On the proposed busway out of South East Cambridge – plus South Cambridge Rail Station

TL:DR – more consultations.

The details for a South East Cambridge busway is here.

Older readers may be familiar with the old rail route that once linked Cambridge to Haverhill.

Above – from the New Adlestrop pre-Beeching railway map. <<– Click here to get to the latest version of the map to see what we lost. When we look at some of the traffic jams today, it’s astonishing to think that in such a short time frame we went from so many rail routes to gridlock on the new roads that were supposed to relieve traffic on the main roads.

Smarter Cambridge Transport had a look at the plans and published a series of comments that are combined in this link.

For those of you that want to respond to the consultation, click on the link here. For those of you that want to get even more involved and who live in or around the area concern, see the papers for the Local Liaison Forum here.

My own take is that I still prefer the Cambridge Connect Light Rail with bells and whistles.

Have a look at the Cambridge Connect Maps here (Scroll down for the options) and you’ll see that one of the proposals is as set out below.

Above – Cambridge Connect Light Rail – the first phase would link to a transport interchange at Granta Park, with a later phase extending onto Haverhill. Given the challenges Haverhill, and beyond it Sudbury face, (both formerly linked by rail, I think there is a case for having both a heavy and light rail link that could benefit both towns. We know that Cambridge continues to overheat – not least on house prices. So the better public transport links with more of our surrounding towns we have, the more able politicians will be able to deliver on ‘spreading the wealth of Cambridge’.

Cambridge South Station

The consultation document from Network Rail is here.

Above – a computer generated image of what the station could look like. It’s been a long time coming, as the local Liberal Democrats in Cambridge & South Cambridgeshire remind us with one photo dating back to the late 1980s.

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer is the Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough. (Labour are due to announce their candidate around 12 November 2020). It’s also worth noting that the incumbent Mayor Mr Palmer has posted a press release on Cambridge South Station inviting members of the public to call on Network Rail to ensure enough provision is made for the station to be a substantial transport interchange. The failure to set aside enough land for four rail lines, sufficient bus (and possibly light rail) interchange space and so on, is depressing and reflects how structurally broken our local, regional, and national systems of governance are. There’s more in this article in the Cambridge Independent.

Again it’s Smarter Cambridge Transport that has come up with one possible solution – one that is common in London on The Tube.

Essentially the main station infrastructure is built over the railway lines, and you access the platforms to access trains by lift or stairs down towards the platform. This will inevitably make it more expensive but given there is already a guided busway bridge on which to build around, it might not be as expensive as starting from scratch. I hope we avoid the traditional cheap-as-chip “Double-H-Block” minimalist design, where you have a ‘horizontal H’ for the two platforms and the bridge as you look from the air, and then a central vertical ‘H’ structure for the bridge and lifts.

On responding to consultations generally, and on reading up on how the state functions

I wrote this post for Lost Cambridge on ‘New old books’ that were published by Pelican on the various different functions of the state during and after the Second World War. One book I spotted was Participating in Local Affairs, by Prof Dilys M. Hill of the University of Southampton. (There are several cheap copies going for under a fiver)

I’m mindful that the above-book dates from the 1970s, hence pondering lobbying Penguin/Pelican to commission refreshed versions of these books to add to their current offerings here – which include ebook options. It was also with that in mind that a few years ago on my old blog I wrote a guide to commenting on planning applications. The way I see it is that once we are collectively through this there will be a national conversation and debate to overhaul our institutions and on how we run the country – especially in the face of a climate emergency. As I mentioned on Twitter, that preparation work, some of which the charity Involve is already doing, needs to start now.

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