Network Rail has identified the preferred location of the proposed new railway station for Cambridge South. The chosen location corresponds with Option 1 presented to the public earlier this year and follows a review of engineering and design information together with the results of public consultation.
The new station is proposed to be located adjacent to the Guided Busway and will provide a new transport choice to patients, visitors and employees when travelling to and from the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. The station will also provide direct access to a range of potential routes on the rail network for those in South Cambridgeshire and better connections across the southern fringe of the city.
During a six-week public consultation in January and February 2020, representatives of Network Rail arranged ten events around Cambridgeshire for the public to comment on the three location options between Addenbrooke’s Bridge and Nine Wells Bridge and the associated access arrangements for each location.
Almost 1000 people attended the events and over 960 comments from the Cambridge community and stakeholders were received (via post, online or in person) before 2 March when the consultation closed. The vast majority, 94 per cent supported the need for the station to be built. Out of the three options presented, 55 per cent of those who submitted comments supported Option 1 (northern option).
As well as commenting on the location, Network Rail was challenged by the public to protect places of significance such as Hobson’s Park and Nine Wells Nature Reserve; to consider the impacts on the environment and businesses on the east side of the railway; to consider impacts on sustainable travel modes, including walking, cycling and public transport and enhance the connections for such modes. These concerns will continue to be considered during the next phases of development.
Network Rail will now proceed with further design development work, working closely with stakeholders and funders of the project including the Department for Transport, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, the Greater Cambridge Partnership and AstraZeneca Ltd.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “This is a significant step forward for the development of a new station serving Cambridge’s important biomedical campus and the southern fringe of the city. Selecting a preferred location will allow the development work to continue in more detail as we move towards a second round of public consultation later this year.”
“This project continues to show what we can do when we work closely with external partners to develop the railway to the benefit of local communities and businesses and we are excited to see this continue as we head into the next phase of development.”
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “This is a very welcome step forward. Anything which brings this much-needed station closer is good news. This is the right place for commuters and we just need to see the pace kept up until the station is delivered and can start working for people.”
Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Executive Board, said: “Cambridge South will help unlock the full potential of the Greater Cambridge economy, linking up with existing public transport and other planned schemes so thousands of people heading to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus will have a quick and sustainable alternative to the car that cuts road congestion and improves air quality.
“The coronavirus will have a significant impact on our lives for some time but it is vital that we invest in better public transport, especially infrastructure such as this, that will help people get to work safely and quickly.”
Dr Andy Williams, Vice President Cambridge Programme & Strategy, AstraZeneca, said: “As the development of Cambridge South station continues to gather momentum, we are delighted that the preferred location for the station has now been confirmed. This latest progress represents a key step in the journey towards the future provision of easier ways for thousands of patients, visitors and employees to reach the Cambridge Biomedical Campus each day.”
“Not only will the station give people an alternative to the car, but we believe it will bring significant and sustainable benefits to the life science sector and the city. We will continue to work with Network Rail and other stakeholders to help deliver the station.”