Bedford station 'should have a new platform to serve fast trains to London'

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Bedford train station should have a fast line platform for London, according to Network Rail.

It made the recommendation in its Bedford Area Strategic Advice – which looks at the medium to long-term rail requirements for the Bedford area – and has been welcomed by the council.

The study has identified improvements required to meet the town’s needs, after taking into account a number of factors including safety, resilience and performance, proposed railway projects, government policy and local and national rail strategies.

Bedford train stationBedford train station
Bedford train station
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The key constraints identified in the report are platform capacity at Bedford train station – and it recommends that Bedford railway station should have a new platform to serve fast trains to London.

The report also advises the East West Rail Company a London-specific platform would free up space on the slow lines north of Bedford.

This supports the council's view that north of Bedford station need not be demolished to make way for additional East West Rail lines.

Cllr Michael Headley, portfolio holder for rail, said: “Bedford Borough Council very much welcomes these recommendations from Network Rail, which line up with our own Rail Strategy relaunched earlier this year.

“A fast line platform for London bound services is crucial as it will mean more trains can stop at Bedford as well as freeing up additional capacity on the slow lines.

“It's also encouraging that Network Rail is asking the East West Rail Company to look again at using this additional capacity on the existing slow lines with this additional platform.

"As we have long argued, this is infinitely better than adding additional tracks that would lead to the demolition of people's homes, which we strongly oppose.”

The recommendations identified by Network Rail are:

A new London-bound fast line platform be built at Bedford station

East West Rail explore opportunities afforded by a fast platform and subsequent removal of fast trains from the slow lines at Bedford

A further study be undertaken to review the best use of capacity on the Midland Main Line south of East Midlands Parkway in the light of information included in the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands

Improvements be made to station facilities and gate line capacity as part of the planned East West Rail redevelopment of Bedford station