We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Rail Strategy sets out Mayor Dave’s priorities for Bedford Borough

June 8, 2022 11:32 AM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Mayor Dave Hodgson - MapBedford Borough Council has updated its Rail Strategy to take account of recent developments within the rail sector. The strategy outlines Mayor Dave's four priorities in order to deliver long-term sustainable growth and rail infrastructure for residents in Bedford Borough.

  • Delivering the new Wixams Station
  • Maximising the benefits of East West Rail, including opposing six tracks north of Bedford and calling for electrification from day one.
  • A new, sustainable transport hub at Bedford Midland Station
  • Improving Bedford's connectivity

Mayor Dave Hodgson said "This an important update to the strategy from 2019. As well as clearly setting out our priorities for rail in Bedford Borough and beyond, it also sets out our opposition to six track north of Bedford Midland and our frustration with how residents have been treated by the East West Rail Company. We have consistently campaigned to keep the existing four track entry and believe that our residents deserve better than repeated delays to decisions and inconsistent communications. It is unacceptable."

The new Wixams Station will provide an important transport connection for Wixams and the surrounding area when it opens in 2024. It will allow access to the rail network for passengers across a greater area, alleviating the pressure on Bedford Midland station and the car park there. Four Thameslink trains per hour will call at the station each way.

Councillor Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Rail, said "A new station has always been part of the plans for Wixams, and now that we are leading on the development, we are seeing great progress towards the planned opening in 2024."

On East West Rail, Councillor Headley added "The new railway line is an important opportunity for Bedford Borough - socially, economically and environmentally. It is essential for our Borough that we maximise these benefits. However, we cannot support some of the actions of the government's East West Rail Company, particularly their unnecessary proposal for extra tracks north of Bedford and the awful way they have treated people impacted by their proposals with unacceptable delays whilst the future of their homes is at risk. It's important to update our 2019 Strategy to reflect the current situation, including our concerns from the last EWR Company consultation that obviously only happened long after our last Strategy was published.

"EWR allows us to build new transport hubs, including a regeneration of the area around Bedford Midland. This will be a catalyst for the town centre, generating jobs and boosting the local economy. The railway will also provide huge environmental benefits, by replacing thousands of road journeys with a much more sustainable form of transport. To maximise these benefits, it is important that the line is electrified from day one - we have and will continue to lobby the EWR Company for this."

Mayor Dave Hodgson continued "Another key priority of this strategy is maximising the Borough's connectivity to other regions. We will continue to fight for much improved rail services to the Midlands and the North. Bedford Midland station could serve as a hub to six international airports and Eurostar services, all within 100 minutes. However, With East West Rail, it is essential that there are no further delays or unnecessary extra lines pushed forward by the East West Rail Company. All our residents, and especially those directly impacted, deserve better from the government and their East West Rail Company."