New station for north Chelmsford could open by 2022 as agreement signed

Artist's impression of Beaulieu Railway Station

Artist's impression of Beaulieu Railway Station - Credit: Archant

Proposals to build a new railway station in north Chelmsford took a leap forward this week as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by key partners.

Memorandum of Understanding signed in support of Beaulieu Railway Station.
(L-R) (front) Councillor

Memorandum of Understanding signed in support of Beaulieu Railway Station. (L-R) (front) Councillor Rodney Bass, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Councillor Paul Hutchinson, The Mayor of Chelmsford, Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of New Homes and Communities, Countryside (back) Rob Fairhead, Senior Programme Development Manager, Network Rail, Adam Simpson, Regeneration and JV Equity Director at L&Q - Credit: Paul Starr

A new station has been on the cards for Beaulieu for a number of years, as part of plans for 3,600 new homes, primary and secondary schools, and other development to make a new neighbourhood.

On Monday Network Rail and developers Countryside Zest were joined by Chelmsford Mayor Paul Hutchinson and Essex county councillor for infrastructure Rodney Bass to sign the MoU.

The memorandum sets out the principles of collaboration between the groups and their commitment to delivery of the station.

It is anticipated the station will open in 2022, not only serving the new development but reducing congestion in Chelmsford city centre as some of the eight million passengers who use the central station will instead use Beaulieu.

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Steve Hooker, Network Rail area director, said: “This new station will be a huge boost to people in Chelmsford and help to unlock growth in this part of East Anglia. It will provide fantastic facilities for passengers and help take pressure off the main station and reduce congestion in the city.”

Mr Bass added: “The county council is committed to the provision of supporting infrastructure to both the road and rail networks to serve Chelmsford and the broader needs of mid-Essex. This new railway station at Beaulieu will be the first for many years on the Great Eastern Main Line and will provide further significant growth to the city.

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“We very much welcome the progress being made and are determined to ensure Beaulieu Station complements existing stations.”

The MoU does not explicitly talk about a new passing loop on the main railway line, necessary to reduce track congestion and speed up journey times between London and Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich. However, the new station will strengthen the case for it.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Last November we published the Anglia Route Study which considered how the railway can continue to accommodate huge growth in demand up to 2043.

“The study identified significantly increased demand on Great Eastern Main Line outer suburban and Norwich services, and for additional services from the Chelmsford area.

“As part of our long-term planning we are continuing to develop proposals, including new passing loops between Witham and Colchester.”

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