New route for East West railway line put forward
It must connect to developments along A428', say campaigners
New railway stations would be created at Cambourne and Northstowe under a proposed route connecting Cambridge and Bedford on the East West railway line.
Community-based think tank CamBedRailRoad (CBRR) has designed and is championing an alternative vision to fill the ‘missing link’ in the Oxford to Cambridge Knowledge Arc transport scheme.
There has not yet been a decision over the route between Bedford and Cambridge, with the East West Rail Company and Network Rail’s current preferred route running through Sandy via Bassingbourn, Whaddon, Meldreth and joining the existing line to Cambridge at Shepreth.
CBRR chairman Sebastian Kindersley said: “Our route connects a whole load of settlements in the area. It’s hard not to see the advantages of that versus a new link between Sandy and Shepreth, which isn’t going to add a single rail journey for anyone locally.”
CBRR argues that the preferred option does not provide sustainability for 50,000 approved new houses and the large existing population along the East West route, nor serve any proposed future developments like Bourn Airfield or expanding ones like Cambourne. They argue that what it does do is cut a massive swathe of destruction through the countryside instead of utilising a multimodal corridor like the A428.
The group admits its scheme would be more expensive but points out that it could also help to facilitate delivery of a Cambridge South station, as well as connecting Cambridge North to a wider network.
CBRR will be taking its scheme out and about and will be consulting with residents and local authorities before making the case to the government that its option should be considered.
The group is led by two transport infrastructure civil engineers who have worked on projects in the UK and across the world.
It is understood that the preferred option for the final Oxford-Cambridge East West Rail link will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2018.
More by this authorGemma Gardner