Our vision for east west rail is earning widespread support' says CBRR
A think tank is hoping to change the lack of public awareness around proposals for the Oxford-Cambridge railway.
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.
Since early July, CBRR have been meeting with parish councils in South Cambridgeshire to discuss their plans for an alternative route via Cambourne and Northstowe, which would bring new stations to the two areas.
But CBRR say that many people are not aware of plans for a rail link between the two cities let alone the route could might take.
Gamlingay county councillor Sebastian Kindersley, chairman of CBRR, told Cambridge Independent: “CBRR is already immensely grateful to all the local residents and parish councils who have attended our first round of presentations.
“We have had numerous offers of help from across the community; and it is clear that our message is widely supported. However, it is also clear that for the vast majority of people CBRR is the first organisation to draw their attention to the proposals around the Oxford-Cambridge Railway missing link.
“We are working hard to get our alternative proposal in front of as many people as we can so that public awareness is increased.”
CBRR argue that the preferred option for the missing link does not support the large existing population along the East West route, nor serve any proposed future developments like Bourn Airfield or expanding ones like Cambourne. Instead they say the route should utilise the A428 multimodal corridor.
Cllr Kinderley said: “Our ambition is to have our proposal for the Northern Route along the A428 corridor considered in the same way as those in the C-Corridor by the ultimate decision-makers.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the delivery of a major piece of national infrastructure right.”
The East West Rail scheme wants to re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford to improve connections between East Anglia and central, southern and western England.
For the first time in more than 50 years passengers would be able to travel directly between Oxford and Cambridge, unlocking the region’s housing potential and helping to grow its economy.
CBRR is led by two transport infrastructure civil engineers who have worked on projects in the UK and across the world. It will be holding several meetings over the next month with parish councils across the area, starting with Cambourne on September 4 and Milton on September 10. They will also be meeting with councils from Litlington, Coton. Shepreth and Great Gransden.
You can find CBRR on Facebook by searching CambBedRailRoad or on Twitter @CamBedRailRoad.
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.