortium.

Railfuture also held a conference in Cambridge on 22nd June 2014, when nearly all of the speakers (including two representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, which is leading on the Cambridge-Bedford section) mentioned the Ox-Cam link in their presentations. This clearly shows how important the rail link.

On 21st May 2016 Railfuture held its national AGM in Milton Keynes. The main speaker was Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, who talked about East West Rail and how vital it is. There was also a presentation about the Borders Railway that reopened in September 2015, which serves a much lower population. It took only five years from final approval to opening to the public.

Ox-Cam mini-site developed with assistance from


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Page last changed on 4th October 2016.

About Railfuture

Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.

Railfuture is the campaigning name of the Railway Development Society Ltd.

A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 5011634.

Registered Office: 24 Chedworth Place, Tattingstone, Suffolk IP9 2ND.

© Copyright Railfuture 2016.

Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.

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