Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

Bedford-Cambridge Rail Line – via Bassingbourn, Whaddon, Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton?

by Susan van de Ven on 9 October, 2018


I’ve been contacted by concerned residents who rightly feel that more should be done to raise awareness of the following:

About 150 people attended the September 25 meeting at Shepreth Village Hall in order to hear a presentation from the ‘CamBedRailRoad’ (CBRR) group.  The backdrop is the likely recommended ‘preferred route’ for the Bedford-Cambridge segment of ‘East West Rail’ – a project seeking to connect Oxford-Cambridge, with onward regional connections.

An announcement is expected before the end of 2018 and the preferred option is likely to run alongside Bassingbourn Barracks, Whaddon, Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton.  It appears that the line would join the existing London-Cambridge line between Shepreth and Foxton, but you should be aware that unfortunately there are no plans for these new trains to stop at our village stations.  There would of course be some significant local impacts in terms of the line running close to (or through?) some properties and requiring new level crossings.

CamBedRailRoad’s proposes an alternative route along the A428 corridor on the basis that this is where the bulk of South Cambs planned population growth is focused – Bourn Airfield, Cambourne and Northstowe –  yet the A428 corridor lacks a strategic public transport link.  CBRR are asking for equal consideration of both schemes.

The above diagram shows roughly the current ‘preferred route’ (C2-2 is the most southerly line), as CBRR have best been able to derive from available information.

Clearly all major infrastructure projects create challenges, but fellow councillors and I do feel it is important the villages are immediately aware of this as once final the final routes for consultation are announced we will have limited opportunity to influence the outcome.

Please note: The preferred route came from the Jacobs Report commissioned by Network Rail, but the East West Rail project is now the responsibility of the newly constituted East West Rail Company.  If you would like to learn more, there’s lots of information under the ‘Resources’ section here.

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Jane says:

    Thank you for your research Susan. I’m not massively aware that this is really known about where I live, which is exceedingly close to the preferred route. I was unaware of the Shepreth meeting, and wonder if a similar event should be held and advertised in other villages affected, eg Bassingbourn and Whaddon. At this stage, the illustrative new town of Bassingbourn drawn up by 5th Studio shows my house built over by new roads and houses, not by the railway line itself. You can see the proposed new town of Bassingbourn on pages 78 – 81 of this report:

    Along the edge of the proposed settlement would be ‘low value’ locations, such as storage sites for the construction industry. Not sure how this will affect the appearance of my part of Bassingbourn, but it sounds like it could be detrimental. As it says on page 80 there will be heavy vehicles using the sites and accessing the A1198.

    Note it says on page 80 that the A1198 is ‘lightly trafficked’. Not my experience and I wouldn’t want to experience the increased traffic that a new station in Bassingbourn would bring, no matter how cycle or pedestrian friendly 5th Studio suppose it would be. The A1198 is currently named as one of the 10 most dangerous roads in Cambridgeshire:

    The new town would be a ‘commuter settlement’ for Royston station. I hope that there is concomitant provision for increased numbers of cars parked there as there is very little public transport currently, unless this scheme proposes frequent buses to Royston starting at 5am?

    I’ve recently heard of a planning application for Bassingbourn Barracks to demolish some buildings and build another. Seems inconsistent with this proposal to run the railway line through the Barracks and build a new town over it.

    Can anyone tell me what is going on? Is my house going to be built over? Will I spend even longer trying to get onto the A1198 in the morning and evening? How noisy and litter-strewn is my local area going to get?

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