This is a National Infrastructure Project with clear Central Government support which is intended to facilitate east-west travel and to bring economic benefits to the area between Oxford and Cambridge (the “Oxford-Cambridge Arc”).

Oxford Cambridge ARC map


This is a National Infrastructure Project with clear Central Government support which is intended to facilitate east-west travel and to bring economic benefits to the area between Oxford and Cambridge (the “Oxford-Cambridge Arc”).  The sections between Oxford and Bicester, between Bletchley and Bedford, between Cambridge and Norwich and between Cambridge and Ipswich are all in use, though not operated or badged as East-West Rail.  Between Bicester and Bletchley, the old trackbed has been preserved and will be reinstated.  This leaves Bedford to Cambridge as the only stretch where the line will traverse ‘virgin’ territory.

A company – East West Rail Company Ltd – has been set up to plan the project and oversee its delivery.  For brevity we use EWR to refer to both the line and the company in this website.

EWR undertook a non-statutory consultation which resulted in the “Option E” corridor being chosen in January 2020 as the route between Bedford and Cambridge.  Option E serves Cambourne and approaches Cambridge from the south.

A second non-statutory consultation was undertaken in March to June 2021 to examine detailed route alignments along the Option E corridor.

EWR Overview Map

In March 2021, the preferred route option was published.  Please see Consultation section below.

  • EWR has published preferred routes and commenced consultation on these.  The Bedford to Cambridge section is proposed to come through Great Shelford using the Kings Cross line.
  • The organisation CamBedRailRoad (CBRR) has proposed a route from Cambourne following the A428 corridor and then approaching Cambridge from the north via a station at Northstowe and the existing Cambridge North station.  We refer to this as “the northern route” below.
  • The CBRR route is supported by local action groups, including one in the Shelfords and a larger group called Cambridge Approaches.
  • Anthony Browne MP is in favour of obliging EWR to re-examine and consult on the northern route.
  • In the event that EWR refuses to fully examine this northern route, Cambridge Approaches intends to launch a legal effort to force a Judicial Review and this action is supported by GSPC and other local parishes.

GSPC's Parish Consultation

Results of GSPC EWR Survey June 21

Thank you for responding to EWR Consultation from EWR Co.

Two information and consultation events have been held to date:

  • An open meeting hosted by the Parish Council and including Anthony Browne MP, in December 2020
  • An extraordinary Parish Council meeting in January 2021 considered available information relating EWR’s detailed route alignment.

Route alignments have been announced by EWR (April 2021) and public consultation online and via online events was held between April and June 2021.

GSPC Summary of EWR Consultation Documents

Current Position

Great Shelford Parish Council takes issue with the Option E route corridor being selected without proper consideration of the alternatives and believes that EWR should undertake analysis and full public consultation on a northern route.

GSPC notes the cumulative impact of current infrastructure projects in our locality.

All route options through Great Shelford will have a net detrimental impact on the village.

We responded in detail to the 2021 Non-Statutory Consultation.

We have pledged £25,000 to Cambridge Approaches to represent GSPC’s position in a Judicial Review.

GSPC is engaging fully in EWR’s new Local Representatives Groups, which are groups of local representatives that have been formed to provide feedback to EWR regarding the project.  Our group includes nearby Parish Councils including Harston, Little Shelford, Hauxton and Newton, plus Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council elected representatives.  The Local Representatives Groups are expected to meet every quarter.

As of March 2022, EWR believes that it will publish the report regarding the results of its 2021 non statutory consultation in Summer 2022.

Communications Policy re. EWR

Great Shelford Parish Council will:

  • Publish EWR’s preferred route alignment(s) and any further proposals on the council’s website and notice boards as soon as it is available.
  • Explain the council’s position to the district and county council, the Mayor, the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, our local MP, and candidates for the forthcoming local elections and solicit their support.
  • Work with Cambridge Approaches to ensure that if it is necessary to spend money pledged to them, this is done wisely and to the greatest effect.
  • Inform residents of the GSPC position and provide links to the EWR, Cambridge Approaches and CamBedRailRoad websites.
  • Engage with the media to present our position.  The Chair of the Parish Council will coordinate these actions and will act as spokesperson for the parish council on EWR matters.

Key Points leading to GSPC’s Position

  • GSPC believes it was not consulted effectively by EWR on this project during the 2000 Non-Statutory Consultation after which the critical decision to adopt Option E as the preferred route option was taken.
  • The 2021 Non-Statutory Consultation states that a grade separated junction at Shepreth Branch Junction is being considered by EWR.  GSPC is concerned that this would cause significant environmental damage to the village.
  • At present, the line is planned as non-electrified.  This means that unless new sources of traction power emerge, EWR trains will be diesel-powered, with the attendant noise and particulate pollution.
  • It is not yet certain whether the line will be freight-compatible, and this is not EWR’s decision.  However, as it features in Network Rail’s freight strategy, we should envisage that the line will carry freight, and because of the loading on the lines around Cambridge, it is likely to run at night.
  • As things stand, there is no net benefit to the village from EWR.  This imbalance between benefits and disadvantages has led GSPC to oppose Option E (the current route alignment) and support a new review and full public consultation of the northern route.
  • Detailed route alignment options being considered by EWR outside Great Shelford, but which will influence us, are a cause for concern including road closures in Little Shelford and Harston.
  • At present, the business case for EWR is uncertain and the Benefit-Cost Ratio may not meet Treasury rules for such a project.