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East West Rail Consultation on 15 February at Scott Hall

February 14, 2019 8:00 AM
Originally published by North Bedfordshire Liberal Democrats

Bedford Railway Station SignThere will be a East West Rail consultation event this Thursday (15 February), where you can see the five proposed route plans and speak to the East West Rail Company. The consultation will be at Scott Hall, Barford Avenue MK42 0DS from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

Mayor Dave Hodgson has welcomed the launch of the public consultation on route options for the Bedford - Cambridge section of the East West Railway line, and called on people to have their say in support of a route via Bedford itself.

Two of the five route options (d and e) serve Bedford Midland station, which would maximise interchange opportunities with other services and would mean changes to Bedford Station including requiring expanded parking, which is already being looked at. Plus, a route via Bedford itself will quite simply be more convenient for the vast majority of people. It would open up employment and other opportunities for thousands of local residents, and connect more local employers with more potential customers and staff. It would also enable more connections, including with mainline services.

Meanwhile, three of the five shortlisted options (a, b and c) bypass Bedford to the south, stopping at a station outside the town and therefore making it less accessible for most residents of Bedford, Kempston and surrounding villages. It would also force visitors to Bedford to have to change trains, making Bedford less attractive as a destination for visitors and businesses.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "I'm pleased the consultation is underway and people now have the chance to have their say, and I hope they will speak up for a route via Bedford itself. A route bypassing Bedford to the south would be a massive missed opportunity to maximise the benefits of this multi-billion pound project for local people. It would also delay or even threaten delivery of the long-awaited Wixams Station.'

"This is a passenger railway, so it should stop where passengers are and where passengers can get to. There is a key choice here between whether the line serves the vast numbers of people who live in and around Bedford and Kempston and surrounding villages, or whether it stops in a field to the south of Bedford on the basis additional houses may one day be built nearby. Let's maximise the benefits of this excellent project by having it serve local people and employers, and let's all support that by speaking up for a route via Bedford."

You can read the consultation documents and have your say here: www.eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay