East Anglia Cambridgeshire


Rail projects for the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Railfuture East Anglia have produced a leaflet which highlights some of the rail projects required to meet future growth in rail use for both passengers and freight in Cambridgeshire.

We have contacted the candidates for the Cambridgeshire Combined Authority Mayor and challenged them to work with the Government and rail industry to ensure an early delivery of these schemes with improvement to the complex rail junction north of Ely as the priority.

Rail use in Cambridgeshire has doubled in recent years for and the planned new housing will add further pressure on the rail network. There is a need for extra capacity, new services and station improvements. The new Combined Authority Mayor for Cambridgeshire provides an opportunity to get new rail schemes delivered quickly to provide people with an alternative to using a car for many business and leisure trips.

The leaflet can be downloaded here:

Cambridgeshire Transport Strategy

Railfuture East Anglia have responded to the Cambridgeshire County Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council consultation on the Draft Transport Strategy for East Cambridgeshire expressing support for the strategy and strongly backng the following major scheme proposals:
  • Soham area rail infrastructure improvements;
  • Soham railway station;
  • Ely North junction rail improvements;
  • Reinstatement of the Newmarket West Curve railway line.
The response is here:

Two major contribitions to the future of rail transport in Cambridgeshire are “Once in a generation – A rail prospectus for East Anglia” which brings together a strong cross-party and multi-agency alliance vision, and the “Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire” which is being developed by Cambridgeshire County Council in conjunction with South Cambridge District Council and Cambridge City Council.

“Once in a generation – A rail prospectus for East Anglia” can be downloaded here:

“Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire” is described hhere:
and a draft copy (November 2014) can be downlaoded here:

Railfuture East Anglia is promoting a number of rail based schemes in Cambridgeshire which will contribute to Cambridgeshire and Cambridge transport strategies including:
Reopening the railway from March to Wisbech
Linking Cambridge to Oxford via an East West rail link
Reopening the railway to Haverhill
Opening stations at Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge Science Park, Cherry Hinton, Fulbourn and Soham

Railfuture Response

We welcome the Draft Transport Strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire and support the planned and potential rail developments described in the document. However there are a number of areas where we would suggest rail could be given a stronger, or more certain role. These are described in more detail in the following pages.

High Quality Transport Corridors

We note that Figure 4.1 on page 4-3 lists the main transport corridors and how High Quality public transport could be provided by Rail. The following future services should be expected:
• Ely and Waterbeach to Cambridge. This route already has 3 trains an hour Monday to Saturday giving and metro-like service. Planned service improvements will double service provision though platform extensions are needed at Waterbeach and Littleport to maximise capacity.
• Newmarket to Cambridge has a successful hourly service currently but with track doubling and some new station provision could be used by 4 or 5 services per hour each way which could support a half hourly Cambridge to Ipswich service, and a half hourly Cambridge to Ely via Soham service.
• Saffron Walden (serving Audley End) to Cambridge already has a minimum service of 3 trains per hour with service enhancements already planned. Platforms are already long enough to accommodate expected train lengths.
Railfuture response to the Transport strategy for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire consultation
• Royston to Cambridge already has good service provision and with planned enhancements resulting from the Thameslink upgrade, this line will become metro-like.
Stations on all these routes should be enhanced to become quality rural interchanges.
The strategy suggests the following High Quality Transport Corridor could be serviced using Rail or Guided Bus. In a later section of this response we provide support for using rail for this option:

Haverhill to Cambridge

The following are identified in the strategy as High Quality Transport Corridors using Guided Bus. We believe there is a case for developing a rail solution in conjunction with the East West rail link from Cambridge to Oxford which is also able to link Cambridge with St Neots, Alconbury and Huntingdon providing a rail alternative for these options.
• St Neots to Cambridge
• Alconbury, Huntingdon, St Ives and Northstowe to Cambridge
Haverhill to Cambridge
The Haverhill to Cambridge transport corridor is described starting on Page 5-12 of the 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).

St Neots to Cambridge Corridor

The St Neots to Cambridge corridor is described starting on Page 5-21 of the strategy.
There is no mention of rail in this section of the strategy, although it was listed earlier in the strategy in Figure 4.1 saying “Potential for rail option, depending on route choice and deliverability of the East West Rail central section between Bedford and Cambridge in the medium to longer term.”
We fully support the idea of exploring this rail based option, and the suggestion in Figure 4.1 should be carried over into the St Neots to Cambridge section on Page 5.21.
Railfuture have recently published their “Railfuture Oxford to Cambridge (East West Rail) campaign - Briefing note on route options for the Central Section from Bedford to Cambridge” which is available here:

This describes various options for the Cambridgeshire section of the East West rail link, including an “Option B1” following the A428 corridor which would be a predominantly new line able to serve not only Cambridge to Oxford, but also Cambridge to St Neots via Cambourne and stations from there to Peterborough.

Alconbury, Huntingdon, St Ives and Northstowe to Cambridge corridor

The Alconbury, Huntingdon, St Ives and Northstowe to Cambridge corridor is described on Page 5-24 of the strategy.
We would like this corridor to be considered in conjunction with the St Neots to Cambridge corridor. A rail option from Cambridge to St Neots (as described in the previous section and associated briefing note) would allow a through rail service to run from Cambridge to St Neots, Alconbury and Huntingdon.
We agree that the busway should have quality bus extension links to Huntingdon and Alconbury as extensions from Cambridge Science Park Railway station via Histon, St Ives. However future capacity for the busway should be concentrated on St Ives, Longstanton Park and Ride and Northstowe. Other capacity should be provided from Alconbury and Huntingdon by the railway.

Railway Stations in Cambridge

We support the aim stated on Page 5-2 to provide three new rail stations on the outskirts of the city, at Addenbrooke’s, Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn to provide new gateways into the city. These should be considered in all future land use planning to reserve appropriate space for the stations and associated additional railway tracks, roads and cycle/footpaths.

Intrastructure Upgrades

We fully support the infrastructure upgrades listed on Page 4-10 of the strategy, namely:
• Capacity improvements in the Ely area.
• Power supply upgrade to allow more electrically powered services to concurrently use the Cambridge to Ely and Kings Lynn route north of Milton.
• Platform lengthening at stations may be needed on the Hitchin to Cambridge and Kings Lynn route, including in Cambridgeshire: Ashwell and Morden, Meldreth, Shepreth. Foxton, Waterbeach, Ely (only if required for 10 car Inter City Express trains), Littleport.
• Double tracking or passing loops on the route between Cambridge and Newmarket.
• Electrification of the Ely to Norwich and Cambridge to Newmarket routes.
We also fully endorse the “Once in a generation – A rail prospectus for East Anglia” which is referenced in the strategy and is available here:

We also fully support the medium to longer term aspirations of:
• New stations at Cherry Hinton and / or Fulbourn along with line speed improvements between Cambridge and Ipswich to allow trains to stop without prejudicing the provision of the clock face timetable.
• On the corridor to Haverhill, a High Quality Passenger Transport option could be the reopening of the railway, with potential for a number of new stations that might include Sawston, Granta Park and Linton as well as Haverhill itself.
• The East West Rail Consortium proposal to reopen the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge with service continuing East to Norwich and Ipswich with associated investment on these routes.
• The reinstatement of the west curve at Chippenham junction (north of Newmarket) to allow a new service patterns into Cambridge from Ely, Newmarket and Soham.
• The Felixstowe to Nuneaton (F2N) freight capacity scheme