Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

East-West rail link views sought

Multi-million pound plans for a new rail line linking the East of England with the west of the country have gone before a regional assembly.

The proposals, which could see Norwich, Ipswich and/or Stansted Airport linked to Bedford or Luton, have been proposed by the East West Rail Consortium.

Once in Bedfordshire, trains would go through to stations such as Oxford, Reading and Swindon under the plans.

The East of England Regional Assembly said it supported the link.

The plans are out to consultation until 31 March and more information is available on the consortium's website.

The consortium report proposes two ways to link up rail services.

New route

The first would link Norwich and Ipswich via Cambridge through a new railway line from the East Coast Main Line at Sandy to Bedford.

Once at Bedford trains would go through to stations in the west including Oxford, Reading and Swindon.

This option would cost about 250m.

The second option would link Norwich and Ipswich via Hitchin and a new route would be built between Stevenage and Luton.

From Luton trains would use the Midlands Main Line north, before linking to the Bedford to Bletchley line and on to other stations in the west.

This option, which could also include a link to Stansted Airport, would cost about 300m.

The consortium aims to put together a full feasibility study by 2010 and then seek government support.

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