A public consultation was carried out by the East West Railway company in 2021. They are currently reviewing responses. We had hoped to hear about the results in late 2022, but that has been postponed until some time in 2023.
This web page includes below a selection of questions raised in the course of the consultation, and submissions made.
The selected route is Alignment 1 which goes through Cambourne (North) and then south through Highfields Caldecote, sweeping down between Toft and Comberton, and past Haslingfield to join the main line into Cambridge and the yet-to-be-built new Cambridge South station.
The full update is here
Extract from the Budget Policy Paper published by HM Treasury 15 March 2023:
The UK is a world-leader in the life sciences industry, with significant R&D hubs such as Cambridge’s Biomedical Campus. East West Rail – the rail line joining Oxford and Cambridge - will support further growth in life sciences and other high-productivity sectors across the region, connecting businesses and talent. In May, the government will confirm the route for the new Bedford-Cambridge section, and will provide capacity funding to support local authorities to develop their plans for strategic economic growth around new stations.
Recent articles published online on the New Civil Engineer website reveal some of the problems surrounding this project, and point to conflicting local opinions [click to read on external website]:
The EWR Company have announced holding two community drop-in events in South Cambridgeshire in the coming weeks – and one in Cambridge. These are designed to provide communities with a chance to meet and speak to members of the project team. EWR say that they are still in the process of reviewing the feedback received during the second Non-Statutory Consultation and so do not have any new information to provide now. However, they do want to listen to views and will offer as much information as possible at this stage.
The event details are as follows:
• Wednesday 29 June - 2pm to 8pm - The Clayton Hotel, 27-29 Station Rd, Cambridge CB1 2FB
• Tuesday 19 July - 2pm to 8pm - Haslingfield Village Hall, New Road, Haslingfield
CB23 1JP - POSTPONED due to extreme heat
• Wednesday 20 July - 2pm to 8pm - The Cambridge Belfry, Back Lane, Cambourne
Work on the design and planning stage of the East West Rail project has continued over the past six months even though there has been little official communication from EWR. A programme of quarterly focus group meetings has now commenced which cover areas possibly effected by the project. These have been split into regional groups – Kingston belongs to the South Cambridgeshire West Region.
A representative from the parish council attended the first focus meeting earlier this month. We were advised that EWR is currently considering feedback from the non- statutory consultation period regarding the five possible route alignments they highlighted earlier. They received about 10,000 responses and these will be used to help design the next stages of the project.
The next part of the process will be the production of a report which, at that stage, will highlight the one preferred route alignment that they wish to proceed with. There will then be a statutory consultation period to consider this route and it will then move forward to the planning stage. We do not as yet have a date when this document will be issued however we will be monitoring the situation carefully and will provide an update as soon as we find out more.
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.
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.
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.
Kingston Parish Council has sent a letter to outline our concerns to:
Simon Blanchflower CEO East West Rail firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Browne MP Anthony.email@example.com
Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport POCorrespondence@dft.gov.uk
Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Transport Minister firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
This item was published in the June 2021 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:
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
CamBed RailRoad Community based voluntary thinktank
Cambridge Approaches Local grassroots campaigning organisation
East West Rail Company set up by the Department for Transport
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 following flyer is being distributed to every household in Kingston. The text is reproduced below.
The link to a recording of this event is available from this EWR page.
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.
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.
- 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)
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:
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.
Kingston Parish Council 8 April 2021 (with thanks to Paul Wright)
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.
There is more information available on the Cambridge Approaches website