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Support shown for Cambridge underground rail service

By Ben Comber

Train passing by in Subway station. Picture by Marc Dufresne
Train passing by in Subway station. Picture by Marc Dufresne

The 'Isaac Newton Line' would run for 3.27km under the historic city.

Cambridge Connect online survey

72% of respondents considered buses should not be the main form of public transport in Cambridge (14% unsure, 14% in favour).

74% considered Light Rail with an underground component in the historic city centre would be a good investment (16% unsure, 10% against).

On the question of whether busways should be built into the city centre to enable buses to travel faster there was mixed opinion, with 48% opposed and 40% in support (12% unsure).

73% of respondents lived either in Cambridge City or in the South Cambridgeshire District (26% elsewhere in the UK, 2% elsewhere in Cambridgeshire).

The Light Rail line would be 21.76km in total, stretching from the Girton Interchange to Granta Park, with a second branch running to Trumpington.

The proposal comes as the result of an online survey by Cambridge Connect, who set up in March this year.

The Isaac Newton Line would run along 18 stops, via the University West Campus, City Centre, Cambridge Central Rail Station, Addenbrookes Hospital and the Biomedical Campus, Great Shelford and Sawston, with potential extensions anticipated to serve Cambridge Science Park, Fulbourn, Cambourne, Haverhill and Waterbeach.

Cambridge Connect estimate it could take as little as 3.3 minutes from Cambridge Central Station to reach Market Square on the underground section.

Cambridge Connect Isaac Newton Line with three proposed extensions.

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Cambridge Connect Isaac Newton Line with three proposed extensions. Cambridge Connect Isaac Newton Line with regional extensions. Cambridge Connect Isaac Newton Line.

The Isaac Newton Line is estimated to cost £626m. With three further extention lines it would provide 36 stops in the city, with an 8.13km underground, at a cost of just under £1.3 billion.

For perspective, Connect Cambridge have highlighted the cost of the A14 inprovements which came to £1.5 billion.

Most respondents to the online survey said they were either 'Highly likely' or 'Likely' to use the light rail line frequently, with only a few respondents replying they would be unlikely to use the service.

Around a third of respondents were in the 30-44 age bracket, with half over 45, and 16% younger than 30. There was a 60/40 split in male to female respondents, with about half being in professional occupations.

Speed was noted to be the most important potential benefit of rail line, with reliability and frequency of services, convenience, comfort and ease of access also regarded of high importance. Wi-fi and the ability to take bikes on board were of relatively less importance.


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