MP backs new railway station routes for St Neots proposed in upgrade plan

The five routes that are being put forward for the new Cambridge to Bedford railway line

The five routes that are being put forward for the new Cambridge to Bedford railway line - Credit: Archant

The MP for Huntingdon Jonathan Djanogly has backed two of the five route options for the new rail link from Cambridge to Oxford, which could include a new train station for St Neots.

In a letter written to East West Rail, Jonathan Djanogly supported two of the five route options, saying that they would bring ‘tangible benefits to the existing communities in Huntingdonshire’.

Last month, East West Rail revealed five options for the new railway route, two of which include St Neots and, if chosen, would link the town with Cambridge and Bedford.

Three of the five options being considered take a route through south Cambridgeshire via Bassingbourn. Two take a more northerly route via Cambourne.

In the letter, Mr Djanogly said: “A new train station south of Cambridgeshire’s largest town, St Neots, would provide a significant opportunity to enable east-west and north-south travel. Delivering a new station south of St Neots would also have the potential to reduce private car-based trips between Cambridge and St Neots.

“If either options B or E are supported, then a station south of St Neots should therefore be located as close to the town as possible. Furthermore, a proposed new station on the East Coast mainline at Alconbury Weald to the north of Huntingdon would also connect the enterprise zone at Alconbury Weald to this north-south and east-west.”

The consultation work, which is due to be finished by 2020, is supported by the Government, which has committed £20million for the East West Railway Company to develop a strategic outline business case.

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While the western section of the proposed route, which will run between Oxford and Bedford, can be built by reinstating and upgrading old railway lines, the central section between Bedford and Cambridge will require a new line to be built.

Mr Djanogly has said that both the East West Rail project and the Cambridge Autonomous Metro should work together to provide transport in Huntingdonshire.

He said: “The East West Rail project needs to consider these potential transfers as opportunities’ rather than risks as such infrastructure interventions are not competing; but complementary.”

Huntingdonshire District council also welcomed the railway service, provided, it said, that there are specific benefits to Huntingdonshire that would outweigh any additional costs.

Councillor Ryan Fuller, deputy executive leader and councillor for housing, planning and economic development, said: “What must not be missed during this process is the opportunity to deliver future sustainable growth and improved transport opportunities for existing communities such as St Neots. It would be a mistake to consider this as a simple cost/time efficiency solution. East West Rail will be a significant transport intervention in our area and we must therefore ensure that the route chosen best serves our existing residents.

“The district council supports routes B or E, the two options that include stations south of St Neots, rather than a new station further south, and Cambourne. We are also pleased that one of these routes – route E which would serve Bedford Midland station, south of St Neots, Cambourne and Cambridge South station – has the collective support of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridge City Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and Bedford Borough Council.

“Along with the A428/A421, a route south of St Neots would provide a key, single, east-west transport corridor along which to concentrate connected, sustainable growth, and provide enhanced public transport options. A single road, rail and metro corridor also has a further important benefit in that it significantly reduces the visual and environmental impacts compared to having two entirely separate transport/growth corridors. We look forward to continuing dialogue with East West Rail Company as the project progresses.”