Cambridge-Haverhill 'railway route’ alternative
The Greater Cambridge Partnership considered the use of the old Cambridge-Haverhill railway line (‘railway route’) as an alternative route at earlier stages of the project, but it was consider infeasible to take forward to consultation.
Work for the first Strategic Outline Business Case concluded that ‘this is not viable for a road based public transport system given the lack of available space alongside the existing Cambridge-Liverpool St main line railway.’ It has since been estimated that this route would cost an estimated £29m more than the preferred route.
The ‘railway route’ would be highly constrained and would be incompatible with the future Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) as set out by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. Public transport vehicles using the route would be in close proximity to a significant numbers of homes due to restricted limited space beside the railway. This would in turn slow down the vehicles on the route, reducing the capacity and efficiency of services, and would also mean the loss of up to four homes and private gardens. This route would also mean the vehicles would come into conflict with traffic. The illustration above shows an example of the difficulties involved in following the railway route.
The current proposals include a parallel route for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised users. Should this be included in the ‘railway route’ proposal, then further land would need to be taken, likely requiring the demolition of commercial premises at Mill Court.
Detailed work on the alternate ‘railway route’ estimates that additional costs of at least £29 million would be incurred should the ‘railway route' be selected. The full report is below.