A team from Arup has been appointed by the East West Rail (EWR) Company to support the early stage work on the project.
Experts in planning, economics, environment and engineering will help preparatory works ahead of a decision being made on the preferred route for the central (Bedford to Cambridge) section, shown in yellow in the diagram, later this year. That section has been designated a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project by the Government. Once the preferred route has been selected, the Arup-led consortium will support EWR Co with a range of work including public consultation. Andrew Went, rail business leader for Arup’s UKIMEA region, said: “We share East West Rail Co’s vision for this new line and its economic, environmental and social benefits. “As well as benefiting passengers, the line is set to have a positive, long-term impact, driving economic growth, enabling new jobs and housing for communities from Bedford to Cambridge. “Projects like these are at the core of Arup’s purpose to shape a better world. We look forward to working with EWR Co and local stakeholders in helping make this project a reality.” When completed, the full Oxford to Cambridge route will serve Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford and further areas in between. The line is designed to unlock the significant economic potential of the area, building infrastructure that works for local people. Simon Blanchflower, chief executive of the East West Railway Company, said: “I am delighted that we’ve made this appointment now, because it will enable us to keep working at pace as soon as the preferred route has been selected later this year. “Our project has a unique business model and we wanted to appoint an engineering partner as committed as we are to test out new ways of working on the UK’s most exciting new railway project. “East West Rail will bring much-needed infrastructure to the communities we serve, responding to local plans to help unlock real economic opportunities, creating jobs and improved access to housing. “We’re also committed to protecting the environment by finding approaches to delivery that minimise environmental impacts and actually create opportunities for biodiversity benefits.” Image: green section = westen phase 1, blue section  = western phase 2,  yellow section = central, grey line = existing rail line, dotted grey line = HS2