Executive Councillors today recommended that Central Bedfordshire Council pledge £5.18m in support of the East West Rail Scheme.
The proposed East West Rail Western Section, which would run from Bedford to Oxford and Reading, would have one stop in Central Bedfordshire – and councillors recommended that this should be at Ridgmont.
Draft plans for the new line list Lidlington as the single stop in Central Bedfordshire. However, councillors put forward their support for a Ridgmont stop instead, on the grounds that this station has greater potential to develop as a transport interchange. It would also encourage rail travel to the nearby Marston Gate Business Park and the planned new Ridgmont Station Heritage Centre.
Cllr Nigel Young, Executive Member for Sustainable Communities (Strategic Planning and Economic Development), said: “We are excited about the prospect of the East West Rail Western Section linking this part of Central Bedfordshire to major towns and cities like Oxford, Bedford and Milton Keynes by rail. The planned service improvements will encourage more people to take the train, and will bring significant economic benefits to Central Bedfordshire by encouraging more businesses to start up and grow in our area. Today’s recommendation shows the Government that Central Bedfordshire is determined to support projects that stimulate growth.
“The Executive has made it very clear that it would prefer for the new Bedford to Oxford service to stop at Ridgmont station. I look forward to working with other authorities within the East West Rail Consortium, Network Rail, and the Department for Transport to achieve this.”
For more information about the East West Rail project, please visit www.eastwestrail.org.uk