East-West Rail

31st January 2020

Improving connectivity in our part of the world was one of my first pledges when I began campaigning to be the MP for Mid Norfolk back in 2007.

We know only too well that there has been a historic lack of investment in Norfolk and the East and, while the dualling of the A11, increasing broadband speeds and the first round of committed works for A47 improvements have all been positive steps forward, there is clearly much more that still needs to be done.

That’s why I’m delighted to announce today that the Government is committing to the next stage of the East-West Rail project – by building a new line from Bedford to Cambridge to boost our East-West connectivity from Norwich-Cambridge-Oxford-Swindon (or what I call the “East-West Innovation Arc”!).

Delivered via an innovative new East-West Railway Company, this new line will significantly improve connectivity between two of our country’s fastest growing innovation hubs (Oxford and Cambridge), and many of the communities in between – better linking them to some of our nation’s most important commuter lines too. It will also raise funds through housing development and entrepreneurial growth – funds that will then be reinvested into train and track to improve services and reopen Beeching lines closed in the 1960s. This, in turn, will drive forward connectivity improvements for many more rural towns and villages – communities that so often feel they have been left behind.

By better connecting our part of the world to this “Innovation Arc”, we can fully unlock the potential of the NRP and Norfolk’s world leading Life Science and Agri-Tech businesses. We can also boost the prosperity of all those industries along the A11 Tech Corridor – bringing more jobs and investment to Norfolk!

Ultimately, I would like to reopen the Wymondham-Dereham line to commuter trains once again – hopefully extending even further to Fakenham, and beyond! I also want to regenerate both Wymondham and Attleborough Stations, along with the land around them, to turn them into accessible hubs with superfast 5G that businesses want to meet at, and where commuters feel they really are using a 21st century transport network. This model being pioneered by the East-West Rail project is the key to making those aims a reality!

It will also ensure that new development is properly planned in new towns and villages connected directly to the transport network – as I have long called for at Mildenhall. Gone will be the days of dumping housing estates on rural communities with little thought for those that will live in them or those that already live there!

These are hugely exciting times and, as a former Business Minister and someone deeply passionate about the East, I am determined to do all I can to ensure WE can share in this boost to prosperity.


To learn more, and to see my historic work in his area, please visit my website here and follow the links below:

East-West Rail Consortium website: here

  • Article –  ‘A landmark moment’: Consortium delight as ‘central section’ route is announced”: here
  • BBC News coverage: here
  • My call for a Regional Railway Company back in 2012: here
  • Launch of East Anglian Rail Prospectus in 2012: here
  • Web-story on my work to improve Wymondham Station: here
  • My Cambridge-Norwich Tech Corridor video: here

East-West Rail Map

George Freeman MP - East-West Rail  George Freeman MP - Cambridge Station

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