Full steam ahead as council steps in to get Wixams railway station plans back on track

Dave Hodgson and Charlie Royden at Wixams
Dave Hodgson and Charlie Royden at Wixams

Wixams Rail Station is back on track, after council bosses put together a new deal to replace the missing government funding.

The station has been long promised for the new town, but the original planning deal failed to secure a concrete deal to pay for it.

A £14million funding gap meant that there were doubts about whether the station would actually come to pass, but Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson has now stepped in to find the cash.

He said: “This is a crucial facility for Wixams and we cannot let this station just be lost to the community.

“I know from speaking to local residents just how important this is for so many people. That’s why, while it isn’t the job of councils to build railways stations and that was never intended in this case, I am stepping to make it our business.

“We will make sure residents get the station they were promised.”

Wixams Station will be on the Thameslink line, with services to and from London.

The original planning agreement for Wixams did not make the delivery of a station a condition of the development; instead the developers would contribute less than half the estimated cost.

It was intended that the rest would be funded nationally. However the government, via Network Rail, has failed to back the project since work began on Wixams in 2007.

Now the project will be included in Bedford Borough Council’s capital budget, following the publication of proposals this week.

The council expects to fund the oustanding cost by borrowing money and then recovered that cash in income received through rail fares.

Mayor Dave added: “The station should have been made a condition of the development back when planning permission was awarded. It wasn’t, and in the absence of progress previously, we’re acting to make Wixams station a reality.”

The proposal to include the project in the council’s capital programme will be considered by the council executive meeting on Wednesday (September 19).