The route for the Bedford to Cambridge section of East West Rail will be confirmed in May, the Chancellor revealed in the Spring Budget.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the controversial rail line will “support further growth in life sciences and other high-productivity sectors” in the region by connecting businesses and talent.

Mr Hunt said: “In May, the government will confirm the route for the new Bedford-Cambridge section, and will provide capacity funding to support local authorities to develop their plans for strategic economic growth around new stations,”

Beth West, CEO of the East West Railway Company said:  “The government’s route update announcement that is set for May will provide a level of certainty that I know a lot of people have been waiting for. It will enable us to press ahead with our plans and deliver a faster, more sustainable and affordable way to travel that meets local needs and improves daily lives.”

East West Rail, a new line from Oxford to Cambridge expected to cost around £5bn, is already underway, but there have been question marks over whether the Bedford to Cambridge section would proceed as planned amid heated debate over the route.

In November’s Autumn Statement, Mr Hunt had said East West Rail will be “funded as promised”. But calls have continued for the East West Rail Company to bring certainty over the route to Cambridge as soon as possible.

East West Rail Company which is developing the plans for the route, says it has been “refining” the proposals based on feedback from its 2021 consultation.

© Eastern Echo (powered by

Sign up to receive our weekly free journal, The Forum here.