South Cambs politicians welcome East West Rail Link preferred option decision

Anthony Browne is the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Party candidate in the 2019 General Election

Anthony Browne is the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Party candidate in the 2019 General Election. Picture: Stephen Frost - Credit: Archant

South Cambs politicians have welcomed the news that the preferred option for the Bedford to Cambridge section of the East West Rail Link is to go via Cambourne rather than Bassingbourn.

The announcement was made by transport secretary Grant Shapps on Tuesday - and the route is expected to link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy and south of St Neots.

Options that were put forward by the East West Rail Company included passing through many of our South Cambs villages and included a stop at Bassingbourn.

South Cambs MP Anthony Browne said: "I am delighted that the northern route for East West Rail via Cambourne has been confirmed.

"I have been campaigning for this route because it is best for local people, businesses and the environment. Commuters in Cambourne and the surrounding villages have been crying out for a rapid and reliable transport link into Cambridge.

"Residents in Bassingbourn will also be relieved. There is no commuter need for an additional rail link in this area and the environmental destruction of it would have been huge.

"Having confirmed this northern route, we can now plan other local transport links in South Cambs more effectively, so the whole system works together."

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Councillor Aidan Van de Weyer, deputy leader and lead cabinet member for strategic infrastructure at South Cambs District Council, said: "We are pleased and relieved that an announcement has finally been made. We are also supportive of the decision to run the new railway from Bedford to Cambridge via Cambourne. We were told that one of the key factors in determining the route was the environmental opportunities that this option offers.

"Any project of this size has an impact, but overall it will offer huge scope for environmental enhancements, much of which be in South Cambridgeshire.

"The decision on whether this will be an electrified line has not yet been made, but we are told that it will be a net zero carbon railway which is exactly what we would want as we move towards being a zero carbon district by 2050."

SCDC leader Bridget Smith added: "I have asked East West Railway Company to work very closely with local councillors and officers, and to fully engage with all of our affected villages from the outset. This is vital so they know exactly what is going on and have every opportunity to input their views into the whole process."