Reopening the Railway to Haverhill
The Greater Cambridge City Deal commissioned and recently published a Cambridge to Haverhill Corridor viability report giving an early estimate of the Benefit to Cost Ratio.
The Benefit to Coast Ratio (BCR) in the study is around half than needed to hit the figure of 2.0 needed for the scheme to be considered viable. However, the study only presents a very early analysis of the BCR and there are numerous reasons why it will substantially increase with further study. The analysis can be read here:
- The capital costs have been assumed to be around twice the cost per mile compared to other recent reopenings
- The capital cost contains a very high figure of 60% for risk and contingency
- The study assumes an expensive route to the centre of Haverhill; other lower cost options should be studied
- Passenger growth has been assumed to be low with the figure for 15 years given as 15%, whereas rail travel to Cambridge has seen growth of 25% in the last 5 years alone
- Haverhill’s population is expected to increase by over 30% by 2025 which again makes the study’s modest 15% increase look very pessimistic
- The wider economic benefits have not yet been assessed. This typically adds an additional 15% of benefits
- A figure of 28% for the modal share for rail into Cambridge could be pessimistic as Ely has a figure of 40%
- Variations of the route could draw in additional passengers, for example a direct connection to the major employment centre at Hinxton Hall along with reduced journey times to Stansted and London (although at the cost of journey times to Cambridge)
- There are a number of other rail schemes which are due to be delivered in the next 10 years, for example the East West Rail link from Cambridge to Oxford, which will magnify the benefits of the Haverhill scheme. A proposed new station at Addenbrooke’s will provide significant additional journey time benefits to rail passengers from a reopened Haverhill line
When the multitude of factors above are taken into account by further studies, the BCR will increase substantially and into the region above 2.0 which will allow this valuable scheme to go ahead and benefit Haverhill for generations into the future.
The viability study itself can be viewed here:
Railfuture East Anglia supports the aspiration to reopen the Railway from Haverhill to a junction at Shelford enabling a fast train service from Haverhill to Cambridge and Cambridge Science Park to operate, and is supporting the work of the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project to achieve this:
A petition is being gathered to support this reopening in conjunction with Rail Haverhill. The petition is now opened and can be signed here:
Leaflets are being distributed to households along the route to help gather support.
The leaflet can be downloaded here:
Read the Cambridge News coverage here.
Request to the Cambridge City Deal Assembly to commission Rail Haverhill study
At the meeting of the Cambridge City Deal Assembly on 7th October 2015, the Assembly were asked by Rail Haverhill to support the commissioning of a study to assess the viability of a reopened railway to Haverhill.
Here is the text of the question:
"One focus of the Cambridge City Deal is reducing congestion on the A1307 corridor between Haverhill and Cambridge. This suffers from congestion particularly in Linton and also closer in to Cambridge.
Railfuture has analysed the 2011 census travel to work data and this shows that the majority of people heading along this corridor work in Cambridge and in the cluster of science parks to the south east of Cambridge including Granta Park, the Babraham Institute and the Genome Campus.
Although some road based improvements are proposed, it is the reinstatement of the railway which will provide the long term, high quality, permanent solution to the problem.
The population of Haverhill is predicted to reach 50000 in the medium future and the reinstated railway would soon be thriving as it serves not just Haverhill but all the main employment centres in Cambridge and south east Cambridge, benefitting from next year's opening of Cambridge North station by Cambridge Science Park, the future station at Addenbrooke's and the significant expansion of Granta Park.
Fortunately the trackbed of the railway is largely unobstructed making the reopening relatively straightforward. There is also a large amount of public and political support for the scheme, with over 2000 people already having signed the Rail Haverhill petition, mainly from Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. Assembly members please note, over 2000 residents of Cambridgeshire and Essex are speaking to you. There is considerable support for a railway from business too.
This long term goal is the clear solution but is beyond the individual funding levels provided by the City Deal tranche 1. This does not mean that the City Deal cannot help this scheme happen. The people of Haverhill through their support for the Railfuture and Rail Haverhill proposed reopening ask for the Cambridge City Deal to fund an initial feasibility study which will establish the prospects for rail on this corridor and enable a long term plan to be developed which will ultimately unlock the local, regional and national funding needed to make this happen."
Bringing the trains back to HaverhillRailfuture presentation to public meeting in Haverhill
Peter Wakefield from Railfuture East Anglia presented the case for the reopening of the railway from Haverhill to Shelford for through services to Cambridge and Cambridge Science Park at a well attended public meeting in Haverhill organised by Rail Haverhill and The Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project. A straw poll at the meeting showed unanimous support for a railway now and none for a busway.
Transcript of the presentation:
What is the purpose of transport....??
Any proposal for new investment must have an economic purpose. So what would a new railway be for? So let us be clear!
It will help create jobs and help grow industry.
It will give choice to those already making a journey to existing jobs. It could improve their quality of life.
It should improve access to education and learning, so important in developing our future economy.
It would improve access to leisure activities that are an important part of the economy and quality of life.
Every improvement for the economy that supports our society supports us as individuals too.
Those without access to cars will enjoy a freedom and independence currently denied to them. Those with access to cars will have a high quality choice. This availability of choice will lead to other societal gains...fewer carbon emissions, less air pollution, fewer deaths and injuries on the road. Less congestion and wasted time.
What is the current need?
The A1307 is at over capacity at travel to/from work times. This has can be addressed by providing more road capacity and in some places this will be necessary. However, capacity at destinations such as Cambridge and Haverhill itself will be difficult to provide and in some cases impossible.
An alternative to road is also required and that can only be provided by a high quality railway reinstatement. A railway because of its ability to provide "volume and velocity" in a way no other mode can provide. Remember that the population of Haverhill is set to rise to nigh on 40000 in 15 years time. There will be new settlements as well as extensions to those existing en route to Cambridge. Cambridge will continue its journey to becoming a major core city.
The nature of the jobs being created in and around Cambridge is such that high-end skills are called for. These skills tend to be dispersed rather than concentrated and so good fast train services are needed to get the possessors of those skills to their work place. Many such people travel from London each day to Cambridge and Granta Park etc.. and Haverhill will need the railway NETWORK to get the people it need to work in its science parks.
So what will a railway provide for Haverhill......
Haverhill is just 15 railway miles to Shelford station on the Cambridge to Liverpool Street mainline then 2 miles to the site of the future Addenbrookes station, 1 1/4 more to Cambridge station, then 2 3/4 miles into the about to be built Cambridge Science Park station....21miles all told from Haverhill to Cambridge Science Park station. It is not a transcontinental railway!
It worth reflecting at this point how long the current peak journey times for those destinations are.
Buses are timetabled in the order of 20 to 30 mins from Cambridge station to the Science Park but in the peak can take 45 minutes to an hour. To get from Cambridge station to the Science Park in the peak ...a train will take 2 minutes. The bus journey from Haverhill to Cambridge takes over an hour even off peak, and over an hour and a half to the Science Park requiring a change of bus; it would be less than 25 mins by rail.
The new railway will be well positioned to provide a high quality service from the important centres on this corridor not only in the Cambridge direction to the three of the most important business hubs in the Cambridge region AND it will bring people fast to Granta Park, Abington, Linton and Haverhill in the opposite direction. There will be a two way flow to make the provision of such a high quality link financially viable.
It will also have the potential for the line to be linked into a reopened railway beyond Haverhill as a route into Essex/Suffolk ..it is just 16 miles further on to the existing railway at Sudbury. This is would make a direct railway route from Cambridge to Colchester...and would immensely improve the connectivity of Haverhill.
We believe it is essential that the route is reopened as a railway rather than being converted into a section of a Guided Busway. The Guided Busway is limited as it is impossible to provide a guideway along streets, thus congestion will remain in the urban core. The existing southern Guided Busway from Cambridge station to Addenbrookes cannot take double-decked buses owing to the very low underpass under Hills Road.
We emphasise that the railway exists from Shelford to the Science Park...an invaluable asset and Haverhill and places en route to Shelford Junction must stake their claim to a share of it.
Initial stations with supporting park and ride, must be planned for Haverhill, Linton and Abingdon (for Granta Park) and associated new housing.
Only a modern electrified railway is capable way of getting from Haverhill to the Science Park in Cambridge in about 20 /25 minutes. And, of course vice versa, to Granta Park and Haverhill. All at an acceptable cost.
The time has come for the people of Haverhill to determine what sort of future they want for their town.
Should they continue to live in the largest town in East Anglia without a rail service?
Do they wish to be forever at the mercy of movements in world oil prices and the price of road fuel?
Do they want to be a 'stranded community' with none of the mobility benefits that people in similar towns take for granted?
Or do they want to grasp this opportunity to claim their share in our nation’s economy.
Railfuture East Anglia’s response to Haverhill in the draft local transport plan
The Haverhill to Cambridge transport corridor is described starting on Page 5-12 of the local transport strategy:
The railway is well positioned to provide a high quality service from the important centres on this corridor not only in the Cambridge direction to three of the most important business hubs in the
Cambridge region, but also having the potential for line to be reopened beyond Haverhill as a route into Essex. We note that this route branches off the current rail network at Shelford some five miles to the south of Cambridge Science Park railway station, and that along this 5 miles are the increasingly important business hubs around Cambridge station, the Science Park station as well as the hub around Addenbrookes.
To leave all the options above open it is essential that route is reopened as a railway rather than being converted into a section of Guided Busway. Initial stations, also supporting park and ride, must be planned for Haverhill, Linton and Abingdon (for Granta Park).