East West Rail (EWR) have announced the Preferred Route Alignment (option E) of this section of the Oxford to Cambridge line, which will link existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy, south of St Neots. Once these options are sufficiently advanced, EWR will present them as part of a second non-statutory consultation, which follows on from the first public consultation in 2019.
The decision by East West Rail (EWR) to focus their attention on option E for the central section of their new railway impacts our area. Coming from a ‘Cambourne Station’ near Caxton the line moves within the area to merge/dual the north bound line into Cambridge (rather than one to the north of the A428 via Cambourne and Northstowe). This permits easier onward journeys to Ipswich/Norwich.
As EWR start detailed work on the potential railway alignments, they say they are doing their best to avoid impacting people in a negative way, and where possible will:-
- Avoid residential areas
- Reduce negative impacts to our environment
- Reduce flood risk
They produce a rough area of option E
Here it is shown (click on the image for a bigger version)
If we zoom in we can see the area to the South of Comberton . (click on the image for a bigger version)
What do people living and working in the Preferred Route Area need to know?
At present, EWR are still working to develop the precise alignment that the railway will take within the Preferred Route Option. Crucially, before the Route Alignment is chosen, there will be more opportunities for the public to comment on the plans and EWR will continue to use feedback from communities as part of their decision-making process throughout the life of the project.
Their aim is to avoid adverse effects in residential areas and existing communities, and as the project and our design progresses, they will discuss the evolving detail with individual landowners and occupiers directly.
EWR indicated they are considering a cutting south of Haslingfield but not tunnelling, amongst other options and impact on the Mullard Radio Observatory Telescope.
Cambridge Approaches Group
Some residents of villages to the south of the A603, particularly around Haslingfield have set up the Cambridge Approaches Group to provide input to EWR on potential corridors across the Preferred Route area.
Cambridge Approaches Group (CAG) was formed after a meeting on 15th July 2020 between representatives of parish councils in the affected area from Toft to the Shelfords and the intention is to generate their own options for the possible routes of the railway and to discuss these with the community and the powers that be.
They haven’t (yet) addressed any potential corridors affecting villages to the east of Comberton like Toft, Bourn, Cambourne, Caxton, Eltisley, Longstowe, Great Gransden, Abbotsley !
They also showed another, unpublished, corridor option above the A428 which you can see here (click on the image for a bigger version).
Comberton Parish Council discussed this at their September meeting and the following was sent to CAG
CAG are running Zoom webinars to explain their findings to interested members of the public and, given the Covid-19 situation, the best way is via webinar. As with the parish council representatives , the routes will be presented by David Revell of Cambridge Approaches who is a civil engineer with extensive experience with railways and a resident of the area.
The schedule of these webinars is as follows:
CAG expect the webinars to last about an hour and there will be opportunities to ask questions.
Please click on the links above to register for the webinar date that you would like to attend (the content will be the same in each webinar).