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Mayor Dave Unveils Blueprint for Enhanced Bedford Rail Links

September 20, 2019 3:15 PM

Bedford Railway Station SignMayor Dave Hodgson has announced proposals for new direct rail services from Bedford to Nottingham to the north and Reading to the south.

Government decisions mean Bedford will lose direct services to the East Midlands from next year. Mayor Dave and Bedford Borough Council are setting out plans which would restore those links and more, and in doing so deliver major economic and social benefits.

With the Western section of the East West Rail Line set to open in 2023 between Bedford and Oxford, Mayor Dave's plans would exploit the new opportunities the new line will bring for enhanced north-south travel as well as better east-west links.

In summary, the plans are based on:

  • Developing Bedford Midland station as an Interchange Hub between the Western Section of East West Rail and the the East Midlands, on commencement of the new services between Bedford and Oxford from 2023.
  • Introducing a Reading/Oxford to Nottingham direct service via Bedford, Wellingborough, Kettering and Leicester, which is forecast to generate £42m economic boost per year and over 1,000 jobs across locations on the route.
  • Developing the Interchange Hub concept for Bedford to include connectivity between Cambridge and Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. This would complement the redevelopment of Bedford station and its surrounds as a high-quality hub and gateway to the town.
  • Re-instatement and development of Midland Main Line services from Derby/Nottingham and Leicester to Bedford and London, as soon as possible.

Mayor Dave and Bedford Borough Council will work with councils across the East Midlands and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc to develop these plans and help make them a reality.

The plans are just the first element of Bedford Borough's Rail Plan, which will be published later this year and will bring together the range of strategic rail priorities and projects for Bedford Borough, including delivery of Wixams station, the continuation of East West Rail via Bedford Midland to Cambridge and fighting the government's removal of intercity services from the town.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "These plans would bring tremendous benefits for Bedford Borough residents, opening up new employment and leisure opportunities.'

"Everything we know about our economy and society tells us that the government has got it totally wrong in reducing connectivity and stripping Bedford of its direct intercity rail links.'

"These plans would restore those vital links and bring new opportunities and more economic growth across a vast area from Reading to Bedford to Nottingham and beyond."