About us


The East West Main Line Partnership (formerly the East West Rail Consortium) consists of local authorities which share the ambition for a strategic railway connecting East Anglia with central, southern and western England and into southern Wales. Its technical work over the years has been pivotal in making the strategic case for East West Rail.

Please note we are not responsible for the design and route of the scheme, nor its construction (see below).

Our history

The East West Main Line Partnership launched in September 2021, taking over from the East West Rail Consortium.

We’re immensely proud of all that the Consortium achieved in the years since it was established by Ipswich Borough Council in 1995 

Its technical work, including feasibility studies and business cases, played a fundamental role in establishing the initial basis for the scheme, on which subsequent work has been built by our partners in the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the East West Railway Company.

Throughout the development and delivery of the project, the East West Rail Consortium was pivotal in ensuring a close and strong working relationship between local authorities, the Department for Transport and Network Rail. The effectiveness of the working relationship is reflected in the level of support for East West Rail across the wider community.

The Main Line Partnership’s role

The East Main Line Partnership will continue the Consortium’s legacy.

It will champion the ambition for an East West Main Line, with our vision for it covering six key areas of interest:

  • Oxford-Cambridge: Working with our partners to support delivery at the earliest opportunity, and no later than 2030
  • Coast-to-coast connectivity: Realising opportunities east of Cambridge to Norwich and Ipswich; and west of Oxford to Swindon, Bristol and South Wales
  • North-south connectivity: Including the Aylesbury-Milton Keynes link and opportunities for new journeys using intersection with radial main lines
  • Interchange and strategic transport hubs: Frictionless interchange, including with other modes
  • A 21st century main line: Ensuring East West Rail supports the environment and the communities it serves. This includes making it electrified and ‘digitally-enabled’ from the start (providing digital connectivity to nearby communities). It must also be built with communities at its heart – with appropriate mitigation during construction, and quality local connectivity to stations when it is opened
  • Freight: Ensuring East West Rail contributes to the requirements of the national rail freight strategy, while also making the strongest case for prioritisation of the Felixstowe-Nuneaton corridor.

What we are not

The East West Main Line Partnership is not responsible for the design and route of the Oxford-Cambridge scheme – that is the responsibility of the East West Railway Company. The Company’s email address is contact@eastwestrail.co.uk

Nor is it responsible for the construction work which is currently ongoing between Bicester and Bletchley – that is the responsibility of the East West Rail Alliance. The Alliance’s email address is publicinformation@ewralliance.co.uk and its helpline is 03457 11 41 41.

Our governance and members

Our direction of travel is set by elected local authority representatives who sit on our Strategic Board. They are joined by representatives from sub-national transport bodies, local enterprise partnerships and government and its agencies.

The current Chair of the East West Main Line Partnership is Cllr Steve Broadbent (Buckinghamshire Council). There are two deputy chairs: Cllr Alexander Nicoll (Suffolk County Council) and Cllr Katie Thornburrow (Cambridge City Council).

Membership of the East West Main Line Partnership’s Strategic Board includes:

Local authorities (full members)
Babergh District Council
Bedford Borough Council
Buckinghamshire Council
Cambridge City Council
Cambridgeshire County Council
Central Bedfordshire Council
Cherwell District Council
East Suffolk Council
Hertfordshire County Council
Ipswich Borough Council
Mid Suffolk District Council
Milton Keynes Council
Norfolk County Council
North Hertfordshire District Council
Norwich City Council
Oxfordshire County Council
South Cambridgeshire District Council
Stevenage Borough Council
Suffolk County Council
West Suffolk Council
West Northamptonshire Council

Sub-national transport bodies
England’s Economic Heartland
Transport East
Western Gateway

Local enterprise partnerships
Buckinghamshire LEP
Hertfordshire LEP
New Anglia LEP
South East Midlands LEP

Government and its agencies
Department for Transport
East West Railway Company
East West Rail Alliance
Network Rail