Cambridge North railway station finally opens
It is hoped Cambridge's second station will ease congestion as it serves commuters in the north of the city.
The long-awaited Cambridge North railway station has finally opened its doors to passengers – 14 years after it was first proposed.
After several delays over the years, the public finally got the chance to use the city’s second station, which will serve Cambridge Science and Business Parks, as well as the suburb of Chesterton, when timetabled trains began running on Sunday (May 21, 2017).
Built at a cost of £44million, the facilities include a 450 sq m (4,800sq ft) station, comprising a passenger waiting area, toilets, ticket office, retail and amenity space, and staff accommodation.
A spokesperson for train operator Greater Anglia, which will manage the station, said: “It’s fantastic news for Cambridge.It’s a massive investment in Cambridgeshire as not every town or city gets a new station.
“Having made several visits from Cambridge North to Cambridge by cycle or car, it’s so much quicker to go on the train.
“Because it is easy access from the A14 and A10, hopefully it will relieve congestion in the city centre. It will be easy for people who live in villages north of the city to come to the new station, park and get a train into the city centre or to go to Norwich or London.”
The station has been built with a Cambridge influence. The aluminium cladding of the building has been perforated into a pattern derived from John Horton Conway’s ‘Game of Life’, a cellular automaton he devised while a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
A bridge links the station building with the two 254m (833ft) platforms, each capable of accommodating 12-car trains.
The easternmost platform faces the up line of the Fen Line, while the second platform is an island platform with the down Fen Line on one side and a south-facing bay platform on the other.
Two relaid freight lines for Lafarge run next to the bay platform.
Interchange facilities are provided in the form of a 450-space car park, a cycle space for 1,000 bikes which will be protected by a CCTV security system, new pedestrian and vehicular access from Cowley Road and a 1km (0.62mi) extension of the guided busway from Milton Road.
The station will be served by trains operated by Great Northern and Greater Anglia. CrossCountry services and some express trains will pass through the station without stopping.
In the morning rush hour, there will be four trains an hour to London: three to King’s Cross and one to Liverpool Street.
In the opposite direction, there will be two trains an hour to Ely and one continuing onto Norwich.
Thameslink is proposing that Great Northern services between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn will call at the station from May next year.
This will provide an additional fast service to London and regular connections to Waterbeach and Downham Market.
But when Cambridge is added to the Thameslink network in May 2018, it is suggested that the stopping service to London will be replaced by a twice-hourly fast service to Brighton via Cambridge, St Pancras, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Burgess Hill.
The name, Cambridge North, emerged from a consultation carried out by the city council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.
Other suggestions included Chesterton Interchange and the Stephen Hawking Cambridge Science Park.
The station project has been funded by the Department for Transport and developed by Network Rail in partnership with the county council.
Ticket prices and times
On weekdays, the first non-stop service to London will leave at 05.40 and arrive at King’s Cross at 06.36 – a journey time of 58 minutes.
The next fast train to the capital leaves at 12.11, followed by further services at 11 minutes past the hour until 15.11. The last fast, direct train to King’s Cross leaves at 21.39.
In the opposite direction, the first non-stop, direct train from King’s Cross to Cambridge North station leaves at 06.44 and is followed by others at 14 minutes after the hour from 10am to 5pm and one at 19.14, with the last three leaving at 21.14 and 22.14 and 22.44.
As for prices, an annual season ticket from Cambridge North to King’s Cross or Liverpool Street ranges from a standard price of £4,780 to £7,648 for first class. A monthly season ticket costs £458.90 while a weekly ticket is £119.50.
The cheapest London fare is through Greater Anglia, with an advance single costing £7. However, an anytime single could cost almost £30.
A single throughout the day between Cambridge North and King’s Cross will cost £23.60, but a 16- or 25-car train could reduce this to £15.60. Off-peak is £24.60 and an anytime return is £40.50.
Cambridge North to Liverpool Street on Greater Anglia is £7-£13 for advance singles while anytime singles cost £23.60-£28.50. An off-peak day return is £24.60 while it is £40.50 for an anytime return.