One key element of the proposals is that those living or working in the new and existing settlements will have easy access to a frequent and high quality rail service. This will be provided through a modern new railway station within the site to serve the existing village and new residents.
The location of the relocated railway station will be selected to ensure accessibility is retained to residents from the existing village. Whilst it is inevitable that access distance will be increased for some residents, this is equally balanced by the fact that for other existing residents, access distance will be shorter.
Commuters from the north will be encouraged to use the new park and ride facility at the relocated station to relieve pressure on the A10. Regular bus services will be enhanced and a local bus service provided to serve the new settlement and Waterbeach. There will be a bus stop within 500m of 96% of the new homes proposed.
RLW considered upgrading the existing station during the preliminary stages of the process. Unfortunately it became clear that the existing station is not fit for purpose and increased use of the station is not an option that is acceptable to Network Rail, Cambridgeshire County Council or South Cambridgeshire District Council. The reason for this is three-fold.
There are serious safety issues with the location of the existing station . It is located astride a level crossing, which has the highest risk rating level on Network Rail’s assessment scoring system, this means all passengers using the station are brought into conflict with rail services when accessing the platforms.
As it stands, the existing station has serious capacity issues. Through our consultation we have found that trains are frequently packed during peak times, with some users even opting to travel to the previous stop to ensure that they are able to board. Unfortunately the constraints of the site mean that while it is possible to extend the station to accommodate additional carriages up to 8 car trains, it is not possible to upgrade the access arrangements to meet current standards, and it is not possible to introduce a footbridge to make the number of pedestrian movements across the level crossing acceptable. The organic year on year increase in rail usage coupled with additional residents from the new town will make this situation worse.
The existing station suffers from poor connectivity via all modes of transport. The bus interchange is limited and remote, cycle routes are on the street, footways are narrow, wheelchair / mobility impaired access is challenging and car parking / taxi drop off are also remote. A significant increase in the number of passengers using the station would generate unacceptable impacts on the railway station and the surrounding area, including overspill parking for cars and bicycles, congested footways and an untenable increase in use of the level crossing, which would require the level crossing to be converted to full barrier control, or possibly closed completely.
✓ Relocating the train station will address all of the concerns outlined above. Some of the key benefits include;
✓ Capacity for at least 8 car trains with potential future expansion up to 12 car trains
✓ Increased station parking to reduce parking congestion in the village as well as increased cycle parking capacity
✓ A site with sufficient space to provide a modern high quality station, with a wider range of facilities including wheelchair accessible lifts and pedestrian bridge
✓ Improved accessibility for cars, taxis, buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.
✓ Improved safety for users with a segregated footbridge for crossing the railway instead of using the existing level crossing
✓ Providing enough space for the station to “grow” including provision for extended station platforms and turnback facility and potential for a Park & Ride system, to reduce car commuting to Cambridge
✓ Staffing of the station will improve the perception of safety
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