East West Rail Company (EWR Co) has appointed a multi-disciplinary planning, economics, environmental and engineering team led by Arup to support early works.
A decision is expected later this year on the preferred route for the Bedford to Cambridge section, which was recently designated a nationally significant infrastructure project by the government. This means that, following consultation, EWR Co will be able to apply for a development consent order (DCO) to authorise the project.
Once the preferred route has been selected, the Arup-led consortium will support EWR Co with a range of work including critical route alignment design and assessment, public consultation work and factual studies to inform strategic decision making.
When completed, the line from Oxford to Cambridge will serve Bicester, Milton Keynes, Bedford and communities in between. The line is designed to encourage development across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
This is East West Rail’s first major support contract and is said to represent a significant step forward for the scheme.
Simon Blanchflower, chief executive of East West Railway Company, said: “I am delighted that we’ve made this appointment now, because it will enable us to keep working at pace as soon as the preferred route has been selected later this year. Our project has a unique business model and we wanted to appoint an engineering partner as committed as we are to test out new ways of working on the UK’s most exciting new railway project. East West Rail will bring much-needed infrastructure to the communities we serve, responding to local plans to help unlock real economic opportunities, creating jobs and improved access to housing. We’re also committed to protecting the environment by finding approaches to delivery that minimise environmental impacts and actually create opportunities for biodiversity benefits.”