Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has called on the Government to provide “clarity of purpose” on its East West Rail project. The railway would link Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes and other towns such as Bicester and Bletchley. In the Autumn Budget before Christmas, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced £20 million to develop a business case for the Bedford-Cambridge section of the route.
Mr Zeichner comments “I strongly welcome the long-overdue commitment to East West rail, and recognise the opportunities that could be provided by unlocking the transport arc between Oxford and Cambridge. However I think the Government really lack a vision on this – we desperately need to see more detail. After speaking to stakeholders over the last few weeks I am yet to be convinced that these plans are properly thought through.”
“Whenever I ask questions about the specifics of the railway’s purpose I get no answers. Is it private or public? This project must be for public good. Is it definitely a freight line, and why no electrification? It seems very strange to me for the Government to be embarking on this project without clear answers to these basic questions.”
Mr Zeichner also calls for answers over the intended aims of the railway. He asks “is this simply a route to unlocking housing, or is to to foster economic development in the region? Without a clear idea of what this project is for, I fear it’s in danger of coming off the rails.”