Next step in creating new rail service

 

 
New direct rail services between Ipswich/Norwich, Cambridge and Oxford have moved a step forward with the commissioning of work to develop a business case for the Eastern Section of the East West Rail Main Line.

Consultants Steer have been appointed by the East West Rail Consortium, which has membership from local authorities across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, to develop a business case for enhancing rail connectivity.

The business case will be used to demonstrate to the Department for Transport the economic benefit of improving the frequency of passenger rail services between Ipswich/Norwich and Cambridge (known as the Eastern Section of the East West Rail Main Line) and of providing a new direct passenger rail link from Suffolk/Norfolk to Oxford.

If the business case is successful the funding will be used to develop the next stage of the project, which is to assess the rail infrastructure requirements and develop a preferred rail infrastructure option.

The East West Main Line will run from Oxford to Ipswich/Norwich via Cambridge and comprises three sections – Eastern Section (the existing line between Ipswich/Norwich and Cambridge), Central Section (a new rail route between Cambridge and Bedfordshire) and Western Section (a new rail route between Oxford and Bedfordshire).

Both the Central Section and Western Section have received funding commitments from Government to construct new rail links. Although a new rail link is not needed on the Eastern Section, it is anticipated that rail infrastructure is required to improve the frequency of passenger rail services to Cambridge and onwards to Oxford.

Alexander Nicoll, chair of East West Rail Eastern Section Group, said: “Building a new railway connection would transform connectivity and journey times across our region and with the rest of the country.

“This would bring huge benefits to passengers and businesses, driving economic growth and creating opportunities for housing and new jobs. It will also go a long way to get people out of their cars, providing a greener more sustainable transport system.”

Chair of the East West Rail Consortium, Sue Clark, added: “Though each section of East West Rail brings with it benefits to the communities it serves, the full transformational benefit will only to be realised through the delivery of all three sections to create the East West Main Line.

“The commissioning of the business case marks another important milestone in making this a reality. It demonstrates the commitment and ambition of Consortium members across the whole region to ensure East West Rail is delivered in full at the earliest opportunity.”

The development of the business case for the Eastern Section is anticipated to take six months, after which it will be submitted to the Department for Transport for consideration to fund the next stage of the rail investment process.

 
Get the latest news delivered to your inbox. CLICK HERE to subscribe to our e-newsletter.