Transport 2000 Cambs and W Suffolk

Newsletter 65, November 1998

Disclaimer: the contents of articles do not necessarily reflect Transport 2000 policy at either national or branch level. If you know any reason why any opinion expressed on a matter within the branch's remit should not be branch policy, please contact the Secretary/Coordinator -- it is through the exchange of ideas that methods for solving our problems are developed.

Please note that although in this newsletter we concentrate on matters of strategic importance, we would like to hear from any member on any transport related topic, however small. If you have a complaint or suggestion of any kind we will endeavour to pursue it ourselves or to advise you on how to pursue it yourself.


Recently an accident on the A14 demolished the filling station west of Bar Hill, and led to closure of part of the road for several hours. This filling station was coincidentally the location chosen by BBC Look East for a feature on ``Black Friday'' (23 Oct) when gridlock was predicted on many roads, though it didn't seem to materialise on the A14. Predictably, the accident led to the renewal of calls to ``improve'' the road. If this refers to minor safety improvements, we certainly have no objection -- for example, should filling stations really be allowed so near to speeding traffic? However if we would strongly oppose any ``solution'' based on road widening which will only worsen problems on other parts of the road network in the Cambridge and Huntingdon areas.

Our last newsletter referred to a workshop on the A14 organised by the Highways Agency. Contrary to what we said, the Coordinator did manage to attend, not on behalf of Transport 2000 (which was, as we said, represented by David Dufty of the Ipswich & Suffolk branch) but on behalf of Friends of the Earth. An edited version of the report we submitted to Friends of the Earth is included at the end of this section.

The County Council's bid for the Rural Transport Challenge Fund, for which GBP 5 million is available country-wide for innovative transport projects, is based on the idea of ``mini-stations'' or ``mini-interchanges'', i.e. high quality bus stops with the facilities one normally associates with rail stations (e.g. cycle parking). The Council appears to be thinking of three corridors in particular -- from Cambridge to Huntingdon, Haverhill and Burwell. Noting that the first two are covered by our proposed Haverhill to Rugby express service, we have produced a draft version of a document called ``A14 Express'' based on extending the concept to villages throughout the corridor, though we would not expect ``all mod cons'' for facilities serving the smaller villages. This document can be obtained from the Coordinator by sending a stamped addressed envelope (or by email; we hope to put it on our website in due course).

Just before the workshop, the Highways Agency produced its preferred scheme for grade separation on the Brampton to Thrapston section of the A14. Though we are prepared to support grade separation in principle, we have criticised it on two grounds: it plans to close public rights of way where it is not prepared to provide a grade separated crossing, and there is no provision for the ``add-on'' proposal of bus stops on the A14 to serve the villages en route. When we later obtained their detailed proposals, we worked out an alternative which would require just three more bridges than the HA preferred scheme (together with the relocation of one of their proposed bridges); this would be enough to provide all the crossings we believe are needed for access to both our proposed bus stops and the rights of way network.

We had previously proposed to National Express the idea of a ``Rugby Coachway'' interchange at the A14/M1/M6 junction, so that coaches from the Cambridge area could connect directly into the National Express network which would make them much more viable. Unfortunately the existing road layout there does not permit such an interchange (as coaches from the London area can't leave the motorway), so this proposal would be dependent on appropriate implementation of one of the ideas of the workshop (provide link from A14 to M1 south). However, we have now proposed two other locations -- M6 junction 1 (which is possible with the current road network, but is some way off the coach route from London to the East Midlands and North-East), and near where the M6 crosses the A5 and former Great Central Railway (which would need a new motorway exit, but which would fit in well with the proposals to restore the railway, primarily as a ``piggy-back'' route for freight, as there would be potential for a multi-modal passenger interchange).

Unfortunately Cambridge Coach Services has announced that it plans to withdraw its existing ``A14 Express'' service, route 71 between Cambridge and Worcester. This will leave just 1-2 journeys per day on National Express 314. We have submitted proposals to Cambs CC for a replacement service between Over and Rugby (connecting at Fenstanton to/from Cambridge, and at Rugby station to/from Birmingham) which would leave the A14 to serve some of the relevant villages (Ellington, Spaldwick and Bythorn). This would also provide 5 extra buses for Fen Drayton, which lost most of its buses when Cambus revised the 155 last year. Journey time between Cambridge and Birmingham would be just over 3 hours -- not uncompetitive with existing times by train. Our proposals incorporate existing schools service 835 (Grafham-Spaldwick) and we have revised our ``Proposals for Buses in West Hunts'' document (part of our bus strategy document) to include this scheme. Again, copies can be obtained from the Coordinator by sending a stamped addressed envelope, or by email or (eventually) from our website.

Report on A14 Workshop -- Cambridge 6-7 Oct

By Simon Norton attending on behalf of Friends of the Earth

The workshop was attended by a variety of organisations, including local and national government representatives, transport operators, private transport interests and environmental groups. The last held a get-togther before the STEER meeting on 3 Oct to discuss our strategy.

The workshop was held in Cambridge's Holiday Inn, which offers more opulent surroundings than most conferences that are within the purse of local branches of voluntary groups such as ours, thus giving us a welcome opportunity to interact with the other interests mentioned above. And it turned out well in that the knowledge of David Dufty with respect to the eastern half of the route was nicely complemented by mine at the western half.

The workshop started with a delineation of the format and ground rules, followed by three sections which dealt with identification of goals, compilation of ideas, and evaluation of these ideas.

The first of these sections, which occupied the morning and early afternoon sessions of the first day, was based on the five elements of the Government's Integrated Transport strategy: Economy, Environment, Safety, Accessibility and Integration. What emerged from this section was fairly uncontroversial.

The second section, which occupied the closing session of the first day, was essentially a ``brainstormer'' where everyone was invited to submit ideas for implementing each of the identified goals in an uncensored form. Over 200 such ideas emerged.

The third section, which occupied the whole of the second day, provided the real ``meat''. We started with a quick run-through of the ideas, to eliminate repetition and throw aside the ideas considered beyond the remit of the conference (especially those which were dependent on wider national policy changes). Then the workshop was divided into three ``syndicates'' each of which was put to the task of going through a third of the ideas, identifying the problems they were intended to solve, the advantages and disadvantages they would bring, their contribution to each of the five aims of the Integrated Transport strategy, their likely financial costs (both capital and operational), benefits, and timescale, whether the Highways Agency would be the key stakeholder responsible for implementation, and what other stakeholders might also be involved. Based on all of this a decision was made on whether to keep or throw out the idea. The workshop concluded with a display of an initial evaluation of the results of the third section.

Unfortunately, the third section was severely limited by time and examination of the ideas had to be perfunctory. As a participant in one of the syndicates I certainly don't feel that the results of our discussions had a high level of significance!

Prior to the workshop I circulated the Highways Agency and the other environmental groups with copies of an A14 strategy, though not all the items therein should be taken as the policy of Transport 2000 (or Friends of the Earth) either nationally or locally. Here are all the proposals in an updated version of this document, together with the ideas associated with them produced in the brainstorming session. Those studied in the syndicate I was assigned to are starred, and plus and minus signs denote that they were, repectively, to be kept for further study or abandoned. However, the decisions of the workshop are not to be binding -- in the case of the A428 dualling, that's a pity -- so we'll still be pursuing the A14 bus stops proposal.

1. A rejection of major road widening. The two relevant ideas were ``extra lanes'' (Idea 4, *, +) and ``dual A428'' (Idea 164, -).

2. Park & Ride sites at Bar Hill and Fenstanton, to be served mainly by existing buses on routes to Cambridge from Huntingdon and Willingham. A more general version came out as Idea 12 (*, +). Our group's financial assessment was considered too good to be true, so the figures were revised downwards (!).

3. Express bus links between Haverhill and Rugby connecting with trains at Cambridge, Huntingdon, Kettering and Rugby. This was covered by ``fast bus links to rail and bus stations'' (Idea 134/140, *, +).

4. Bus stops on A14 linked to villages by safe walking routes (Idea 131, *, -). As stated above we still plan to pursue this idea in order to reduce car dependence among villagers on sections, such as Thrapston to Huntingdon, that can't support a good local service but which would be near our proposed ``A14 express'' route.

5. Reopen Cambridge-Huntingdon as part of east-west rail link, including double tracking of (part of) Cambridge to Kennett and stopping Inter-City trains at Huntingdon. The last of these didn't reach the evaluation stage. The other two came across as ``new rail links such as Cambridge-Huntingdon'' (Idea 150, +) and ``more double track and passing loops'' (Idea 153, +). A separate idea, ``construct new east-west railway'' (Idea 14, *, +) was interpreted as referring to the current East-West Consortium proposals which do not include the Cambridge-Huntingdon section.

6. Maintain and improve rights of way crossings, including new bridges at Milton and Histon for cyclists and pedestrians, and possibly buses. This came across as the construction of bridges for pedestrians and cyclists (Idea 67, +), and busways by-passing major junctions (Idea 35, +) though the proposal was also intended to cover the non-closure of footpaths crossing the A14 on the Thrapston to Brampton section (and other 2 X 2 lane sections) at locations where no bridge is to be provided under the Highways Agency's preferred scheme.

7. Provide cycleway and guided busway between Cambridge, Bar Hill and Cambourne (a planned new settlement on the A428). The former came out as ``provide cycle tracks'' (Idea 159, +) which was passed by a different syndicate. The latter, a more ``far out'' proposal intended to be linked with the building of Cambourne, became Idea 13 (*, +) though it received little enthusiasm. It might need new slip roads at the Girton interchange and could be linked with any future major refurbishment there. (The improvement of Girton was considered separately (Idea 78, +).

8. Tunnel under Huntingdon to relieve the severe environmental problems of the existing A14 and allow the space to be reallocated to the Cambridge to Huntingdon railway and a new slip road which would obviate the need for traffic between the Cambridge direction and Huntingdon centre to go via Godmanchester. This was put forward as a ``far out'' idea but somehow got lost prior to the evaluation stage.

9. New spurs at Peterborough linking the East Coast ports with the proposed Alconbury development. Though several ideas that were put forward might be considered as including this, as far as I know this particular idea was not discussed.

10. Upgrade Felixstowe-Peterborough railway for freight, with possible electrification. The first part became Idea 17 (+). Our strategy includes the idea of using the possible need to widen the Ouse Washes embankment to provide the electrification mast as an opportunity for a cycleway, but as this isn't germane to the A14 I didn't put it forward at the workshop.

11. Trans-shipment depots for freight to serve the main towns on the route, and possibly also the surrounding rural areas (Idea 39, +).

12. Protect a possible fast east-west rail link along the corridor linking Cambridge, Huntingdon, Wellingborough and Northampton. This came through as ``maintain options for future'' (Idea 197, *, +), one of four ideas we passed without evaluation because the criteria didn't seem relevant.

Here is a some other ideas put forward (the first four by me), with their fates:

(186) Traffic reduction targets. As traffic reduction targets have been a major Friends of the Earth campaign we took the opportunity to put this forward. However, we are unaware of its fate.

(130) Multi-modal transport interchanges (*). Our group considered that this was covered by other ideas.

(201) Develop Karlsruhe model of trams using conventional rail tracks (-).

(194) Renumber the Spittals (A141) to Alconbury section which branches off the A14 at the former, but is still called the A14 (+). This has caused some confusion, which had been referred to in previous discussion. It has little relevance to our objectives but I decided to put it forward because nobody else had done so!

(6) Close crossovers (*, +). Could cause problems for buses. Our group gave it a minus score, but decided to pass it because of its safety advantages. My support is conditional on adequate provision for buses -- see item on A505 later in this newsletter where the scheme being pushed forward does not do this.

(211) Encourage bike hire, especially at rail stations. A good idea popular in many parts of continental Europe (fate not known).

Branch news.

Our AGM will be held on Sat 12 Dec at 2.30 in the Friends of the Earth office at St Michael's Church, Trinity St, Cambridge. Please come along if you can -- and you can combine your trip with Christmas shopping! Please also note that we need new committee members and contact the Coordinator as soon as possible if you wish to stand, especially if you cannot attend the meeting. You may be reassured that becoming a committee member does not commit you to a lot of work. Our annual report was circulated with the last newsletter.

We have quite a few new National Supporters. This is partly due to a change in ``kickback'' funding by Transport 2000 head office, as a result of which we are able to offer them all membership of our group at no extra cost. Here is a list of those who have not previously belonged or who have changed address: S. Tam, Cambridge; J. Zatman, Saffron Walden; M. Smith, Cambridge; Kentford Parish Council, 1 Edgeboro' Close, Kentford; and S. O'Neill, Cherry Hinton. We also have one other new member, S. Smithson, Ely.

A few members have still not paid their subscriptions for 1998-9. If you have a renewal slip enclosed with your newsletter, please renew as soon as possible. If you don't wish to renew we'd appreciate notification of this. Incidentally, if the address at which you have been receiving newsletters is no longer appropriate, please let us know -- otherwise you can't expect to continue receiving them!

Page 1 of our newsletter now contains fax and email details for those who have them, also the address of our website.

National issues.

Those who follow the media will not be surprised to learn that the 1998 Queen's Speech included no new legislation on transport, except for a minor measure which gives hospitals the right to recover treatment costs for road accident victims from insurance companies. We may say that this is welcome provided that no attempt is made to recover costs from cyclists or pedestrians when they are deemed to be ``at fault'', whether or not they have insurance and even if the other party to the accident was driving uninsured (illegally).

It is widely believed that the Government is afraid to act on the White Paper's proposals, even in their watered down form (e.g. omitting the vitally needed tax on customer parking at superstores etc.) for fear of being seen as ``anti-car''. Well, there comes a time when one has to take a stand on one or other side. To be pro-car is to deprive children, old people and other non-motorists of the right of independent activity given that cars currently have the right to clog the streets, making them a source of danger for pedestrians and cyclists and preventing buses from operating a reliable service. It is to be an accessory in the disruption of our planet's climate -- and, probably, to the destruction caused by disasters like Hurricane Mitch. And a recent report suggests that promotion of the ownership and use of cars may have adverse effects on the economy -- see below. So we suggest that not to be anti-car is to be irresponsible.

The report referred to is one that was sent us by Transport 2000 HQ in which one section critcises the notion that roads generate economic development by citing the case of Japan. This country has experienced economic development perhaps unparalleled anywhere, while provision of roadspace has been well down its list of priorities. The country is probably the most rail dependent anywhere. It is suggested that this has meant that people have spent less money buying and using cars, which means more money available for productive investment. This section of the report was written from an American perspective -- it would be interesting to have a European perspective.

Finally, we mention the new bus/rail links that have been agreed as part of a recent deal between Stagecoach and Virgin. Unfortunately these links aren't the ones that we regard as most needed. For example, the existing X5 service from Cambridge to Milton Keynes and Oxford will become an official rail link. But people from Cambridge etc. joining trains at Oxford are more likely to be going west (e.g. to Bristol or Worcester) than north or south, which are the directions taken by Virgin trains at Oxford. And the Milton Keynes link could be considerably bettered by our proposed ``A14 Express'', and even the existing Northampton service, if coordinated with Silverlink trains, would offer faster transits to the Birmingham area.

Cambridge news.

We start with the city centre, where the free ``shuttle bus'' is currently operating on a long term diversion due to roadworks at the northern end of Kings Parade. Recently it was announced that car parking in some streets was to be banned in the evenings and on Sundays, but we haven't yet noticed any enforcement of this. The County Council has agreed to push forward with environmental improvements at Parker St, Silver St and Emmanuel St, though some of these seem to be linked with the ``Grand Arcade'' proposals for shops in the Robert Sayle area. However, it has rejected proposals to improve safety for cyclists at the Leys School junction by introducing traffic lights, apparently because of fears of gridlock at peak times.

The City Council has held a public meeting on the subject of the proposed Leisure Park (for which, incidentally, no more signatures to the petition are needed) at the Cattle Market site. At the meeting opposition to the plans was overwhelming because of fears about the amount of traffic that would be generated, even though there was a general consensus that more leisure provision was needed. The concept was put forward of an ``activity corridor'' (our phrase) which could support a high frequency evening bus service linking the City Centre, Railway Station, Leisure Park, Addenbrookes and the planned Babraham Rd Park & Ride Site. However it was pointed out that the last was subject to a planning condition preventing the provision of full lighting after 20.00 because of fears of ``light pollution''. Why has this never come up in all the consultations on the park & ride site? If it had we would have strongly opposed this option.

On the subject of park & ride, the County Council is now planning its next site in the Trumpington area. Three sites were shortlisted, of which one (between Hauxton Rd and Shelford Rd) looks extremely unlikely, leaving the other two, one just beyond the current limit of development on Hauxton Rd, and the other by the motorway junction. We support the second, and have objected to a proposal for a combined park & ride site and supermarket on the first.

However we strongly oppose the Council's current plans, which are to provide 1,500 spaces. We believe this will make it impossible to remove traffic from the A10 through Harston. We would prefer to distribute these spaces among three sites, at the Trumpington and Duxford M11 junctions, and near Foxton station. The Council is also considering converting the former railway line south of Long Rd to a guided busway. We see little point in this as buses will still be subject to holdups north of Long Rd.

On the subject of supermarkets, we are glad to report that the Arbury Park development proposed by Sainsbury's has been turned down. This has boosted the prospects for shopping improvements in the City Centre (the Grand Arcade scheme referred to above). The Waitrose scheme, on another site in Trumpington, has had its public inquiry and is now awaiting a decision.

Other road and rail news.

The A1(M) between Alconbury and Peterborough is now open, with the official opening on 31 Oct. Because of the previous government's method of financing, we taxpayers will have to fork out for every vehicle that uses the route -- so we hope the Government will treat traffic reduction more seriously! Our opinion is that the scheme might have made sense if the whole of the A1 had been upgraded to become a relief to the M1 (which we would have strongly opposed) but that the scheme as it stands is pointless as capacity now far exceeds requirements -- which, fortunately, means that traffic generation is likely to be limited. That is, unless local authorities use the existence of the capacity as an excuse to give permission for new developments.

Hunts District Council is expected to make a decision on the Alconbury distribution centre proposals next month. As stated before, we do not oppose the scheme in principle; we have misgivings about some aspects, but we support the ``Quality Bus'' proposals (which in the absence of County Council action will be the quickest way to get a regular service on the A14 westwards to Huntingdon) though we believe these could be improved.

The County Council has agreed to push forward the plan to close Moorfield Rd, Duxford where it crosses the A505 (except for left turns into and out of the A505). We strongly oppose this on the grounds of disruption to bus routes 112 (weekdays) and 102/103 (Sundays). Apparently Stagecoach Cambus told the Council that it expected to be able to accommodate the diversion within its schedule -- but even if so, why should bus users have to put up with a long detour simply so that motorists can speed along the A505?

We are glad to be able to report that one of our rail campaign objectives has been achieved: Network Railcards are now valid on Central Trains services between Ely and Stansted Airport. Also all ``not Stansted Airport'' restrictions have been removed from tickets, which will particularly benefit Sunday travellers; according to the National Routeing Guide travel via Stansted Airport is permitted provided one is travelling between Cambridge (or beyond) and Hackney Downs (or beyond) or has a ticket valid for such a journey. We are still not clear as to what ``easements'' have been given to allow travel to Stansted Airport via Stansted Mountfitchet or Bishops Stortford, except that passengers originating at Stansted Mountfitchet may not travel via Bishops Stortford even on Sundays when there is no alternative.

Cambs bus news.

Halfway through the despatch of our last newsletter we received details of the Cambus changes on 12 Oct. We were able to include a quick summary in the form of a supplement which we sent out to all the members whose newsletters had not been posted. This supplement (with minor edits) is reproduced at the end of this newsletter.

The note we received didn't make it clear whether the changes meant the end of the Cambridge City cuts that had been introduced on a temporary basis. We are glad to confirm that they did.

Our main concern at the changes relates to the loss of the regular hourly link between Trumpington and Addenbrookes (route 9). There is now a much more limited service obtained by diverting route 31 (which means longer journey times from Hauxton, Newton, Thriplow and Fowlmere to the City Centre). Unfortunately we see no ``quick fix'' for this, though it would be covered by our proposed park & ride network, which includes a link between Addenbrookes and Madingley Rd via Trumpington and Grantchester. Also, the County Council was forced to tender out the Newmarket area services that Cambus abandoned. The result was a mixed bag, with Kirtling at long last recovering its lost Saturday service to Newmarket, but Six Mile Bottom now has no service to Newmarket on Tuesdays (market day).

The service level in Kirtling now compares very unfavourably with that for Suffolk villages along the Newmarket-Haverhill corridor, served by the new Suffolk CC route 225/226. We've urged that selected journeys on this route should divert via Kirtling and Upend, but will the two county councils cooperate? And Six Mile Bottom has lots of buses (and trains) passing through, but without stopping: the buses are on Speedlink 747 between Norwich and Brighton, which runs 2 hourly day and night. Is it beyond the wit of everyone involved to arrange an extra stop?

Since our last newsletter three new services (to our knowledge) have appeared which are financed by Cambs CC's share of the Rural Transport Fund. There are extra evening journeys on Cambus 155/6 -- a circular to Willingham and a short working to Bar Hill. There's a new 2 hourly route operated by Huntingdon & District between Huntingdon and Chatteris, with some journeys extended to March; and there's a new rail link between Somersham and Huntingdon.

What do we think of these routes? The 155/6 will help people living in the relevant villages -- but we believe that there's a danger of disintegration on the Huntingdon Rd corridor, with evening services run by four operators (Cambus 155-9, Huntingdon & District 553-5, United Counties X51, and Myalls 151, on which more below). The Chatteris to Huntingdon route plugs what was prehaps the most important ``missing link'' within the county, though only 5 days a week. It is a pity that the timetable of the Somersham rail link does not recognise the fact that Network Railcards are not valid on Mondays to Fridays till after 10.00.

Other changes have mostly been a backward step, following on the heels of the withdrawal of the 84 (the main route over Twenty Pence Bridge) and curtailment of the 38, formerly Cambridge-London via Haverhill and Saffron Walden, at Linton, both reported in previous newsletters. There are changes to Myall's 151, where the last eastbound journey, which should have been diverted via Huntingdon Rail Station to connect with trains from both London and Peterborough, has been withdrawn, and the previous round trip curtailed at Godmanchester which now has nothing from Huntingdon after the last rail-link journey at 18.59 (except for Cambridge Coach Services 71, but see below). Somehow the Council seem unable to contemplate that people want to return home on trains after the evening peak and to provide buses to take people home from relevant stations. Please write to the Council about this. Possible addressees include the Passenger Transport department, Environment & Transport office; Cllr Shona Johnstone, Chair of the Environment & Transport Committee; or your local county councillor: all at Cambridgeshire County Council, Shire Hall, Castle St, Cambridge CB3 0AP.

There have been a number of changes to coach services, of which the most worrying is the withdrawal of the 71 between Cambridge and Worcester after the last journey on 20 Dec. We believe that meanwhile the service has been diverted to serve the new Warndon Coachway, near Worcester -- though timings for coach connections are poor. As stated earlier we have drawn up detailed proposals for a replacement service which would have three round trips between Boxworth End and Rugby, except that one would extend to/from Over (because there is no convenient 156 connection) and the last westbound would terminate at Huntingdon. Cambridge Coach Services have also made timing changes to many of their other services. National Express have deleted the Cannon St/Bank and Westminster stops from their Cambridge-London shuttle, except at peak hours -- a pity. They have also cut their service on the traditional route between Cambridge and Oxford to one journey each way, but there is now an 07.10 to Northampton and corresponding evening return. These can be used to connect with trains to/from Birmingham, but it's a lot more expensive than United Counties! Talking of which, someone told me recently that there was provision for their Oxford service, the X5, to make extra stops at places on the line of route at some distance from their advertised stops -- anyone know anything about this?

In the Peterborough area Delaine have rerouted the whole of their Stamford via Barnack service via Glinton and Helpston, with the result that Marholm, Ufford and Southorpe now have very few buses (well, this has always been true of Southorpe). There have been several new routes operating as a result of the Rural Transport Fund initiatives of Rutland and Lincs. The former are relatively meagre -- and the only extra buses in Cambs are twice a month Saturday shopping services from Edith Weston and Stretton to Peterborough. Also, over the border in Stamford, the following extra journeys tun: 144 (Friday and Saturday evenings from Oakham), 145 (Saturdays from Little Casterton), 12/12A (extra journeys from Uppingham and villages in the area), while extra villages have been added to routes 176 (Leicester, 2nd Wed) and 626 (Oakham via villages).

As for Lincs, much more has been added, but the Council has said that they don't expect to be able to keep up more than half the improvements after March 1999. The following routes go into or near Cambs: Peterborough-Spalding (evenings); Spalding-Stamford (ditto); Sutton St Edmunds-Peterborough/Spalding (shopping, Tues & Fris); Tydd Gote-Spalding (commuters, no connection to/from Wisbech); Long Sutton-Wisbech (commuters); Bourne-Stamford (ditto); Stamford-Lincoln (Saturday shopper) and Stamford-Peterborough Thorpe Wood (commuters). More on Lincs below.

Cambs bus campaigns.

We have updated our bus strategy document, which now has three appendices: the ``A14 Express'' proposals, a proposed regional Sunday network, and a network for W Hunts. The first and last appendices were mentioned in the headline article; the second and the main document can also be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the Coordinator, or by email or, eventually, from our website. The main changes from previous versions are:

  1. New Sunday network in Wisbech: hourly from Cambridge replacing X55 and X56, alternately via Friday Bridge and Wisbech St Mary; recasting of 701 to run hourly from Peterborough, alternately to Whittlesey (or Coates) and Guyhirn; and diversion of X94 via Eye. All these routes would connect at Guyhirn and Wisbech to provide other journey opportunities.
  2. Linton area: the proposed strengthening of Cambridge-Haverhill should be implemented so that alternate journeys run via Horseheath (113) and the Camps (136), with the former running direct between Cambridge and Linton. New hourly connecting service (evenings included) between Linton, Saffron Walden and Audley End, via Hadstock and Little Walden or Bartlow and Ashdon. This would replace existing services 29 (Linton-Saffron Walden) and 59 (Haverhill-Audley End).
  3. A14 corridor: new service Over-Rugby as mentioned earlier, with adjustments to our proposals for the W Hunts network (which are based on the former ``Stagecoach 400'' network).
  4. Newmarket area: extra buses for Kirtling by diversion of 225/226 (as mentioned earlier), and a new minibus shuttle from Kennett station to Kentford and Herringswell, using a vehicle small enough not to be affected by the weight restriction in Kentford, connecting with trains (Cambridge/Peterborough-Ipswich) and route 200 (Newmarket-Thetford), with corresponding adjustments to the 200 and 355/356 (Bury-Mildenhall), on which we want some journeys extended via Prickwillow to Ely city centre and station.

Other bus news.

Some of the Sunday bus cuts imposed in Bucks in April appear to have been restored: services now run hourly from High Wycombe to Reading and Aylesbury (before April they were 2 hourly, but in April the servoce became hourly between Princes Risborough and Marlow only). There are now 2 hourly connections between Ayelsbury and Luton via Whipsnade Zoo. Other services have retained the same basic frequency but run earlier and/or later. However services to/from Slough and Buckingham have not been restored. In Herts, Aylesbury to Watford is now hourly. A new daily service between Stevenage and Stansted Airport, operated by Cambridge Coach Services, is due to start on 19 Dec -- however we would prefer to see this as part of a longer distance route.

Here are some of the improvements in Lincs not already mentioned -- the list is far from exhaustive. Holbeach St Matthew is served by new commuter links and a midday postbus, which also serves Gedney Drove End. These routes give access to attractive marshland walks. Further east there is a Peter Scott nature trail which looks as if it can be accessed by a Friday service from Walpole Cross Keys to Wingland Marsh, connecting from Kings Lynn. A new evening service between Grantham and Woolsthorpe by Belvoir (not to be confused with Newton's birthplace) may make access to Belvoir Castle easier. New or improved inter-urban routes include Bourne-Grantham, Alford-Spilsby, Lincoln-Boston, Boston-Skegness (evenings and Sundays), Boston-Spalding (evenings), Grantham-Lincoln (early mornings. evenings and Sundays), Skegness-Louth, Lincoln-Gainsborough (commuters, evenings and Sundays), Market Rasen-Louth, Horncastle-Louth and Gainsborough-Scunthorpe (evenings). A new postbus in the Caistor area is also promised but hasn't yet started.

Concern has been expressed in Essex and Suffolk that changes to commercial services have left two villages high and dry -- Dedham, a famed Constable Country village, and Bramfield.

The new All London bus map shows three new hourly services to surrounding counties: Enfield to Hatfield following the railway line to Cuffley; Bromley to Edenbridge (extended from Westerham), providing access to Churchill's former home at Chartwell; and Tatsfield-New Addington (diverted from Croydon), which may be intended to connect at New Addington with trams to Croydon when they appear, but at present one has to change to a bus.

Further afield, in Devon, new or radically improved routes have been introduced between Exeter and Dorchester (via the south coast), Salcombe (via Totnes) and Bideford (via Beaford and Torrington). There have also been improvements elsewhere in the county, but unfortunately Western National hasn't issued its usual series of winter timetables (though it has in Cornwall where there are lots of improvements in coastal areas -- well it's difficult not to serve the coast in Cornwall!). In nearby Somerset the Sunday network referred to in our last newsletter has been complemented by extra evening buses and a few other improvements.

Gloucestershire has several new weekday and Sunday buses, including rail links from Lydney to Monmouth and Kemble to Cirencester; extra services between Wotton Under Edge and Yate/Bristol and between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury (including evenings and Sundays); and Sunday buses linking Gloucester, Cinderford, Lydney, Coleford and Symonds Yat, which build on the improvements mentioned in our last newsletter. There are also new Sunday services in Hereford and Worcester (which are now two separate administrative areas, but which still share in their Sunday Rover scheme) including services between Hereford and Worcester via Bromyard, Hereford and Malvern via Ledbury, Redditch and Cheltenham via Evesham and Broadway, and Stratford and Worcester via Evesham, Worcester and Gloucester via Tewkesbury. Dean. Moving north to the Wrekin, now ``independent'' of Shropshire, there is now a Sunday network which provides access to the Wrekin itself for walkers, and to the Ironbridge Gorge; and a curious route to Wolverhampton via Pattingham.

West Sussex has extra Sunday services: from East Grinstead to Gatwick Airport (though still nothing over the border to Tunbridge Wells); from Cranleigh to Horsham connecting to/from Guildford; and a local service from Chichester to Tangmere.

At the Transport 2000 national AGM there was lots of comment about the complete lack of interest of North Yorkshire County Council in rural buses, even though the county has two national parks which attract lots of visitors. (Though the North York Moors has been very successful in promoting its Moorsbus network.) It was stated that the Wensleydale Railway Company had had to apply off its own bat for money to run a Garsdale to Northallerton link through the winter. (How about a link between Leyburn and Ripon?) However, the new Tuesday service between Ilkley and Hawes (but not the weekend services on this corridor) will run all winter. The energetic may wish to alight at Kettlewell off this service and walk to Scar House reservoir, from which a bus will take one to Pateley Bridge on schooldays at 16.15 -- or just enjoy the ride from?? school in Pateley Bridge at 15.40. Incidentally, Pateley Bridge has lost its Sunday buses, and the York to Skipton link has also been axed, but there are now more buses between Ripon and Leeds or York.

While in Yorkshire we can't resist referring to the Transperience museum in Low Moor, near Bradford. This museum of public transport was built to a lavish scale but never attracted many visitors, and has now been sold off by the liquidator. Could this be anything to do with the fact that like Six Mile Bottom it was inaccessible by public transport -- the nearest bus stop is 25 minutes walk away over a golf course -- even though trains (on the Leeds to Manchester via Halifax route) and buses (on the Bradford to Sheffield ``White Rose Express'' route) pass nearby. The latter passed by on a nearby motorway; although there's an interchange which could have been used to access the museum, the buses didn't bother to do so. Moral: provide decent public transport links before starting up any new enterprise.

Still on buses, we return to:

Supplement to Newsletter 64 -- Cambus changes planned 12 Oct

This is a summary of changes to bus services following from a reshuffle by Stagecoach Cambus with the aim of reducing staffing requirements. It is based on information provided by Cambs County Council and will be sent to all members who at the time of writing have not yet been sent their September 1998 newsletter. Our comments are given in bold.

1 (Cambridge rail link): withdrawn, see 3, which restores a passable service.

2 (Oakington-Cambridge): amalgamates with 10 (Cambridge-Addenbrookes via station) but not serving Grafton Centre. First from Oakington 07.47, last back leaves Emmanuel St 18.24.

3 (Cowley Rd-Fison Rd): runs Fison Rd-Stn every 10 minutes. Cowley Rd section served by 7 (also every 10 minutes). Runs (from where?) every 10 mins 07.50 to 18.20 then 18.40 and 19.00, from Emmanuel St 10 mins earlier. Extra journeys St Andrews St to Cowley Rd 18.17 and 18.37.

6 (Buchan St-Teversham): 08.00 ex Teversham and 17.48 ex Emmanuel St (17.27 ex CRC) extend to/from Newmarket replacing 114.

8 (Fen Estate-Addenbrookes): Timing changes.

9 (Cambridge-Addenbrookes-Trumpington): withdrawn, see 31. We believe the latter does not offer an adequate replacement, and also unduly extends journey time from the villages on the 31 route, but have no ``quick fix'' solutions. However our proposals to split the 31 into two sections each running as an extension of a Shelford Rd service, and to run a circular park & ride route serving Addenbrookes via Trumpington, would solve both problems.

X11 (Bury-Cambridge): 15.00 ex Bury terminates Newmarket on schooldays.

X13 (Cambridge-Haverhill): replaced by extension of 17.40 ex Cambridge (136) to Chalkstone Way.

22/103 (Cambridge-Granta Valley): 08.05 ex Cambridge and 15.50 ex Sawston VC withdrawn. 07.51 ex Duxford starts Hinxton, 07.45 ex Hinxton starts Whittlesford.

31 (Cambridge-Fowlmere/Barley): Takes over full length of route 9. Leaves Cambridge 08.35 (32 to Fowlmere), 11.05 and 15.00 (to Trumpington), 12.35 and 14.20 (to Fowlmere), 16.00 to Chishill via Leys School, 17.45 to Barley. Return 07.02 from Barley, 08.55, 11.23 and 16.06 from Trumpington, 09.25 and 13.25 from Fowlmere.

44/5 (Cambridge-Fulbourn/Haverhill): 15.10 Cambridge-Fulbourn and 16.02 return extend to/from Balsham; 15.40 Cambridge-West Wickham and 17.02 ex Fulbourn extend to/from Withersfield; 17.32 ex Fulbourn starts Haverhill but runs M-F only; 09.40 Cambridge-Fulbourn and 10.02 and 15.32 return, 15.05 Cambridge-Haverhill and 15.40 Cambridge-Fulbourn withdrawn; 17.10 Cambridge-Fulbourn/Haverhill amalgamated; 07.42 Fulbourn-Cambridge replaced by extension of 07.55 ex Cherry Hinton (route 4); 07.05 Haverhill-Cambridge amalgamated with 08.05 ex Fulbourn.

111/116/122 (Cambridge/Ely/Newmarket via Burwell): 08.00 Cambridge to Bottisham and 16.00 return run to/from Soham as 122 replacing 15.06 Soham-Burwell (116), 08.45 Cambridge-Newmarket 10 mins earlier, 16.45 Cambridge-Newmarket 30 mins earlier and runs 6 days a week, 09.15 Burwell-Cambridge starts Soham as 122, new journey 16.50 Newmarket-Ely, 17.45 Ely-Burwell extends to Newmarket, 16.45 Cambridge-Soham diverts via Bottisham, 17.20 extends to Ely, 07.10 Soham-Cambridge starts Isleham, 09.45 Cambridge-Ely withdrawn.

141: morning journey 25 mins earlier, afternoon jny 10 mins earlier.

160/5/8: withdrawn except Friday journeys operated by Burton. Cambs CC is seeking replacements for those journeys and villages not covered by routes 46, Burtons 165, 200 and 202. These would run from Six Mile Bottom (except on Tuesdays -- market day -- why?) also from Upend Tues and Sats, the latter at last provising a part replacement for former 167.

170: withdrawn, replacement to be investigated.

171: withdrawn between Earith and St Ives, connections available on 157. 3 journeys per day Earith-Ely, first and last each way connecting to/from St Ives. Buses leave Earith 07.42, 10.37 and 13.59, Ely 10.00, 13.15 and 16.15. Are the connections to/from that allow travel from Cottenham and intermediate points to Ely recognised? Aldreth journeys retimed.

177: withdrawn, 155 provides alternative.

196: 07.46 ex Waterbeach runs 6 mins earlier, 18.00 ex Cambridge replaced by extension of 3 (q.v.) starting station at 17.50.

Action Line:

We remind you of our AGM at the Friends of the Earth office, St Michael's Church, Trinity St, Cambridge on 12 Dec starting 2.30.

And remember to write to the County Council to say that people's need for transport to get home from their local railway station does not finish with the evening peak, whether they are on a day trip to London (where railcard restrictions may prevent them from arriving before about 11.00) or coming back from a longer trip from further afield.

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