A planning permission applicaiton has been submitted to fully barrier Norwich station, which is a listed building. Comments need to be
aubmitted to Norwich City Council by 17th December ref. case No. 08/00954/L.
The Bure Valley Railway, which runs from Aylsham to Wroxham in Norfolk, has recently published its timetable for 2009. See:
East Anglia to get new mainline railway station by 2012 as 'Snoasis' gets approval
The £350 million Snoasis winter sports complex has just been given approval. One of the planning conditions is that a new
railway station to serve the attraction is opened on the London-Norwich line. Funded along with road improvements from £29mn
development contributions, the station is expected to open in 2012.
Commissioning of help points at Waterbeach station is latest in series of improvements
On Friday 28th November the help points on both up and down platforms at Waterbeach station were brought into use. the unstaffed
station north of Cambridge has also seen two new state-of-the-art ticket machines installed in 2008, along with CIS machines, a
mobile coffee van in the morning peak and a doubling of the car pak in the last few years. It is hoped that the car park will be
expanded again in 2010. it is possible that staffing at the station, which regularly sees 50 or more people boarding or alighting
peak-time trains, may be introduced in the future.
ESTA uses station "minor modificatons" consultation to fight relocaton of Lowestoft station
The East Suffolk Travelelrs Association (ESTA) has responded to the consultation on the DfT's station "Minor Modification" proposals
to oppose any watering down of the rail closure procedure which would make it easier to close a station and "relocate" it 400 metres
away, as is suggested by certain bodies with Lowestoft station. ESTA says that local residents must have a proper opportunity to object
to such proposals. It is also concerne dhtat the DfT's proposals ignore the needs of visitors to an area.
ESTA is planning a survey of users during two weeks, one in the winter and one in the summer, during 2009, which is being partly
funded through Railfuture's Fighting Fund.
Steer Davies Gleeve report studies new eastern route options for East West Rail Link
According to articles in several rail magazines, consultants SDG have been looking again at suitable routes for the eastern section
of the East West Rail route. It apparently suggests the best option is a new link from Luton Airport Parkway to Stevenage at an
estimated cost of £200mn. Bedford - Sandy - Hitchin - Cambridge was also an option. However, the route via Manton, which East Anglian
councils did not support, has been discounted.
Service improvements for winter timetable
A number of improvements to rail services will occur for the winter timetable, which commences on Sunday 14th December.
First Capital Connect will add eight extra carriages to the Great Northern services. This will allow some stops to be removed
thus marginally speeding up some services between London and Cambridge, for example the 07:15 ex-Cambridge will only stop at Royston,
with Letchworth, Hitchin and Stevenage stops omitted.
Trains on Sunday mornings from King's Lynn to King's Cross will be hourly rather than two hourly.
Arriva Cross-Country will add an extra morning service to Standard, leaving Cambridge at 05:17 and arriving at 05:50.
Arriva Cross country presentation at Railfuture branch meeting in Cambridge
Gilly White, Arriva Cross-Country External Relations Manager, spoke to members of the branch at the meeting in
cambrdge on 29th November 2008. Her presentartion included details of the operatorsm such as:
* AXC serves 7 out of 10 largest cities in the UK, interfacing with most other train operators, but doesn’t run any stations
* No single passenger flow is more than 1% of income - average journey is 71 miles; average fare is £10.34
* 40% passengers use a 2nd train service to complete their journey
* Performance has improved 86.2% to 89.4% over last year; a new maintenance regime now in place and reliability is improving
* 5 “new” HST trains wlll have 542 seats each; the class 170’s are being refurbished with more seats: 120 in 2 car; 200 in 3 car
* This means lots of extra seats so many cheap fares will be available
* Ability to book advanced tickets up to departure time of train; Print at home tickets available – but not yet for onward connections
* From December 2008 there will be additional early morning and late evening services to/from Stansted
* AXC recognise the need for even earlier Stansted trains – it could become an all-night service
The audience thanked Gilly for a very good presentation. It was the first time that anyone from Arriva had
spoken at a branch meeting.
DfT issues information to manufacturers about trains required for Thameslink Programme
On 27th November 2008 the DfT released the information needed by manufacturers hoping to design and build the brand new eight and
12-carriage trains (160m and 240m long respectively) for the Thameslink Programme. Bidders Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi and Siemens
will have around five months to respond with their proposals for the 1,200 carriages that will all be in service by 2015.
Network Rail will be pleased that the specifciation requires Lighter, energy-efficient vehicles that cause less wear to the track,
whilst passengers will benefit from air-conditioning that automatically adjusts according to the number of people in each carriage
plus on-board screens fed with real-time travel information to show connections with other trains (e.g. Eurostar) and flights (at
Gatwick and Luton airports). Another required innovation is that the trains will wigh carriages to determine the loadins - as is
often done now - and then transit those counts to the next station to advise people where to stand so they can board the train
where there is most space.
Possible financial meltdown of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway - £30 million overspend claimed
In early December the Cambridge Evening News ran two 'exclusive' stories about the financal crisis engulfing the Cambridgeshire
Guided Busway (CGB), which is being built on the former Cambridge to St.Ives railway line. The story was also picked up by other
media including BBC Look East.
The CEN claimed that "the future of the guided bus hangs in the balance - because of a £23.7 million credit crunch shortfall.
The likelihood of the project hitting financial problems has now reached a 'critical' level, according to Cambridgeshire County
Council chiefs." The promised Section 106 money from developers towards the cost of the busway is, according to the council, "not
yet in the bank and the rest of the funds needed might never come." This is because several housing schemes - including Northstowe
- are on hold owing to the economic situation. The County Council has insisted that it will be able to borrow the missing money
and reclaim it later from the developers.
This story was quickly followed up by suggestions that the contractors, BAM Nuttall, who are on a fixed-price contract (subject
to various clauses) are wrangling with Cambridgeshire County council about the overall £116 million cost, claiming that it
will cost much more (£30 million more, escalation of around one-third on the civil engineering element of the project, according to
the Hunts Post) than that sum to finish the building work, which is acknowledged
on the CCC web-site. BAM Nuttall have, according to sources, lodged a raft of claims for "variations" of its contract. Despite the
council having "a robust contract that puts almost all the onus on the contractor to come in on budget", according to councillor Matt
Bradney, in a bid to trim the costs it is planned that "non-essential aspects of the scheme will be delivered after buses are running."
This amounts to, for instance, "temporarily" shelving the construction of some of the buildings on the scheme's park and ride sites,
and surfacing the cycle track beside the busway at the last moment in a "more cost effective way of delivering it than originally
planned." In the councy council cannot reach a settlement with BAM Nuttall then it may use another contractor to complete the
Posting on the CEN's message forum, Councillor Mike Mason, who represents Histon, wrote "What [service] will run 'from Spring 2009'
(in the words of the latest glossy leaflet) is anybody's guess. It will certainly not be the service from "Hinchingbrooke to Addenbrooke's
on day one of operation in 2006" (Local Transport Plan 2003 Cambridgshire County Council)."
The county council has had some recent good news about bus services. The relocated northern Park and Ride recently opened, with many
more car parking spaces. Stagecoach has announced that numbers using the entire Cambridge park and ride service went past the four million
mark for the first time.
CEN article 1: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=371383
CEN article 2: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_home/displayarticle.asp?id=371950
CCC Councillors' briefing: http://www2.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/db/
CCC's busway project: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/guided.