East West Railway
Photo of roof and tower of Kingston Parish church, trees in the foreground

Links: Information on Oxford to Cambridge Railway

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This is a petition that is of direct relevance to Kingston. You are urged to consider it carefully, and if you agree please sign it. The petition asks East West Rail to evaluate a more northerly route to create a transport corridor alongside the A428. This was not an option they offered in last year's public consultation but Kingston Parish Council, along with many local bodies, believes it should be investigated.

Petition

Railway Petition image for link

The latest stage of the public consultation process began on 31 March and the public can submit responses until 9 June. The consultation pack will be sent by EWR to each household in the next few days, giving full details of the latest proposals and information on how you can respond. It can also be downloaded here:

 https://eastwestrail.co.uk/consultation


In summary, there are five possible track alignments in our section of the route corridor between Cambourne and Cambridge. Three have a station south of Cambourne and would take a southern route along the valley of the Bourn Brook between Kingston and Toft, within 350 m of our church.


However, from our point of view, the promising news is that the other two possible track alignments are away from Kingston and are described by EWR as “emerging preferences”. These have a station just north of Cambourne and the track takes a northerly route to the A428 to Childerley Gate, before turning south to pass between Toft and Comberton, skirting Little Eversden and on to near Harlton and Haslingfield.

Small-scale plans are shown in the consultation documents and we have attached an enlarged sketch of the alignments, as they relate to Kingston. The comparative environmental impacts of the alignments in relation to noise, landscape, heritage etc are set out on the document and the sensitivity of Kingston and its surrounding landscape is recognised.


Having the station to the north is supported by Cambourne Town Council. Various pressure groups, supported by our MP, have campaigned for an entire northern route connecting with the Cambridge North station. EWR rejected the latter option as too expensive and incompatible with the eventual goal of creating a freight line from  Harwich and Felixstowe.


Kingston Parish Council and many residents have previously written in support of the northern route and also supported the Wildlife Trust in their efforts to prevent a railway beside the Bourn Brook. What we seem to have now is a compromise that provides Cambourne with a station to the north and EWR with a direct connection to Cambridge South station.


The “emerging preferences” would be 2.4 km (1.6 miles) from Kingston at their closest points and the track would almost certainly be in a cutting as it descends from 72 m at Childerley Gate to 19 m at the Bourn Brook. There would have to be a road bridge between Toft and Comberton, as level crossings are no longer an option for new lines.

If you support the “two emerging preferences”, please take this opportunity to do so, or pass your concerns about the southern alignment to the Parish Council who are preparing their response. Among other things we will be asking EWR for their assessments of noise levels and impacts on roads, landscape, heritage and wildlife and their mitigation proposals.  We will also use this opportunity to press the case for electric rather than the planned diesel trains.

East West Rail and Kingston - Information from your Parish Council  [8 April 2021]

Kingston Parish Council 8 April 2021 (with thanks to Paul Wright)

Sketch of railway routes near Kingston

Route sketch


blue line: 2 options, "emerging preferences"


purple line: 3 options

Public Meeting hosted by Anthony Browne MP [29 April 2021]

Here is a link to a recording of the Public Meeting held to give information and an opportunity for discussion. This was the fourth in a series of locally-focussed meetings; this one looked at the impact of possible routes for the railway on Kingston and its immediate neighbours.

Highlights:

- presentation by Sebastian Kindersley on behalf of CamBed RailRoad (starts at time point 8.50)

- presentation by William Harrold on behalf of Cambridge Approaches (starts at time point 17.30)

Public webinar: Presentation by East West Rail

[11 May 2021]

The link to a recording of this event is available from this EWR page.

https://eastwestrail.co.uk/consultation/consultation-webinars


The hour long event had presentations from EWR staff on the project as a whole, on customer experience, and some of the issues relevant to the Clapham to the Eversdens section of the route.

East West Rail and Kingston - Information from your Parish Council  [12 May 2021]

EAST WEST RAILWAY - IMPACT UPON KINGSTON


WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR


The East West Rail Company (‘EWR’) has outlined five possible routes for the new railway line between Bedford and Cambridge. All of these ignore the possibility of a northern approach into Cambridge using Cambridge North Station. EWR insist on a route that enters Cambridge from the south to join the King’s Cross line and a new Cambridge South Station. These routes therefore all cut across South Cambridgeshire and will involve major constructions to elevate the railway line.


The five routes from Bedford merge into two suggested options for the Cambourne to The Eversdens section and these will have implications for Kingston. Both options require an elevated construction to cross over the A603 near the Eversdens.


Diagram 1 [EWR routes 2, 6 & 8]: If a new Cambourne South station is built, EWR’s proposed route alignments will bring the railway line close to the northern edge of Kingston, probably on a raised embankment and blocking the B1046 between Kingston and Toft.

Diagram 2 [EWR routes 1 & 9]: If a new Cambourne North station is built, the railway will cross the B1046 between Toft and Comberton. This route will include the construction of an elevated section (proposed embankment c. 10m high) cutting across the top of Caldecote.


WE NEED ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

Members of Kingston Parish Council have participated in public meetings with East West Rail and submitted questions on behalf of Kingston. These questions remain unanswered.


YOU CAN HELP

Ask questions and raise your concerns. We have been clearly told that if the authorities receive few responses, they will assume that communities are in favour of the suggested routes. Now is the time to be heard.


  • Public livechat sessions online with EWR personnel
  • EWR consultation telephone line 0330 134 0067
  • Write to Anthony Browne MP
  • Write to the Transport Minister Grant Shapps MP and the Minister of State for Transport Chris Heaton-Harris MP


The EWR consultation feedback form can be completed online www.eastwestrail.co.uk

Alternatively, ask a member of the Parish Council for a paper copy of the form and we will post one through your letter box.

East West Rail and Kingston - your Parish Council's view  [17 May 2021]

This item is being published in the June copy of the Kingston Parish Magazine.


Our leaflet “East West Railway - Impact on Kingston” was distributed recently to all households in Kingston. If you missed yours, or you need another copy, please contact one of the parish councillors, or alternatively you can download it from the village website. [see 12 May item below]


We are continuing to press East West Rail (“EWR”) for answers to our questions, and we have further questions received from villagers that we will be adding to our list. We will focus particularly on issues of direct impact on Kingston, although clearly the route and the construction methods have serious implications for the wider South Cambridgeshire area.


Our assessment of the various options:


  • Cancellation of the EWR project – extremely unlikely, so as a Council we will not be diverting our energies to demand this.
  • Northern route for the Cambourne to Cambridge section, with a direct connection between a new Cambourne North Station and the existing Cambridge North Station. This alignment has been promoted and extensively analysed by both Cambridge Approaches and CamBed Railroad. You can read the detailed arguments, and EWR’s objections, on each organisation’s website*. We believe this to be the least environmentally destructive, and the most sensible routing. We support a northern route.
  • Southern route for Cambourne to Cambridge, with a direct connection between a new Cambourne North Station and a new Cambridge South Station. This will be extremely destructive of South Cambridgeshire. It is designated by EWR as their “emerging preference”, but that could change. This is a bad compromise, and we do not support it.
  • Southern route for Cambourne to Cambridge, with a direct connection between a new Cambourne South Station and a new Cambridge South Station. This will be extremely destructive of South Cambridgeshire, and is also the routing passing closest to Kingston. This is a disastrous compromise, and we wholeheartedly reject this option for the route.


We have a page on our village website dedicated to the EWR project. This will be kept updated as we obtain more information. There are links here to recordings of recent webinars.


The deadline for the non-statutory consultation is 9 June 2021.


Time is running short and EWR have not shown any urgency in dealing with our requests for information. So please add your voices, ask your questions directly, and demonstrate that we care about our community.


EWR are holding public “livechat” events online. They say: “members of the public will be able to engage with the EWR Co project team to ask questions.”  Forthcoming dates include 27 May 6-8pm, 29 May 2-4pm, 31 May 2-5pm, 1 June 6-8pm, and 2 June 6-8pm. Joining details are on their website https://eastwestrail.co.uk/consultation


There is also a phoneline for contacting EWR about the consultation: 0330 1340067


* Organisations:

   CamBed RailRoad   Community based voluntary thinktank

      http://www.cambedrailroad.org/general.php?id=49

   Cambridge Approaches  Local grassroots campaigning organisation

     https://cambridgeapproaches.org/news/

   East West Rail   Company set up by the Department for Transport

     https://eastwestrail.co.uk/library/documents


Julie Conder

Kingston Parish Councillor, 17 May 2021

 

Note: If you believe your property or business is potentially blighted by the proposed routing, there is a mechanism for you to take this up directly with EWR. There is a “Guide to Statutory Blight Notices” that you can download from the EWR website. https://eastwestrail.co.uk/library/documents?start=12

The Wildlife Trust is responsible for the Bourn Valley Nature Reserve, and also the Cambourne Country Park. Both of these sites could be badly impacted by the EWR route alignments that use a Cambourne South station. The Trust supports a northern approach into Cambridge.


Here is a link to their website

The Wildlife Trust - Bourn Brook

Letter to Grant Shapps MP - S Denley & S Gardner

[19 May 2021]

Kingston residents Sarah Denley and Simon Gardner have kindly given permission for the letter they sent recently to the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP, to be made available on the village website here (pdf download). It gives a comprehensive view of the issues and problems raised by the route alignments proposed by EWR, and the potential impact on Kingston and South Cambridgeshire.

Letter to EWR and Department for Transport [7 June 2021]

Kingston Parish Council has sent a letter to outline our concerns to:


Simon Blanchflower CEO East West Rail  simon.blanchflower@eastwestrail.co.uk

Anthony Browne MP  Anthony.browne.mp@parliament.uk

Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport  POCorrespondence@dft.gov.uk

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Transport Minister  shappsg@dft.gov.uk


There is a pdf copy of the contents of the letter available for download

Anthony Browne MP Letter to EWR [8 June 2021]

Published here with permission, our local MP has recently written to Simon Blanchflower CEO of East West Rail to summarise his position on the project.


Letter from Anthony Browne MP (pdf download)

Tumi Hawkins District Councillor submission [8 June 2021]

Published here with permission, our District Councillor has made a submission to East West Rail as part of the non-statutory consultation. This explains the problems with all the route alignments 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 which approach Cambridge from the south. There is further analysis on her SCDC web page here.


Consultation submission Tumi Hawkins District Councillor (pdf download)

Notes from Paul Heyman, his discussion with EWR [9 June 2021]

Published here with permission, these are notes of a meeting Kingston landowner Paul Heyman had with EWR representatives, and the email he sent to them as part of the consultation process.

Response from EWR to questions posed by Kingston Parish Council [21 June 2021]

Thank you to those who shared their thoughts and questions which the Parish Council submitted on your behalf in May and June.  We focused on issues directly relevant to the interests of the village and not on wider questions about the need for EWR.  We had hoped to receive answers in time for the consultation feedback form for EWR, but unfortunately this did not happen as they have only just been received and as you will see the answers do not give us the detail we had hoped for, however the Q&A below as well as additional comments (in blue) from the Parish Council will likely be of interest to you:


1. Will a full review of the northern option (to Cambridge North) be carried out? If not, why not?

  

We have back-checked our decision using a three-stage process and concluded there is not sufficient reason to reopen our previous conclusion that approaching Cambridge from the South  is the right option for EWR.  However, because we do want to be transparent with the public, we have set out further information about this on Appendix F of the Technical Report - here,  and included information in the Consultation Document.  We also provided people the opportunity to comment on this information in our recent consultation.  

 

We will continue to back-check our decisions - including based on the responses to the consultation and where any genuinely new information emerges – but at the moment we are not reopening  this decision because the information that we have and the additional work that we have done only confirms it is the right one. However, we continue to have an open mind.


It is disappointing that EWR seem to consider that Appendix F to the consultation document is an adequate review of the northern approach. It is not the full review that has been called for eg there is no mention here of the trenching option that might solve many of the technical difficulties. Neither is there a comparable review of the southern approach made on the same basis and level of detail, to enable proper comparisons to be made.


Cambridge Approaches have a detailed commentary on Appendix F on their website here https://cambridgeapproaches.org/rebuttal-of-appendix-f/


2. How much noise will alignments 2, 6 and 8 generate in the village of Kingston, bearing in mind Kingston Church is only 400m from the line shown on the map? If this is not known, when  can we expect to see maps of noise levels?  Has consideration been given to businesses directly affected by the selection of a Cambourne south station route (options 2,6, and 8). Business premises located on Broadway Bourn almost adjacent to the deep cutting that is proposed will be severely affected. Some use very sensitive photolithography equipment as a critical part of some of their processes. It is believed that such business operation will be severely compromised by vibration during both construction and future train vibration, especially heavy freight trains.

  

In answer to these two questions, we recognise that issues such as noise and vibration can be of concern – and we take your questions very seriously. We are committed to  working hard to avoid, reduce, mitigate or - where we can - to eliminate disruption for people at every stage of the project, in planning, during construction and through to our day-to-day operations. 


You can find a factsheet outlining the approach to mitigating the impact of noise and vibration on local communities - here.


No details at all on the specific impact on Kingston. The Factsheet referred to gives general background only. A vague statement that “We are committed to considering measures that will reduce noise and vibration.” is not helpful.


3. How high will the embankment be north of Kingston? If this is not known, when will landscape drawings and a "fly-over" be available to show us the visual impact of 2, 6 and 8 on the  landscape of the valley of the Bourn Brook between Bourn and Toft?


We are at an early stage of design for East West Rail and the feedback received in the consultation will help us finalise our proposals. Consequently, we are not able to provide images of the infrastructure at the moment. We expect to be able to provide visuals at the statutory consultation which we aim to launch in 2022. 

  

Nothing available. By the time they can provide these in 2022, the route alignment will presumably have been chosen.


4. What measures are planned to protect the wildlife in the valley of the Bourn Brook that is managed by the Wildlife Trust and is noted as being particularly important for water voles  which are a fully protected species under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981? This act confirms that EWR would be breaking the law if it intentionally captures, kills or injures water voles.  http://www.cambsgeology.org/camvalley 

  

We will continue to prioritise avoiding high value habitats while looking at potential opportunities for habitat enhancement  and habitat creation. We will provide further detail on how we will achieve Biodiversity Net Gain and progress made during the Statutory Consultation next year. 


For more information on our approach to the environment, please see our factsheet - here.


No details at all on the specific impact on the Bourn Brook Valley. The Factsheet referred to gives general background only. General platitudes are meaningless: “We take climate change seriously, We understand the importance of biodiversity, of agriculture…”


5. Will both roads connecting Kingston to the B1046 (Bourn to Barton road) be kept open?

  

Our role is to connect the communities the railway will serve. Once we have a final alignment, we will find the best way to protect connectivity in your local area and  will be considering each intersection between the route and existing roads and public or private rights of way on an individual basis. 

  

This avoids giving a yes/no answer as to whether or not Kingston’s connections will be kept open.


5. Under the emerging preferences, how will the B1046 between Toft and Comberton cross the railway?             

 

The railway will cross under the B1046.                                                


Does this mean that the road will be raised over the railway by a new bridge, or that the railway will be tunnelled under the road? Presumably the former, but this is not clear.

                                   

6. Is it a fact that the northern route, by providing better access for commuters to north Cambridge, will relieve pressure on roads into the City to a greater extent  than the southern route?

  

No, every road bridge in the city that crosses the railway north of Cambridge station – the A14, Newmarket Road, Coldham’s Lane and Mill Road – would  require modification or demolition. Rebuilding these bridges would cause significantly more disruption to Cambridge and increase the cost of building the railway. These bridge works would be complex due to the difficulty of providing road diversions and construction  areas in the built-up city area, whilst maintaining highway links in the city.


The response does not answer the question. EWR claim that the northern route will be more costly and cause more disruption to construct. But it is not clear whether they think this route once built will or will not give better access and relieve pressure on the roads as the question asserts.


7. Bats - According to EWR's own fact sheet there are only 5,000 barbastelle bats in the UK, and they forage up to 7km from their roost. Why have EWR set an emerging route alignment  which they say is only 3-4 km from where barbastelle bats are known to roost in Eversden & Wimpole woods?

  

The potential route alignments that we have identified do not directly affect the woodlands in which barbastelle bats are currently known to roost. In relation to areas  where barbastelle bats may forage or commute, we have been carrying out extensive surveys to provide a detailed picture of the behaviour of barbastelle populations living near or alongside the route. 

  

Based on the results of those surveys, where there is a possibility of the line affecting their habitats, our design would include measures that have been successful  elsewhere such as creating large and unlit culverts, underpasses or green bridges to allow bats to pass safely from one side of the new railway line to the other. In addition, we will aim to provide enhancement measures such as new or improved foraging habitat  and commuting routes, and additional roosting opportunities including boxes known to be used by barbastelle bats. All measures put in place will be done in collaboration with Natural England and would become binding obligations under any Development Consent  Order (DCO).


If our surveys conclude that there is potential for significant adverse impact on their habitats, we will carry out a screening assessment for review by the Planning  Inspectorate, when an application for a DCO is made. Details of those surveys will be included in the environmental statement, as part of the planning process, as well as show how we can mitigate any potential impacts.


The most detailed response, although again general in nature. EWR appear confident that they can achieve their preferred route alignment by employing mitigation measures, and that they will obtain a Development Consent Order.  


8. Incorporating a large park and ride adjacent to a North Cambourne train station would allow for passenger transfer to buses which could use the A428 transport corridor to access the  14,000 new jobs which are envisaged on the on the Cambridge University West site just inside the M11 near Eddington. Has this been considered? 

  

We have not yet got to that stage in design at Cambourne, but we are very keen to ensure EWR works as part of the wider transport network and enables quicker and easier  journeys than are possible today.  We have noted your comments and will take them into account as our plans develop.           


It appears that a joined-up transport system and the means of access to a proposed Cambourne station has not yet been considered.


 9. Has there been a study into the long-term damage to listed buildings located in conservation areas due to vibration both during construction and operation of the new rail line?  Kingston parish Church is Grade 1 listed with fragile frescos of historical importance and there are a number of other Grade II listed buildings close by in Kingston and also in old Caldecote and Bourn.

  

All the proposed route alignments have avoided direct impacts on key national features including listed buildings.  Where it has not been possible to avoid potential impacts, these have been minimised or reduced as far as possible as part of their design development.


We will assess the listed buildings rigorously in our future design phases and will take appropriate  control measures to avoid, reduce, mitigate or - where we can – eliminate the effects of noise and vibration where required.


No details at all on the specific impact on Kingston.



As always should you have any concerns you wish to raise with the Parish Council do please let me know so I can pass this on.


Kind regards

Mimi


Mimi Wheeler

Parish Clerk, Kingston Parish Council

This is the text of an email circulated to residents of Kingston. It details the questions posed by Kingston Parish Council ('KPC') to EWR, and the reply received. Additionally, there are a few comments and observations by KPC in blue.

A public consultation was carried out by the East West Railway company in 2021. They are currently reviewing responses, and we hope to hear about the results in the spring of 2022.


This web page includes below a selection of questions raised in the course of the consultation, and submissions made.

East West Railway Oxford to Cambridge

There is more information available on the Cambridge approaches website