Northampton could have direct links to new London train station
One stretch of East-West Rail's western section could run from Northampton to London Marylebone in 2024.
The National Infrastructure Commission have released a report, which highlights that new links could help double the number of East-West Rail stations, meaning that 41 of the UK’s 65 cities will be one train stop away from each other.
Earlier on in December transport secretary, Chris Grayling, announced plans for the next stage of the rail link between Oxford and Cambridge.
Councillor Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “Representatives from the National Infrastructure Commission visited Northampton in October to see some of the excellent work that’s already been done, and to find out what more support we need.
“The Oxford Economics report identified east-west connectivity as one of Northampton’s main weaknesses, so this is something we’d clearly be keen to address.
As well as a stop in London, new links could see Northampton trains venturing to Oxford or Reading, as well as from Northampton to Aylesbury.
He adds: “Our geographical position – just an hour from London, Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham – places us in a unique position to add huge value to the region’s economy.
“And it seems the commission has taken note of our points and agrees that including Northampton in its wider growth corridor plans would be beneficial.”
The report identifies Northampton as a fundamental part of the Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge line, which could lead to the town being included in plans for the western section of East-West Rail.
The report could also determine support for a new north-west Northampton road as part of a series of developments, which the commission believes will improve connectivity and unlock the potential for more than 20,000 new homes.
Last month Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, announced in his autumn statement that he was backing the NIC’s recommendations.
He said: “This project can be more than just a transport link. It can become a transformational tech-corridor, drawing on the world-class research strengths of our two best-known universities.”
Motor-sport engineers, Cosworth have been picked out as an example of regional success, with sites in both Northampton and Cambridge.
The report identifies the company as “one of the most iconic businesses known internationally for its engines – in the cluster based in Northampton for over fifty years”.
The NIC is now starting work on its final report which will be published in autumn 2017.