East West Rail plans go on show at series of community events
A series of community events enabling the public to study and give feedback on the East West Rail plans are under way.
It follows the publication of the preferred route option for the section of the line that will run between Bedford and Cambridge.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, confirmed that it would include new stations at Cambourne and the area north of Sandy and south of St Neots.
The Hub in Cambourne will host the first of the community events on February 18, with Shelford Rugby Club following on February 25, then Little Gransden Village Hall on February 29.
Cambridge events will take place on March 20, at Ross Street Community Centre, and on March 30 at Webb Library, with other South Cambridgeshire events due to be held in Comberton and Barrington.
See below for the full list and times.
The East West Railway Company, which is devising the plans for the £5billion Oxford to Cambridge route on behalf of the government, said: “Everyone living and working in the area, or with an interest in the railway is invited to join the East West Railway Company team at any of the events we will be holding in February and March this year.
“You will be able to find out more about us, talk about the next steps for the railway, share your views, and meet experts.”
The decision to select a route via a new station at Cambourne, instead of the originally proposed route via Bassingbourn, has been welcomed by campaigners and councillors, who had called on East West Railway Company to provide a transport solution for the growing communities along the A428.
There was concern about the environmental damage the route would have caused if travelling via Bassingbourn and within site of the historic setting of Wimpole Hall.
But details of where the station may be sited in Cambourne, which has a sizeable nature reserve managed by the Wildlife Trust, have yet to be determined.
East West Railway Company’s outline route map suggests a southern location, but South Cambridgeshire’s Tory MP Anthony Browne and district councillor Ruth Betson have suggested the station would be better sited to the north of the town, serving the A428 corridor.
The route into Cambridge will also be subject of great interest, with villages west of Cambridge already concerned over proposals for a busway through fields near Coton.
East West Rail Company map suggests that from Cambourne the line could run north of Bourn, close to Toft and between the Eversdesn to the south and Comberton to the north.
Closer to Cambridge, the preferred route corridor is wider still, but it is suggested the line would run somewhere between Harston in the south and Trumpington in the north.
Assuming plans for a Cambridge South railway station on the Biomedical Campus are rubber-stamped as expected, the line would link up with this, providing ongoing access north to the city’s main station.
East West Railway Company has said it intends the railway to be a net zero carbon railway and has pledged to liaise with landowners over the route plans.
It has also pledged to achieve a net gain in biodiversity from the plans, but has yet to commit to the line being fully electrified.
The company said it chose the route following last year’s public consultation and the government will now make a final decision on proceeding with the line, which could be fully open by 2030.
It added: “Although these events are not a formal consultation, we want to get to know you better, and build a relationship based on trust, transparency and mutual respect.”
All the community events
- February 19: The Hub, Cambourne, CB23 6GW, 11.30am-3pm
- February 25: Shelford Rugby Club, CB22 5JJ, 1.30-5pm
- February 29: Little Gransden Village Hall, SG19 3DP, 11.30am-5pm
- March 6: The Priory Centre, St Neots, PE19 2BH, 2.30-7pm
- March 7: Great Barford Village Hall, MK44 3HA, 11.30am-3pm
- March 10: Ravensden Village Hall, MK44 2RL, 1.30-5pm
- March 13: Sandy Village Hall, SG19 1BN, 12.30-4pm
- March 16: Scott Hall, Bedford, MK42 0DS, 2.30-7pm
- March 19: Clapham Village Hall, MK41 6BP, 4-8.30pm
- March 20: Ross Street Community Centre, Cambridge, CB1 3UZ, 2.30-6pm
- March 24: Bedford Blues Rugby, MK40 3NF, 4-9pm
- March 28: Comberton Village Hall, CB23 7DY, 3.30-7pm
- March 30: Webb Library, Cambridge, CB5 8BJ, 11.30am-5pm
- March 31: Barrington Village Hall, CB22 7QX, 11am-3pm
More by this authorPaul Brackley