Azara Blog: New train station in Chesterton

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Date published: 2012/02/24

The Cambridge News says:

Construction of a second railway station in Cambridge has been given the green light by the Government - meaning it should open in 2015.

The long-awaited station, which will be built at Chesterton sidings and will be called Cambridge Science Park, should boost the local economy and enable travellers to catch trains to London and the rest of the country without having to battle through city centre traffic.

There will be two main side effects to this new station. Firstly, London commuters will start to take over parts of north Cambridge and Milton to the detriment of local workers. Secondly, some shiny new office blocks will probably be built on land adjacent to Cowley Road and Fen Road, and in the process some existing small-scale industrial businesses will be forced to leave Cambridge.

Further, it is not even clear that this new station will be preferable to the existing station for people living in large swathes of north Cambridge, e.g. near Histon Road and certainly near Huntingdon Road. There are two key aspects here, site access and train services. The politicians and bureaucrats are promising a good service, but it is unlikely to be as good as the service for the main station.

Access to the new train station is thus going to have to be near ideal in order for people to stop using the existing station. The county council probably realises this, and the train operators certainly realise this. But the city council, in particular the Lib Dems, live in a fantasy world where car hating is considered part of an "integrated" transport strategy. Currently the only access to the new station would be via Water Lane and Fen Road. If that remains the case, then many people will just boycott this station. Or similarly, if there is not enough car parking, or an easy way to drop people off and pick them up, then this station will not be used by many people whom it is allegedly intended for.

Companies in the Science Park and St John's Innovation Centre and especially the Cambridge Business Park, and in the new office blocks, if and when they are built, will be beneficiaries, because it will be easier to hire people who prefer the train to the car for getting to work. There are probably not many people like that, but there will be some.

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