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According to the history books, there was a Roman politician who ended every speech with the sentence ``Carthage must be destroyed''. Could there be someone in some road lobby organisation who, in their internal meetings, ends every speech with the sentence ``Cambridge must be destroyed''? After all, having defeated Carthage, Rome feared that they might arise again and seek vengeance. And many ``car supremacists'' regard Cambridge as a running sore where they are deprived of the free-flow travel they have come to expect, and parking is scarce and expensive, and streets have been made over to cyclists and pedestrians.
No, this would be taking conspiracy theory too far. But what can be said is that if the Highways Agency were trying to destroy Cambridge, the scheme to dual the A428 out to the A1198 junction at Caxton Gibbet, soon to come to public inquiry, is an excellent first step.
I should say that when I refer to the ``destruction'' of Cambridge I am not here referring to its physical demolition. Rather, its social and economic roles in the surrounding area would be transferred to the surrounding area, to locations that can easily be reached by car (though not by public transport or bike). How would this follow from this road scheme?
Well, according to the Highways Agency's own figures, there will be an extra 4-5000 or so vehicle movements in each direction to/from the Cambridge road network as a result of the scheme (i.e. over and above the increase due to things like the growth of Cambourne).
The Highways Agency have produced no figures as to how this will impact on the Cambridge local road network. What they say is that ``this is not their problem'' but that of the local authorities. So much for joined-up thinking.
The three most likely options for the extra A428 traffic to enter or leave the Cambridge local road network are Madingley Road, Histon Road and Milton Road. The first and last have park & ride sites, all three also have conventional bus services, and the last two are the routes to/from the City Centre which the projected guided bus network would use. So in all cases, the extra traffic would jeopardise the ability of public transport to provide an alternative to driving, thus leading to further traffic increases.
As Cambridge becomes a ``no-go'' area for both motorists and bus users, businesses and facilities will desert the city for greener pastures. Already South Cambridgeshire District Council have decided to move their HQ to Cambourne, and several pundits urge the recolation of the main shopping facilities for Cambridge to a ``new town'' such as that planned for Longstanton, leaving the city as a type of museum where shops are aimed at tourists rather than serving local needs. Is this what we want?
Cambridgeshire County Council support the scheme. Apparently they have figures (which we haven't seen) to show it won't impose an undue burden on the Cambridge local road network. But, given that peak-time traffic levels are already above capacity, how can this be? Of course, the County Council have no special brief for Cambridge City -- indeed the ruling Tory group don't have a single councillor within the City.
Cambridge City Council, controlled by the Lib Dems, are neutral to the scheme, neither supporting nor opposing it. They have accepted the county council evaluation, and do not feel called upon to make their own independent evaluation of the effect of the scheme on Cambridge City. Yet the Lib Dems issued the ``Cambridge Herald'' which condemns the Government for jettisoning rail development plans in favour of road widening. So how come they won't back this up by opposing this highly damaging scheme?
When Labour came to power in 1997 the relevant Minister, Mr John Prescott, said that if traffic hadn't started to reduce within 5 years he would have failed. Well, he did fail. The Government has dropped traffic reduction as a target and accepted ever rising traffic, regardless of whether it can actually be physically accommodated in our urban areas, let alone its ecological effect. (Have we already forgotten the 11,000 French deaths in this summer's heat wave -- which was exactly in line with the predictions of climate scientists of the consequences of excessive use of fossil fuels for transport and other purposes?)
This is a personal message from your Coordinator.
The A428 dualling scheme represents an all time low in terms of the conduct of the Highways Agency. As we said above, their assessment of the scheme has relegated Cambridge to the status of an Orwell-style ``uncity'', even though its importance extends far beyond the shores of Britain (for example, the historic city centre is a World Heritage Site). Their statement of case for the scheme is the shoddiest document I have come across in 25 years of transport campaigning, because of its complete neglect of what is surely the key issue. In our own proof of evidence, my reassessment of the scheme comes out negative (or neutral) on every count! This is completely unprecedented in my experience -- even other road schemes that we have opposed have had some sort of advantage (which in our campaigning we have tried to keep while getting rid of the negative effects).
And the Highways Agency seems to be pushing ahead with the scheme with indecent haste. If it had followed the same timescale as the Great Barford By-pass, the public inquiry would not have been until next year. Instead, I was forced to worry about how to arouse the interest of prospective allies during the traditional holiday month for politicians and activists, and while writhing with discomfort from this summer's heatwave: it was late July/early August that I received a closely spaced series of letters giving less than a month's notice of the pre-inquiry meeting at the beginning of September, with less than two months before the actual inquiry at the end of this month. The Highways Agency never sleeps...
I dare say there are procedures to submit pleas for more time. For example, Huntingdonshire District Council successfully extended the period for them (and other participants including us) to update their evidence to the Alconbury public inquiry from 3 to 6 weeks -- even though the task of updating evidence already given is surely a lot easier than that of preparing for an inquiry. But this is a planning rather than a road inquiry. (My experience is that it is the latter that are conducted in a uniquely unfair manner.)
I have had very little response from official bodies. This spring, pursuing an idea that came out of a Transport 2000 workshop on road campaigning, I wrote to the Countryside Agency and DEFRA to point out how road schemes in our region flouted the remits of these organisations and seeking their support. No answer. Nor have I yet had any satisfactory response to my repeated pleas to local councillors to arrange for me to see the official county council response to this project. When Cambridge Lib Dems issued a newsletter in which they (rightly) criticised the Government for using their resources on futile road improvements rather than the rail network, I hoped in vain that the Lib Dem controlled City Council might be prepared to help our campaign. But apparently these words were only a stick to beat Labour rather than an expression of their actual policy stance.
I sent pleas out to other activists calling for help, but with little response. Not long afterwards, while on holiday myself, I spent a sleepless night in Shropshire worrying about the issue. I decided that if I was to enjoy my trip I'd have to (hand)write, and send off as soon as possible, a spoof letter to the Highways Agency in which:
(a) I would withdraw my objection to the road scheme on the grounds that the people of Cambridge, Britain and the world didn't deserve to be protected from the relentless onslaught of motorism -- and see below for why I myself wouldn't care.
(b) I would announce my intention of ``doing a Dr Kelly'' in the hope that this might lead to an inquiry in which the real issues might be examined.
I may say that I never had the smallest intention of doing either of these (though if the scheme goes ahead I might still decide that I no longer want to live in Cambridge -- that is if I can find somewhere better); but having scrawled an appropriate letter and sent it to Transport 2000 HQ, at least I was able to get to sleep for the rest of that particular holiday trip, knowing that I had managed to communicate my frustration. (When I got home, I sidestepped the handwriting problem by taking the copy I had made and emailing it to various quarters.)
I am now convinced that a proper presentation of our case would demolish the Highways Agency's case for the scheme. How can they be entitled to get away with an assessment that ignores the most important implication of the scheme, its effect on Cambridge?
But I am equally sure that I do not have the experience needed to put my case properly to the public inquiry. At the A1(M) inquiry the Inspector appeared to listen courteously to my objection -- and then in his report said that he was unable to consider my proposals for some technical reason which was not made clear to me at the time (though I did manage to get some gobbledegook I didn't understand after taking the issue to the Parliamentary Ombudsman). At the A421 Great Barford By-pass inquiry the Inspector silenced me on the grounds that I was, in his opinion, criticising Government policy (which is forbidden under the ground rules). My view -- which I tried to explain -- is that what I was doing was to discuss Government policy in order show how the Highways Agency was perverting it for their own ends. He said that if I wanted to take the issue further I would have to resort to the courts.
It is a lot to ask ``pro bono publico'' objectors to mortgage their houses to pay for the legal costs of a challenge (say under the Human Rights Act, which requires public inquiries to be ``fair'' -- and we are unaware of any steps that have been taken since the passing of the Act to review inquiry procedures); even though I regard my house as vulnerable to global warming in 50-100 years time, I won't have to do a ``Dr Kelly'' to be dead by then! With the Government able to call on taxpayers to finance its legal costs, the legal system is itself a source of unfairness.
The inquiry venue is also not one that we would have chosen: Dry Drayton Village Hall. Just 3-4 buses a day (Whippet 8), though there is also a half hourly service on Stagecoach 155-6 serving the Bar Hill perimeter road from which a bridleway runs to Dry Drayton. Surely, as the largest and most accessible community in the area and the one likely to be worst affected, Cambridge would be a more appropriate place for an inquiry?
How can we restore the national support network for road campaigners? Not long ago we were part of a group called Alarm UK which fought the then Government's ``Roads to Prosperity'' proposals and managed to get many of them withdrawn. I used to take part in Friends of the Earth email groups discussing roads and traffic reduction, and to receive messages from another email list about direct action protests against roads and other projects. All of this has gone now.
Our group used to have regular meetings, as did Cambridge Friends of the Earth's transport campaign, and others. I used to believe that the loss of these meetings didn't really matter as we had managed to move over to email as a way to conduct our business. Now I think differently. Email is a great campaign tool but no substitute for personal contact as a way of developing ideas.
What should be the campaigner's motto was stated eloquently in the aftermath of World War II's concentration camps: ``for evil to triumph it is sufficient that good people do nothing''.
So what can readers of this newsletter do? Well, start by taking notice of our regular feature ``Action Line'' (and let us know what you are doing, e.g. by sending copies of any letters you write). This issue contains some recommendations relevant to the A428 issue, but also others which aim to make us into a more effective campaign organisation. For example, I think we need to resurrect regular meetings in which not only Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk but also other local campaign organisations can participate.
What would be an effective format for organising such meetings? How about having a fixed date (e.g. the 3rd Thursday of every month) and a fixed venue, thus saving the hassle of making separate arrangements for each meeting. These meetings would dispense with speakers and formal business (which I believe take too much time out of meetings of groups such as Railfuture) and concentrate on discussing issues brought by participants and how to mount effective action. Because of their frequency and regularity, those who were unable to come to one meeting to raise an issue of concern to them would find the next one not far behind.
Please let me know if you agree with this idea, and, if so, whether you would be willing to help turn it into reality.
To try to counteract the gloom and doom of the last section, here is an issue about which some people have taken it upon themselves to initiate action. We hope that our members will wish to join them (and have circulated the relevant leaflet with this newsletter) -- but remember that the two issues are not directly related, so don't use your support for the railway as an excuse to ignore the threat to Cambridge from ever increasing road traffic!
At our AGM last year, we agreed to support the idea of a busway on the St Ives line to cater for short term needs, such as trips to the Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge Regional College, and Impington and Swavesey Village Colleges, as the new town at Longstanton takes shape, but with the intention of restoring the route to rail use in the longer term, possibly in combination with a busway on a route independent of the old railway line. But now there is a credible plan to restore a rail service between Swavesey and Milton Road in a similar or even shorter timescale. We are therefore happy to give our support to the CAST.IRON project. Below we print an article written by the Chairman (dated 8 Sept), followed by an email message we received asking for specific action (dated 19 Sept).
The Story So Far, by Tim Phillips
Opened in 1847, the railway line from Cambridge via St Ives to Huntingdon carried passengers and freight until 1959, when the St Ives-Huntingdon section was removed. Services continued reasonably successfully into the 1960s on what was now a branch from Cambridge to St Ives but private car use eventually forced it to close to passenger services in 1970.
Occasional passenger charters visited the branch until the late 1980s, when the Railway Development Society ran two all day Saturday services from Swavesey, three miles southeast of St Ives, to promote reopening. The most successful of these started the day with a two car first generation diesel multiple unit running as a shuttle but the sheer number of people using it to go into Cambridge meant that an additional thee car unit had to be brought in from Norwich to bolster the final return service of the day.
A daily -- or rather nightly -- aggregates train continued to run to and from Fen Drayton pits, between Swavesey and St Ives, via Cambridge, to Kings Cross until the early 1990s. These trains were up to 1000 tonnes in overall weight.
Track exists, albeit overgrown and largely in poor condition, from Fen Drayton (where there is a runaround) to its south facing connection with the northbound (``down'') Cambridge-Ely main line at Chesterton Junction. There is a crossover to the ``up''; line.
Aggregates trains continue to use the crossover and junction, as there is a spur off the St Ives line into a major facility at Chesterton Junction Yard. At present, the points to this spur are permanently set to diverge into the yard as the St Ives Line beyond them was formally closed on 2 Aug 2003 (see below).
In the late 1990s the Government launched the Cambridge-Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study (CHUMMS), chiefly to address the chronic traffic congestion experienced on the A14 trunk road between its junction with the M11 north of Cambridge to its large triangular junction with the A1 at Brampton/Alconbury, close to Huntingdon.
The study produced four options for transport ``packages'' along this transport corridor. Of these, three were for improvements to the road and a guided bus system along most of the railway route. Only one provided for rail, and the road option that was packaged with it was for a completely new alignment, crossing ancient fenland and passing between villages.
Unsurprisingly, after consultation, the latter option was rejected almost exclusively on grounds of the devastating effect of the road route. The conclusion reached by the County Council was that rail had been rejected and it moved vigorously towards plans for the guided bus as the Government would only release funds for the road improvements once the public transport (``Rapid Transit'') option had been put in place.
Since then, the Council has consistently claimed that the guided bus is the only option on the table, using the justification that this is the scheme upon which the Government has insisted. Attempts to lobby for the rail option via conventional channels have been met by this blank wall as the Council has to date been seen as the only starting point.
One of the leading supporters of the guided bus within the Council has described the consultation that has brought matters to this stage as ``far from perfect''.The CAST.IRON Story:
Inspired by the success on 4 July 2003 of the first trains for 49 years on the Wensleydale Railway (an independent organisation formed to restore rail services to the Northallerton-Garsdale route), Cambridge resident and accountant Tim Phillips realised there was a ``third way'' of operating a railway line. Thanks to the mechanism of privatisation, it was now possible to operate passenger trains on disused or unused Railtrack/Network Rail lines without being one of the franchised Train Operating Companies.
By 17 July, Mr Phillips had put together a basic plan for the staged reintroduction of rail services on the St Ives line based on the Wensleydale model; that is, a community railway paid for and operated by the residents and businesses along the line. The principal limitations at each end of the route are:
South East: Crossing the Milton Road, a main arterial road leading north out of Cambridge.
South East: Joining the main line and obtaining paths into Cambridge Station.
North West: Absence of track beyond Fen Drayton.
Stage 1 is therefore Cambridge Science Park (immediately beyond the Milton Road crossing) to Swavesey (immediately east of the last crossing before Fen Drayton).
Subject to survey, the formation from Fen Drayton to the outskirts of St Ives (where the former route is now severed by a road by-pass) remains available for rail use and the reinstatement of this section forms Stage 2.
Stage 3 involves taking the necessary steps to cross Milton Road and obtain running powers onto Network Rail metals and into Cambridge Station.
Stage 4 consists of upgrade and improvement to the first three stages whilst the ultimate goal - Stage 5 onwards - is the reconnection to the East Coast Main Line at Huntingdon, providing a much needed strategic link for local, regional, national and possibly international services, both passenger and freight.
It has always been recognised that Stage 5 onwards will require substantial funding beyond the means of the local population, commensurate with the wider benefits.
The staged proposals were promoted on the Internet, through letters in the local press and some modest coverage in articles and radio broadcasts. The response was overwhelming, including an offer of GBP 100,000 from an individual, provided fund raising at least matched this figure.
Based very broadly on the Wensleydale model, the cost of achieving Stage 1 is estimated at GBP 2m and could be achieved within 2 years. The actual cost and timescale depends on many factors, in particular obtaining access to Network Rail land.
The chain of events in this respect makes for interesting reading.
CAST.IRON applied formally to Network Rail to lease the land in a letter dated 27 July 2003. On 29 July 2003, Alan Browning (Rail Development Officer at Cambridgeshire County Council) received a letter from NR containing two pieces of information: that an organisation called CAST.IRON was in existence; and that the St Ives branch was finally to be closed at midnight on Sat 2 Aug.
Subsequent information has revealed that the ``network change'' process by which the line was closed commenced on 24 Mar 2003, well before CAST.IRON came into existence.
However the precipitous nature of the actual closure is less transparent. In particular, the completion of the process at the earliest opportunity after an offer to lease the line is of great concern. It can be seen that final closure was decided upon on the very day an offer to lease the land was received. It may have been within the letter of the rules, but in terms of NR being a publicly owned rail company accountable to its representative members, was it within the spirit of the rules? After all, CAST.IRON's members and supporters are the taxpaying public, too.
Regrettably, this sequence of events has resulted in a situation where CAST.IRON and the County Council are now in direct opposition with regard to access to railway lands.
Public support for the rail option is compelling, as evidenced by letters in the local press and the ``Boot out the Bus'' campaign being waged by the Hunts Post. The City and District Councils are broadly against the guided bus but the County Council continues to insist that it is the only option.
At the time of writing, the Council is due to vote on whether to submit a Transport and Works Act application to the Government.
Meanwhile, CAST.IRON continues to receive ever more public support. A 100,000 door to door leaflet drop has seen memberships, offers of voluntary and professional help and donations coming in by the score within a few days. Of approximately 1000 communications in various forms received by the organisation (not including those from Councillors and Council officers), just one has been anti-rail with one other questioning the feasibility.
The organisation has written a strong letter of condemnation to the County Council for allowing this situation to arise: copies of the letter have been sent to all 58 Councillors along with the CAST.IRON vision document, which outlines the advantages of the rail option and how it can be achieved.
Therefore, at the time of writing, CAST.IRON and the people of Cambridgeshire and beyond await with interest the decision of the County Council. There is still time to write to individual councillors and the Council itself.
If a Transport and Works Act is to be pursued, the next steps are:
Meanwhile, permission has been sought from NR to go onto railway lands to clear vegetation. This has to happen whatever becomes of the alignment but regrettably no response has been received to date.
For contact details see the front page of this newsletter.
I have heard a rumour that Network Rail has invited tenders to lift the track. This is in line with the formal closure on 2 Aug and will not in itself be a spoiling tactic, rather part of the procedure that went with the closure before we came along.
We all now know that it is perfectly possible that guided bus will be rejected and that CAST.IRON will potentially be putting rail vehicles on the line within a year. Alternatively, rejection of the Council's Transport and Works Order application may force them to opt for rail in any case. It is therefore vital that the track is not lifted until the position is absolutely clear.
Please write immediately to: Gavin Stollar, Regional Public Affairs Director, Network Rail, East Anglia House, 12-34 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3EH. Please do not harangue him. He has been extremely helpful to us.
Make sure your letter is clear:
o You understand that any lifting would be due to the formal closure process started in March and that CAST.IRON was not formed at that time.
o CAST.IRON is now a major concern and has already caused the County Council to postpone its Transport and Works Order application for 3 months.
o This application still has to be finally approved by the Council, must pass the consultation process and must get through the Public Inquiry.
o Public support for rail on the line, as opposed to guided bus, is around 95%.
o If the Council's plan is rejected, it is inevitable that rail will return to the route. If so, lifting the track will be a tremendous and inexcusable waste of money by a publicly owned company (Network Rail).
o It is even possible that the Council may have to revert to rail in the face of massive objection to the guided bus.
o For all these reasons, you seek Mr Stollar's assurance that the line will not be lifted until it is absolutely certain that there is to be no rail use on the line, and that this is definitely not the case at this point.
Renewal slips have been sent to all members who have yet to renew. We do not guarantee to send a further reminder, so please let us have your subscriptions as soon as possible. If you don't wish to renew, it would be helpful if you could let us know -- and, if this is because of some specific grievance, give us the chance to change your mind by dealing with it. Subscription rates remain at GBP 3-50 ordinary, GBP 2-50 concessionary, and GBP 5 household/affiliate.
We would like to draw attention to a meeting in Huntingdon on Tue 14 Oct at 8pm. This will be in St Mary's Parish Hall, The Walks East, near the bus station. It is being organised by the Huntingdon Civic Society and will discuss the guided busway project. County Council spokesperson Shona Johnstone will be giving the ``pro'' side and members of CAST.IRON will be there to push for the railway alternative.
The Government has announced its decision for both the A421 Great Barford and A47 Thorney By-passes. In both cases it has rejected our submission that a dual carriageway is unnecessary and would cause damage by encouraging an increase in traffic. While the Highways Agency accepts the report of the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment which drew attention to the concept of ``induced traffic'' as a result of road improvements, apparently they have guidelines which suggest that in many schemes, including these two, the amount of induced traffic would be negligible. How convenient. We are not clear as to whether these have been validated or how, but did not have the expertise to overturn them at the respective inquiries.
I should say that for the A428 inquiry, though, the Highways Agency have accepted that dualling will lead to extra traffic -- what they haven't done is to assess properly the damaging effects of this traffic. So we can still hope for a more favourable outcome to this inquiry.
The Great Barford inquiry also rejected our plea that the road should be redesigned to allow later addition of the parallel rail link recommended by the London to South Midlands Multi-Modal Study. We were told that the Secretary of State was satisfied that building the road as planned would not preclude a later railway. But we never suggested that it would: only that it would lead to a waste of public money -- for example if all the bridges had to be torn down and rebuilt.
We were unable to put the argument properly to the A421 public inquiry because we were only made aware of the Multi-Modal Study recommendations as the inquiry was nearing its close. We asked for the inquiry to be reopened to consider the issue properly, but were told that this is not normal practice. (We accept this but believe that this case was very much the ``exception that proves the rule''.) Now the decision has been announced without telling us whether the Government has even assessed the cost, and ultimate saving, of amending the A421 plans.
Accordingly, in our evidence for the A428 inquiry, where the same issue applies, we have gone into detail about the proper basis for making a decision. If the cost of allowing for a future railway is A, and the ultimate saving is B, then the probability threshold beyond which one should cater for a future railway is A/(A+B). We don't have the slightest idea what this would come out as in practice, but we feel that the public is entitled to know because this would give a measure of the Government's commitment to a truly multi-modal transport policy. We shall therefore be making every effort to bring this out in the public inquiry.
Little worthy of note apart from the opening of Channel Tunnel Rail Link Phase I, and a reminder that if you are ineligible for any other railcard, and want to sidestep the GBP 10 minimum fare for Network Railcards on Mondays to Fridays, you can buy a Network Gold annual season between Ryde St Johns Road and Esplanade costing GBP 104. An extra GBP 1 buys a separate ``Partner's Card'' giving another named person (who needn't be a partner or relative) the equivalent of a Network Railcard (with the GBP 10 minimum fare). It should be possible to buy a Gold Card at any staffed station in the Network South-East area, but check it's on Gold Card stock.
There've been quite a few changes to buses in and around Cambridgeshire since our last newsletter. We hope we've covered the most important of them below (please let us know if you are affected by a change that has been omitted). Where services have been renumbered, we have used the new rather than the old numbers. All services are operated by Stagecoach unless otherwise stated. Remember that our understanding is that Stagecoach Explorers are valid on Huntingdon & District, Arriva Fox and Arriva Shires & Essex routes as well as Stagecoach's own services (outside London and Scotland), while Sunday Rover tickets are valid on almost all services in Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties (except Lincolnshire and Norfolk).
X2 (Bedford-Northampton): The Sunday service is amended as a result of the withdrawal of interworking service X30 between Bedford and Cambridge. This actually improves Cambridge people's access to Northampton: the X5 leaving Cambridge at 10.05 has a connection into Northampton at 12.10, and the last return is at 18.50 with connection arriving Cambridge at 20.55 -- giving nearly 2 hours extra time in Northampton. We hope that this will lead to improvements in Cambridge people's access to the ``Saunterbus'' network next year.
5 (Westwood-City-Hampton): This will now run half hourly; the extensions to Sawtry and Orton are withdrawn (see routes 15 and 46).
X5 (Cambridge-Oxford): Changes to some journeys that make intermediate stops between Cambridge and Bedford. For example the first bus from Cambridge now starts at 06.15 and runs on Saturdays as well as Mondays to Fridays. The last bus arrives Cambridge at 23.00 and leaves at 23.05, except on Sundays when the old times of 22.40 and 22.50 still prevail. Please note that we do not have definitive information about this service as the timetables we have seen are inconsistent.
X6 (Peterborough-Cambridge): This express service is withdrawn. The County Council has not replaced it, which doesn't engender confidence in its commitment to high quality public transport on the A14 corridor.
C7 (Cottenham-Duxford): New Cambridge Citi service which runs every 20 minutes, replacing former routes 104/5 and 33-5. All journeys follow the ``long route'' via the west part of Histon, Impington, Addenbrookes and Trumpington. The evening link to/from Cambridge station has been lost and last buses now leave earlier. Because buses follow a one way loop (because of problems in crossing the A505?) there is now no direct service from Whittlesford to Duxford. No change to Sunday services on routes 102 and 104.
X11 (Cambridge-Bury): The Sunday service is now replaced by an hourly Cambs CC supported Burton route between Cambridge and Newmarket only. No attempt has been made to connect at Newmarket with Suffolk CC's route 200 to Mildenhall and Thetford.
X12 (Cambridge-Ely via Newmarket): Extended to Littleport replacing the section between Ely and Littleport of former route X9.
14 (Cambridge-Bedford): This replaces former routes X30 and 130, and the St Neots-Bedford section of former X46, and runs hourly on weekdays. (However, the X30 number still seems to be used for some evening X5 positioning workings which aren't shown in the 14 timetable.) On Sundays the 14 runs every 3 hours between Cambridge and St Neots only -- there is now no service between Bedford and St Neots town centre or rail station, which makes it even harder for people to link Bedford with the East Coast Main Line. Peak time journeys were later added between St Neots and Bedford, presumably under Beds CC contract, leaving St Neots at 07.25 (operated by Expresslines) and returning at 17.15 (operated by Stagecoach). Unfortunately for those who used to connect from the X46 to the 07.05 ex St Neots, the first arrival at St Neots from Huntingdon is now at 07.31 missing the 07.25 as well as the 07.05.
14a (Cambridge-Cambourne): A renumbering of former route 14; it remains hourly on weekdays; on Sundays it now provides a joint hourly service with the 14.
15 (Orton-Yaxley via Hampton): New hourly service operated by First Choice under Peterborough City Council contract.
X17/505 (Kings Lynn-Spalding): Some timetable changes including the addition of a Sunday service.
19 (Cambridge-Wisbech): Half hourly from Cambridge via Milton, Landbeach (some journeys) and Waterbeach to Ely, with alternate journeys extending to March. Wisbech is served only at peak times and on Sundays, when the service is operated by Burtons every 2 hours. This is a significant cut, as weekday passengers lose their express link along the A10 (and, as a result, journeys are liable to be delayed as, in an inversion of bus priority policy, their buses have to give way to cars on the A10), and the Sunday service used to be hourly as far as March. However, people from villages such as Waterbeach now have their regular link to Ely restored. This replaces former routes X7-9, 9 and 9a.
31 (Cambridge-Barley): The route between Cambridge and Newton is now even more circuitous -- via Addenbrookes, Trumpington (including Foster Road), Great Shelford, Little Shelford and Hauxton village. For Little Shelford this is, as we foresaw in Newsletter 81, a considerable comedown from the hourly service it has been having on route 35. The service is operated by Whippet and remains roughly 2 hourly with gaps as far as Fowlmere.
32 (Cambridge-Saffron Walden): Hourly via Addenbrookes, Mingle Lane, Stapleford, Sawston, Pampisford, Hinxton, Ickleton and the Chesterfords, also operated by Whippet. Still no service to Littlebury even though we understand that the weight limit which led to the village losing most of its service has now been lifted. Two advantages: the restoration of the long requested direct facility between Saffron Walden and Addenbrookes, and the 20 minute service on route C7 makes it easier for passengers between Duxford or Whittlesford and Saffron Walden to connect, though we believe that the route deserves a regular through service, and with the change of operator we are even further from through ticketing.
X40 (Bury-Stansted): Significant cuts to this formerly 2 hourly service. We believe that the 2 hourly frequency was appropriate in terms of integrating with other routes in the area. The route still misses out the Fighting Cocks near the key railhead at Audley End.
46 (Peterborough-Huntingdon): Replaces the northern section of former route X46, with a few journeys diverted via Folksworth and/or Glatton to replace former route 5. This corridor is now far worse served -- Folksworth and Glatton used to have an hourly service, and Stilton and Sawtry half hourly.
X46 (Cambridge-Mordens): Withdrawal of some peak time journeys on the ``other'' Stagecoach X46 route.
106 (Cambridge-Ely via Cottenham): New timetable. There are now 5 buses from Cottenham to Ely but only 3 journeys in the other direction.
117 (Upware-Ely): A minor improvement to this Cambs CC supported route in that Upware is now linked to Ely on Saturdays as well as Thursdays. Operated by A&P. Still no attempt to use the positioning workings to provide access to Wicken Fen.
175/7 (Cambridge-Biggleswade): New Saturday timetable for this Whippet service. The section between Biggleswade and Gamlingay, which is covered by Stagecoach 188, is withdrawn.
196 (Cambridge-Waterbeach via Horningsea): A considerably improved service on this Cambs CC supported route, running 2 hourly in the off-peak period. There has, however, still been no attempt to exploit the potential rail link at Waterbeach station. All journeys now operated by Whippet.
337 (March-Peterborough): Hourly on weekdays, 2 hourly on Sundays, operated by Cavalier under Cambs CC co and replacing former X7.
352/3 (Conington/Puddock Bridge-Peterborough): Changes to this Cambs CC supported Saturday service operated by First Choice.
415 (Upwood-Peterborough via Wood Walton): This Cambs CC supported Wednesday shopping service, also run by First Choice, resumes the route it used many years ago via the B1043 (well, then it was the A1) rather than going via Ramsey St Mary's.
431 (Gt Raveley-St Ives): This Cambs CC supported Monday service is now run by Huntingdon & District with some minor changes.
465 (St Neots-Southoe village/Buckden Roundabout): This Cambs CC supported Huntingdon & District route now offers 3 journeys at 2 hourly intervals. If only access problems between the southbound A1 and Southoe could be sorted out, it would be possible to bring the 465, 565/6 and 571 together to provide an end to end half hourly service, with hourly buses to all villages.
565 (St Neots-Huntingdon via the Offords): This Huntingdon & District route now runs on a more regular 2 hourly interval basis.
566 (St Neots-Huntingdon via Little Paxton): This Huntingdon & District route is increased to run hourly, replacing former Stagecoach X46. Northbound buses now go through Buckden village (with a detour imposed by the A1 road layout), and all buses serve Brampton West End, so the route is significantly slower than the X46. Access between southbound buses and Southoe village (or northbound buses and the right of way to Paxton Pits Nature Reserve) involves crossing the A1 on the level.
571 (Hartford-Huntingdon-Brampton): Now runs half hourly between Hartford and Huntingdon with 2 hourly extension to Brampton. Overall Huntingdon-Brampton service (including routes 565/6) is half hourly.
Peterborough-Stamford-Uppingham: There have been or will soon be significant changes to lots of services on this corridor including the 11, 12, R47, 201, 301, 308, 309, 310 and 312. Arriva are closing their Stamford depot so several routes are being transferred to other operators.
Other Peterborough changes: Minor changes to the 36 (peak time journeys to Thorney/Guyhirn), withdrawal of a journey on route 42, changes to school routes 27 (First Choice), 713 and 715 (both now run by Kime), and withdrawal of the 27A and 714.
Late news: Further changes are expected to routes X5 and 14/14a in November, together with the withdrawal by Stagecoach of routes 112 (St Neots-Bedford via Wyboston village), 178 (Gamlingay-Bedford), and 193 (Biggleswade-St Neots), all, we believe, Bedfordshire contracts.
Cheshire: The Sandstone Rambler between Whitchurch and Frodsham/Runcorn mentioned last time is supplemented by the Gritstone Rambler at the other end of the county. This runs Saturdays and Sundays till the end of October on a loop between Macclesfield and Wildboarclough, with some journeys extended to Lyme Park. A pity that the originally planned southern extension to Kidsgrove hasn't come to fruition.
Clwyd: A couple of new routes on the Clwydian Ranger network, which runs every Sunday till the end of September.
East Sussex: A bike bus has been introduced on Sundays till the end of September between Lewes and Eastbourne. Given that most of the route is covered by the rail network, and South Central trains have no restrictions on bikes, is there a real need for this? A Sunday route that started last winter between Eastbourne and Alfriston via Polegate was partly replaced by one of the Cuckmere Community Bus routes; we are unclear as to whether this will run through this winter (as the other CCB route did last year).
Herefordshire: New weekday route between Ledbury and Ross on Wye.
Pembrokeshire: A limited winter service will run on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays on the Poppit Rocket (Cardigan-Newport) and Strumble Shuttle (Fishguard-St Davids) routes.
Shropshire: The County Council -- which we had been hoping would emerge as a model of good practice -- has blotted its copybook by axing quite a lot of services, though not any of the ones we mentioned last time.
Surrey: Massive cuts were planned to evening and Sunday services, though we understand some of them have been postponed. Extra buses on the Transport for London routes to Dorking and Redhill (also Westerham in Kent, though the extension to Chartwell House is withdrawn).
1. Let us know if you would be interested in taking further action against the A428 widening. Especially if you have ideas about what you and other activists could usefully do...
2. Write to your MP, county and district councillors to point out the damage the road scheme will cause. Depending on their political party, ask them to contact their colleagues in the Government (Labour), County Council (Tory) or Cambridge City Council (Lib Dem).
3. You may wish to attend the inquiry -- if you can get to Dry Drayton. We don't have an inquiry timetable as we write.
4. Join CAST.IRON; also write to Network Rail to call for the abandonment of the proposal to remove track from the St Ives line.
5. Let us know if you would be interested in taking part in a programme of regular meetings of transport campaigners in the Cambridge area -- or, better still, if you would be interested in helping to organise such meetings.
6. Renew your membership of Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk if you haven't yet done so.