In May, when I became Leader, I asked officers to present me with a list of capital projects that made common sense but for various reasons had not gone ahead.
The second station in Cambridge was a very obvious one. For 20 years everyone who knows anything about rail and Cambridge knew that a station in Chesterton would be a real bonus for the county. It seems that the only question was “who would fund it”.
Given the station will pay back in a very short time, if it gets included in the franchise agreements, this looked like a great investment for the county. A great investment financially but more importantly for the people of Cambridgeshire and economic development. My cabinet also recognised the merits of this station and supported making the borrowing available in this budget.
All we needed was the approval from government that they would include this station in the new franchise agreements. We now hoave that approval subject to the usual caveats.
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.
Transport minister Theresa Villiers has confirmed she will make the next operators of the King’s Cross line use ticket income to repay the £26 million construction bill, providing the project generates enough revenue.
The County Council will provide the initial costs of building and that work is planned to start in early 2014.
The station will have three platforms, and will be served by at least four hourly southbound trains, two of which will terminate at King’s Cross, while the third will serve London Liverpool Street and a fourth from Norwich will terminate in Cambridge.
There will be three northbound trains each hour, to Ely, King’s Lynn and Norwich, and it is likely trains on the Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport route will also stop there.
The guided busway will be extended into the site from Milton Road, providing a link to St Ives and Huntingdon, while car and cycle parking will also be provided.
The county council is set to approve funding for the project today and a detailed business case will be put before the cabinet on March 6.