Disclaimer: contents of articles do not necessarily reflect Transport 2000 policy at either national or branch level. Please give us your thoughts on any transport related topic, however small. This will help us develop our policies. We will try to pursue any complaint or suggestion or advise you how to pursue it yourself.
Imagine that you are on trial for a criminal offence.
Imagine that the trial procedures for your offence have been so refined that the prosecutor has a nearly 100% conviction rate, irrespective of whether one is innocent or guilty. As a result you are made to feel that employing a lawyer is a waste of money.
Imagine that you approach the trial with some hope because you have seen a report, accepted by the Government, which states that conviction is unsafe in circumstances such as yours.
Then imagine that just before the trial you receive details of the evidence against you, and this includes a statement that, for reasons you are not told, the report does not apply to your case. Further details are available only at the courtroom, only a few miles away but not easy to get to without a car.
You are told that your trial has to be completed within a few days, and asked to choose between appearing in court the next day or on the last day. If you opt for the former, you won't have time to prepare your questioning of the prosecution evidence. If you opt for the latter, you won't have time to prepare a closing statement which uses the results of such questioning.
You opt for the earlier appearance, and while studying the details of the prosecution evidence, identify some internal inconsistencies. You draw attention to them at the trial.
You deliver your closing statement by the agreed time. Soon afterwards, a supporter advises you that the trial contravened the procedures laid down by law by failing to give you sufficient notice of the prosecution case. You make a submission on these grounds but told that it's too late for the judge to accept it. You appeal to the Government, which has the last say on the matter, though without much confidence because you know that it's so eager to clamp down on the offence for which you are being tried that it's not afraid to convict the innocent.
The verdict reaches you several months later, and its main points are as follows.
1. Your deadline for receiving your closing statement was misquoted as a time before it was delivered, creating an appearance that they were bending over backwards to be fair by accepting it even though it was late.
2. Except that they didn't: the judge ignored parts of it because the prosecutor had no chance to reply to them -- rather than reopen the case to give him a chance to do so.
3. As the prosecution witness has 25 years of professional experience and you don't, his evidence is accepted with no attempt to resolve its inconsistencies -- either internal or with the government report. The fact that for most of this period the prosecution witness's evidence was of the very type which the government report is supposed to have discredited is ignored.
4. While some of your evidence is disbelieved because of your inexperience, your assertion that you were taken unawares by the prosecution case is disbelieved because you are supposed to be experienced enough to have anticipated what they were going to say. (In fact, your previous experience of trials of this type amounts to just two cases.) You wonder whether this disbelief is just a device to avoid a retrial.
5. Furthermore, you are told that if you were really taken unawares, you should have applied to have the case taken over two days. As if, in the intimidatory atmosphere of the pre-trial scheduling and courtroom itself, it would have been easy to assert rights you might not know you had.
6. Those parts of your evidence which the judge accepts, he misinterprets so consistently that, again, you wonder whether it is a deliberate attempt to find an excuse not to reopen the case.
This couldn't happen in the UK, could it? A country which has signed the European Convention on Human Rights (which includes a right to a ``fair trial''), and which has incorporated the Convention into domestic law? The answer is probably no, though those of us not privy to what goes on in asylum cases may sometimes wonder.
But while we don't condemn a person without at least the semblance of a fair trial, we do condemn a whole city of 100,000 people. Here is what came out of the Inspector's report on the public inquiry into the proposal to widen the A428 west of Cambridge, and the decision letter of the Secretary of State. The numbering of the paragraphs below corresponds with that above. The ``I'' is the Coordinator.
1. At the inquiry I was told that the closing statement should be in by 10.00 on the morning of Tue 7 Oct 2003. It had been sent to the designated email address late the previous evening. But the Inspector's report said that the time stipulated was 17.00 on Mon 6 Oct, giving the impression that he had done me a favour by accepting it late.
2. This is what the Inspector said in his report. At the hearing I said that as I had not had a chance to prepare my response to the case properly I preferred to reserve our comments for the closing statement. It is indeed true that normally one isn't supposed to raise new issues at that stage, but how come the Highways Agency is allowed to cut corners but I wasn't? Here is what I actually said in my closing statement: ``However, whatever the procedural rules for inquiries may say, there is surely a higher duty (e.g. under Article 6 of the Human Rights Act, which calls for ``fair trials'', and which has been held to cover public inquiries) to ensure that we are not disqualified from responding effectively to changes in the Highways Agency position''.
3. The Inspector's Report cited the professional record of the Highways Agency spokesman when deciding to believe him rather than me on the issue of whether the new road would encourage more people to travel by car. It ignored the fact that the relevant government department and the Highways Agency had spent years denying the existence of such ``induced traffic''; that the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment, forced by political pressure to examine this issue, had concluded that one would indeed expect induced traffic where the existing network was close to capacity, and where there were opportunities for people to transfer to or from alternative modes (both of which clearly apply to the A428 -- and the Highways Agency didn't dispute this); and that I was unable to get a consistent theory of what routes the 9,000 extra movements on the A428 projected if it were dualled would otherwise be using. (Not the A14, as the figures show no significant change for that corridor, and not the B1046, as the morning peak figures for the roads south of the A428 do not show any abnormal increase in traffic joining the A428 or decrease in traffic leaving it, as one would expect if dualling the A428 would lead to large numbers of Cambridge area commuters switching from the B1046 to the A428.)
4. I was told that I should have appreciated the importance of the induced traffic issue. Indeed I did; what I didn't appreciate is that the Highways Agency would repudiate the SACTRA report (officially accepted by the Government) by denying that the scheme would lead to induced traffic. This should have been apparent from my Proof of Evidence, which concentrated entirely on the negative effects of induced traffic (not denied by the Highways Agency) and failed to give any arguments why traffic would in fact be induced. It is easy to argue after the fact that I should have done so, but at the time I didn't realise that this was in dispute: after all the Highways Agency had produced figures showing an extra 9,000 movements on the road if it was dualled, and had nowhere mentioned in its Statement of Case that it thought this would be reassigned from other routes rather than induced, nor did it cite any traffic projections which would imply this.
5. While I was described as an ``experienced'' objector, this is what I actually said in my Proof of Evidence: ``I have given evidence at several road and other public inquiries before, but not often enough to feel that I understand the procedure properly. I would therefore like to make a plea in advance for tolerance in respect of any misunderstandings about the ground rules and procedures for the Inquiry.'' Was my inexperience deliberately exploited to pressurise and intimidate me?
6. This covers several issues.
(a) My alternative proposal was to replace the existing A428 by a combination of a new single carriageway route, which would deliberately be limited in capacity to avoid overloading the Cambridge local network with traffic, and a local road, which would have traffic management measures to ensure that only authorised traffic such as buses could use it as a through route; so motorists would be encouraged to switch to buses to avoid the holdups on the new route. The Inspector, having accurately summed this up earlier in his report, chose to ignore this last point in his verdict, suggesting instead that failure to dual the new road would mean traffic continuing to use the local road and prevening buses from getting through.
(b) The Inspector's Report refers to the traffic management strategy suggested by the CHUMMS report as likely to limit traffic growth. In fact, Cambridgeshire County Council, having previously ruled out other forms of road user charging, now seems to have ruled out a workplace parking tax (which would be our preferred option); while physical measures to reduce roadspace in the city must have been pushed to near their limits.
(c) One of our arguments was the failure to evaluate the potential cost saving from designing the A428 so that a rail link from Cambridge to Bedford could be added in future, should that turn out to be the most effective option. The only counter-argument was that the Strategic Rail Authority were not currently doing any work on the proposal, and that the road scheme would not actually preclude a rail link. The former is irrelevant while the latter doesn't answer our argument. The current version of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's strategy for Milton Keynes and the South Midlands seems to state clearly that the east-west rail link forms an essential part of this strategy. For more on the east-west link see below.
(d) We argued that CHUMMS's study of the problems of the A14 corridor concluded that public transport improvements should be given priority. (When we discuss the guided busway proposals below we'll suggest that the CHUMMS proposals don't in fact offer significant improvements, but this isn't relevant to the present issue.) We therefore suggested that a similar study of the A428 might have led to a similar policy. The answer seemed to be that flows on the A428 corridor were not enough to justify a high quality public transport system. If 30,000 or so movements per day aren't enough then we're really in a bad way.
In addition, the Highways Agency argued that dualling the road would not affect the pattern of development because that was laid out in the Structure Plan. We submitted that this didn't work in practice because the plan would be reviewed long before it expired. Here is an analogy which relates to a topical issue.
Suppose a school wants to improve the quality of its children's eating, and sets a target to reduce the proportion of junk food sold at its canteen from 2/3 to 1/2. It orders a fortnight's supply of food, say 3 units of junk food and 3 units of healthy options. During the next week, the schoolchildren, following their usual habits, buy 2 units of junk food and 1 of healthy options. The canteen then tops up with the same quantities to maintain its target balance. It should be obvious that the target will have no effect on the children's consumption.
Analogously, if increasing capacity on the A428 improves the comparative advantage of out of town greenfield development sites, whatever the balance between greenfield and more sustainably located sites set out in the Structure Plan for the period to 2016, this will not be reflected in the sites taken up before the Structure Plan is reviewed and the register of sites ``topped up''.
In our Action Line, we will be asking our members to contact their elected representatives to ask for the road inquiry procedure to be reviewed, and for Inspectors to be instructed to help objectors who aren't familiar with the procedures. Please note that this relates solely to road inquiries -- the feeling of injustice experienced by the Coordinator at all three inquiries attended personally has not been replicated at the inquiries into the Duxford motorway service station or Alconbury distribution depot, and we have no reason not to expect a fair hearing at the forthcoming inquiry into the St Ives line guided busway (see below).
Why is the A428 important? Apart from the ``justice'' issues raised by the conduct of the inquiry, we regard the scheme as an archetype of the futile practice of speeding traffic on its way to the next bottleneck -- which often, as here, offers an even less tractable problem. And we are also concerned that the effort of the environmental lobby in securing an admission that induced traffic is a real effect is being nullified by the refusal of the Highways Agency to admit that induced traffic is relevant to particular schemes.
We conclude this section with some general comments on anti-roads campaigns. We have previously expressed concern that the environmental movement is no longer supporting road objectors effectively. For more on this see Newsletter 84 or our Annual Report (enclosed with this newsletter).
None of our political parties have covered themselves with glory: Labour in government has pushed through the dualling, the Conservatives who control the county council have supported it, and the Liberal Democrats who control Cambridge City Council, which covers the area worst affected, have failed to oppose it. Nor have any objections come from the Green Party, Socialist Alliance, or any of the other parties which contested the Cambridge parliamentary seat in 2001.
It is often said -- either with regret or with relief -- that Cambridge is stuck in the past because ``modernising'' proposals are always stymied by vested interests in the city. This may have been so in the past, but nowadays Cambridge seems to have been so bombarded with development proposals that local amenity groups can't cope. While we have been fighting the guided busway (on which more below) the A428 has been pushed through. While proposals to spoil the view from Grantchester Meadows with new housing have been fought off, the riverside walk leading to it has been spoilt by use of the opposite bank as a car park for the Garden House Hotel (anyone know how this came to pass?). Some time ago political pressure led to withdrawal of a County Council proposal for a ``relief road'' across the city's southern fringe countryside linking Addenbrookes with the M11, but this has reappeared in the Structure Plan. Will it get through this time?
We believe that a direct rail link between Cambridge and Bedford, as recommended in the London to South Midlands Multi-Modal Study, is probably the development most important to the future of our region. Yet development proposals are being pushed through which will make it far more difficult to achieve.
We have already referred to the failure to plan for the railway in combination with the A428 dualling (see above) or the A421 Great Barford By-pass (see Newsletter 84). Both these affect the combined road/rail option preferred by the London to South Midlands Multi-Modal Study. The Cambridge guided busway proposals (see below) will preempt both feasible options for a western rail link from the city. And the other (and probably preferable) option for the section between the Bedford and the East Coast Main Line, using the old route towards Sandy, is in jeopardy because a long expected planning application for a rowing lake at Willington would sever the route.
We objected to this planning application. On the plus side, a development proposal which would have encroached on the Bedford to Northampton route (also suggested in LSMMMS, but surely a lower priority than Cambridge to Bedford) was turned down by the Inspector and the Secretary of State, but on the minus side, one of the (not quite mutually consistent) letters we recently received on the issue, from the Government Office for Eastern England, says that the relevant piece of land is zoned for leisure use and not protected by the local council.
Let us look into the future and assume that all the above schemes go ahead but we eventually manage to move towards sustainable development. Here is what a hypothetical newspaper ``East Anglia on Sunday'' might say on 28 Feb 2038 (note that all characters are fictional apart from the current Coordinator and Transport Minister).
Because 28 Feb falls on Sunday this year, Anglia Day is not till tomorrow. Anglia Day commemorates the restoration of the East-West Rail Link between Bedford and Cambridge on Mon 28 Feb 2028, which is, like the Canadian Pacific Railway in the early 20th century, the linchpin that ties our region together. From Cambridge railway station we talk to some people who were on the first train 10 years ago.
Mary Smith, 50, of the East Anglia Regional Planning Department, said: ``The 10th anniversary is particularly significant because we estimate that the dithering under the Blair government in the early years of this century has set our region back 10 years in terms of sustainable development. Furthermore the mushrooming of incompatible developments which had to be moved or by-passed, such as the St Ives guided busway, Cambridge-Bedford dual carriageway, and Willington rowing lake, doubled the cost of the project as well as holding it up for years. It was the opening of the line that not only made our region into a recognisable unit but also spared us much of the burden of buying emissions credits for road traffic and compliance with the Transport Discrimination Act -- that milestone towards sustainable development which put an end to the decades of marginalisation of the needs of non-motorists.''
Mohammed Khan, 55, of the East Anglia Passenger Transport Authority, said: ``The line west of Cambridge now carries trains every few minutes -- inter-regional passenger trains between East Anglia and the Midlands or West Country, freight from Felixstowe and other ports, local passenger trains serving the communities such as Northstowe and Cambourne that have grown up along the corridor. It is difficult to imagine what life would be like without it. It is also worth remembering, as we take advantage of tomorrow's public holiday to explore our region with the aid of the extra buses that will be put on, that 40 years ago much of the rural bus network would have been suspended on any public holiday.''
John Mason, 57, of the East Anglia Highways Department, said: ``The opening of the line put an end to the years of resentment by motorists to road user charging by giving them a realistic alternative to local and long distance driving along the corridor served by the route. It is difficult to imagine the scale of this resentment now that we have seen the benefits of charging in terms of traffic reduction, reduced congestion, and a secure financial underpinning for public transport.''
Susan Finch, 60, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: ``The need to reopen the line forced us to move the Northstowe busway, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the new route turned out to be much more successful. Together with the restoration of rail services to Haverhill, St Ives, Soham, Wisbech, and lots of smaller communities, the east-west rail link has solved the problem of the traffic jams that used to plague the Cambridge area in the early years of this century.''
Simon Norton, 86, former local coordinator of Transport 2000, one of the organisations spearheading the campaign to reopen the line, said: ``Anglia Day is particularly dear to my heart because the reopening of the line coincided with my birthday -- as did the black day, exactly 34 years ago, when I received a letter from a Government department saying (in defiance of various public pronouncements that the reopening of the line was an essential part of government strategy for the region) that the Government were not prepared to do anything to select and protect a route for the line.''
Alistair Darling, 84, Secretary of State for Transport at the time, replied: ``All politicians make mistakes. In mitigation let me plead that when our blunders in the early years of this century became apparent, I was quick to resign and apologise, and to help in setting up the Labour Democratic Alliance that has successfully led this country on the path of sustainable development.''
Charlotte Green, 30, who has lived in Blunham all her life and took up a job in Cambridge the day the line opened, said: ``Without the railway my job would be too awkward to get to, but I hate to think how much of my life has been wasted because the old route, which went through my village, was no longer available by the time the planners got round to considering what route to use, so I have to use other means to get to the nearest station.''
In our Action Line we ask members to write to their elected representatives to ask for a ban on developments that might affect a plausible route for the east-west link until the most effective route has been selected, after which that route would be fully protected.
This is the most urgent of the ``big issues'' that feature in our Action Line this time.
Cambridgeshire County Council has submitted Transport & Works Act proposals for a guided busway covering part of the route between Hinchingbrooke and Addenbrookes Hospitals, also Trumpington Park & Ride. The closing date for receipt of objections is 2 April 2004.
Objections and representations should be sent to the following address: TWA Orders Unit, Department for Transport, Zone 3/11, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DR. They may also be faxed to 0207944 2479 or emailed to <email@example.com> (Word attachments OK). They should be headed ``Cambridgeshire Guided Bus Scheme, Transport & Works Act Application''; if you wish your letter to be considered as an objection rather than a representation (or letter of support), state so clearly. Include your name and address. You will eventually receive a response asking whether you will wish to appear at a public inquiry if one is convened. Reply within tbe time limit stated saying ``yes''; this does not commit you to anything but is the only way to leave your options open.
We recommend readers to study the four documents linked from the CAST.IRON web page. Some readers will be getting copies of the first two documents on this site -- if you aren't getting them you can download them from the site. Feel free to copy these documents to distribute to other people. Please note that we do not endorse everything that is in these documents, though we do agree with the vast majority of what is said.
Alternatively, if you have any ideas to contribute or want to look for ideas to use for your own submission, come to a meeting at our Secretary's home (1 Fitzroy Lane, Cambridge) starting at 18.00 on Fri 26 March 2004 in which we plan to finalise Transport 2000's own objection. Meanwhile, here are what we regard as the most important points.
A: The guided busway proposals will use up the railway corridor out of Cambridge necessary to provide an effective route between Cambridge and Bedford. This is (see ``East-west rail link'' section above) essential to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's own proposals for the Cambridge to Oxford corridor as shown in the Milton Keynes & South Midlands development strategy.
B: Providing a guided busway is not a cost-effective means of improving public transport -- the cost is high and the benefits dubious. There is no assurance that the operators will provide a service frequent enough to attract passengers en masse, or that motorists will switch to it; and if they do then people living on existing bus routes (e.g. at Bar Hill or Fenstanton) may lose much of their service. Only half the cost will be met by government grant and developer contributions.
C: Reopening the railway combined with upgrading conventional bus services can satisfy the medium term transport needs of the planned new town at Northstowe (i.e. Oakington airfield) within the required timescale and at lower cost.
D: Only a railway can satisfy the strategic transport needs of East Anglia, including a substantial shortening of the routes for passenger trains across the region to Peterborough, Bedford and beyond, and for freight trains from the Haven Ports to Alconbury and beyond.
E: While Cambridgeshire County Council claims to be following the recommendations of the Cambridge-Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study, it has ignored one essential element, namely the need for road user charging in the Cambridge sub-region.
F: If a busway, guided or otherwise, is considered appropriate, then a route alongside the A14, with branches to Northstowe and elsewhere, would have several advantages: it would be shorter for many journeys, more immediately attractive to motorists stuck on the A14, approach the city centre on a route not clogged by traffic from the M11, A428 or A14 east, and extendable to Cambourne yielding relief for the A428 corridor.
Incidentally, as a result of public pressure Bedfordshire County Council has withdrawn its support for the proposed guided busway between Luton and Dunstable in favour of pushing for a ``heavy rail'' link. Luton Borough Council may take the scheme forward on its own.
While subscriptions for 2004-5 are not yet due, we would welcome money from any member who is willing to pay now. The rates are unchanged: GBP 3-50 individual, GBP 2-50 concessionary, GBP 5 household or corporate.
We take this opportunity to invite members and others to join our email groups. For discussion on general transport issues in Cambridgeshire join cambs-transport-forum. cambridge-pt deals specifically with public transport. We strongly recommend that members with access to email should join these groups. There is also the regional email group steer, and the CAST.IRON email groups for which see their website.
We welcome to our membership CAST.IRON officer J. Alderson from Milton.
At our AGM, where he gave a presentation on their plans, we agreed not to affiliate to them formally at present but, instead, to make a contribution to the costs of preparing their case (and ours) for the expected public inquiry into the guided busway scheme. We also decided to convene a meeting to discuss our response to the St Ives guided busway proposals when they had been published. This meeting will be in the Secretary's home (1 Fitzroy Lane, Cambridge) on the evening of Fri 26 March from 6pm.
We also agreed to appoint Martin Thorne as deputy coordinator, and circulated our annual and financial reports, plus a report by our rail representative. The last is shown later in this newsletter, the first enclosed separately, but the second is postponed to make room for the latest bus changes.
Finally a reminder: if you change your address, telephone number, or email address, please don't forget to let us know!
This is the title of a campaign by Transport 2000 and other national groups to steer the Government towards a sustainable transport policy. It is based on 12 key policies: a cycle friendly road network and cycle training available to all; streets, lanes and paths in good condition and pleasant for walking; services and facilities close to people, so they don't need to drive; networks of bus lanes; quality standards that rail and bus services must meet; safe routes to school; lower speed limits with a 20mph default in residential streets; a national discount railcard available to all; greater purchase incentives for smaller, cleaner vehicles; grants for railfreight projects; increased funding for local public transport, particularly in rural areas; and pay as you go road user charging.
The public are invited to write to their MPs and ask them to support the campaign. There is an associated Early Day Motion (527), which you may ask your MP to sign, or congratulate him/her on signing as Anne Campbell (Cambridge) and Helen Clark (Peterborough) have done. Highlight the measures which you think most relevant and to explain why you think they are important. The last two are the Coordinator's choice, as they would enable us to control the level of road traffic and to provide a secure financial underpinning for public transport networks.
We don't normally report on franchise changes -- which we tend to think of as similar to the proverbial exercise of moving the deckchairs on the Titanic. But it probably is worth saying that the Strategic Rail Authority has decided that the new Greater Anglia Franchise, which will incorporate the existing Anglia and Great Eastern franchises plus the West Anglia (Liverpool St) parts of WAGN, has been won by National Express Group, who will run all non-heritage passenger trains in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Northamptonshire except for Inter-City trains through Peterborough, services through Kings Sutton (south of Banbury), and the eastern end of London Underground's Central Line. The current managing director of Anglia, whose work has received general acclaim, has been appointed by National Express Group to continue in this role. One of the expected improvements is an hourly service between Ipswich and Cambridge, and we would like this to be complemented by our ``A14 Express'' bus link linking National Express Group trains at Cambridge, Huntingdon, Kettering and Rugby.
The Strategic Rail Authority's plans for the new South-East Trains franchise include heavy cuts to many stations in Kent. The following stations would be affected: Adisham, Bekesbourne (near Howletts Zoo), Beltring (near Beltring Hop Farm), Charing, Chilham, Chartham, Crowhurst (East Sussex), Cuxton, Dumpton Park, Harrietsham, Hollingbourne (near Leeds Castle), Kearsney, Kemsing (near a popular youth hostel), Lenham, Maidstone Barracks (the interchange station for Maidstone East), Martin Mill, New Hythe, Snowdown, Westenhanger and Yalding. See SRA page for further details. These cuts defy Government policy to increase the proportion of villages with an hourly or better service (which currently all these stations have, while bus services are often far less frequent). Many of these stations also provide access to Kent's countryside -- see this map showing rail and bus services, tourist attractions, and long distance footpaths. Send responses to Jackie Nixon, SRA, 55 Victoria St, London SW1H 0EU fax 0207654 6010 email <firstname.lastname@example.org> by Fri 23 April 2004.
None of these stations would actually close under the proposals, but this is not true of Etruria in the Potteries. This is the closest station to the town of Newcastle under Lyme. Traditionally it has had an hourly service, a pattern that continued when the line was closed for engineering work and replaced by buses last year, but now few trains stop there -- a ``closure by stealth''. See SRA press release for details. Send objections to Kevin Liptrott, DfT Rail Sponsorship Division, Zone 3/33, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DU fax 0207944 2156 by Fri 26 March 2004.
Our Rail representative, Ben Walsh, presented the following report at our AGM. (Note: the last paragraph may no longer be applicable, especially from April, but there's no harm in trying.)
I'm involved with my other ``hat'' on in the Mid-Anglia Rail Passenger Association.
They have recently joined up to the Anglia Railways ``Adopt a station'' scheme. I have taken responsibility for Newmarket Station and in a station questionnaire which I did I suggested that the station should have new shelters.
Well, Anglia did get some new shelters and on 28 Aug 2003 I was invited to a photo-call with the Cambridge Evening News (Newmarket edition), Newmarket Weekly News and the Newmarket Journal.
I have also been able to get the phone working again for information.
Schemes like this are a real gem -- involving people who wish to be involved with stations -- also the free travel pass helps!
There are only a few stations left to be adopted -- anyone interested in this may ring Kerri Howard, Communications Officer at Anglia Railways, on 01473 693979.
The Government's Aviation White Paper published in December disappointed environmental groups with its endorsement of airport expansion and lack of commitment to damping down demand by taxing aviation and developing rail as an alternative.
The proposals will affect our area by endorsing an extra runway at Stansted and maximising use of Luton's existing runway. However, the action group at Stansted have raised doubts as to whether an extra runway at Stansted can in fact be financed, as much usage at that airport is by low cost airlines not prepared to pay the cost of increasing capacity. They will be combining with other airport action groups in a legal challenge of the White Paper.
However, the Government did reject use of Alconbury as a passenger airport, while giving the go-ahead to the use of the former military airfield for a distribution depot. The developers are required to use rail for transporting materials and to limit the number of lorries and cars generated by use of the site, and we look forward to their providing for the first time a regular bus service on the A14 west of Huntingdon -- and have suggested other corridors ripe for improvement (such as the A1198, see ``Guided Busway'' section above).
We objected to the County Council proposal to close the park & ride car parks overnight, saying that motorists who can't leave the city centre till late can still use service buses to get to the car parks -- and should be told so. Trumpington is served by National Express virtually 24 hours a day. It has been reported that the proposal has been replaced by one which requires late night users to buy a permit. We are still concerned for users who don't know in advance that they will want to stay till late.
We have been told about plans to amend the City Centre road system to ease the flow of buses. The County Council has a target of 40% more buses and 70% more passengers by 2010. One of the main features of the proposal is that Emmanuel St will become one way; northbound buses running through the centre, including guided buses, will have to go through St Andrews St. We are also concerned at plans to move the long distance coaches away from the City Centre; we have suggested that the London coaches need to continue to serve Drummer St as that's where most passengers want to be; that the airport coaches could be relocated to the rail station, making it easier to shift passengers between coach and rail in times of disruption; and that cross-country coaches are currently not frequent enough to matter.
Here is our regular update on service changes in Cambridgeshire.
Cambridge area: Minor route change to 2 (Cambridge-Oakington, Sun, from 11/4) plus:
C1: Frequency reduced to 10 minutes. Extra night journeys Thur-Sat (or rather Fri-Sun) replacing night buses N1/N2. These still don't connect well with relevant trains, and serve fewer places than the N1/N2, and don't go near the Junction which was one of the main traffic sources envisaged for these services, but at least they have a chance of being better known and therefore better used.
C7: Diverts via Cambridge station. Good news, though layovers in Emmanuel St mean that journey times to/from the north of the city are still far too long.
15: (From 7/4) Royston market day service extends back from Orwell to Haslingfield. Outward journey connects at Wimpole with 08.10 ex Cambridge but return just misses connection.
101: (From 9/4) Whittlesford-Saffron Walden withdrawn Fri, no change Tue. C7 and 32 changing at Sawston roundabout provide an alternative.
102: (From 11/4) Cambridge-Saffron Walden Sunday service renumbered 132 and uses new route, details not yet available.
175/177: (From 5/4) More buses Cambridge-Croydon but extension to Tadlow and Wrestlingworth is peak only, and none beyond. This fragmentation shows the need for better coordination between Cambs and Beds CC (see also 172 below).
St Neots and Gamlingay areas
PB4/9: (From 5/4) St Neots postbus withdrawn. The replacement is cited as Thrapston Community Transport, but this is not open to casual users which makes the whole area out of bounds to visitors -- not that the postbus was much use.
X5/14: Last November's changes were mostly an improvement. First bus now leaves Cambridge 06.10 and runs earlier throughout, and on Saturdays connects at Bedford with a new 07.30 to Milton Keynes. 19.00 ex Oxford now runs through to Cambridge Mon-Sat. Daytime connections with X2 to/from Northampton are improved (though evening peak returns remain poor). However, the extra peak journey from St Neots to Bedford (which just missed the first bus from Huntingdon) has been withdrawn.
112/193: Bedford journeys on 112 are withdrawn leaving only a market day service from Blunham and Wyboston village to St Neots. This and the 193 from Biggleswade via Tempsford and Little Barford, also Thur only, are operated by the Ivel Sprinter community bus.
172: Sunday service no longer serves Gamlingay (or Shuttleworth).
461: (From 5/4) Gransden/Gamlingay-St Neots improved to run 2 hourly.
462-4, 467 and 475: (From 5/4) St Neots town services reshuffled.
Ely area (All changes from 5/4):
X12/19: Most journeys on route 19 from Cambridge that currently terminate at Ely are extended to Littleport, running as route 19a. Off-peak journeys to March serve Mepal village. Route X12 is curtailed at Ely.
23: Ely city service withdrawn. Some facilities provided by 106 and 125.
28: Ely-Mepal service withdrawn. Mepal served by 19, Witcham by 106.
106: Withdrawn by Stagecoach except for retimed Mepal-Cambridge journeys. Burtons will be running a more regular service, about 2 hourly, between Rampton/Cottenham and Ely only, via Witcham instead of Stretham. No attempt to connect at Witcham Toll with 19 to/from March, and Impington St Andrews Way and Histon St Audreys Close lose their service.
117/125: Main 125 service between Pymore/Little Downham and Ely retimed at same frequency. Market day services recast as 115 (Gold Hill), 116 (Wardy Hill) and 117 (Upware/Wicken), all retimed and interworked. 117 loses Saturday service and Gold Hill journey no longer diverts to Wardy Hill on demand.
Hunts area: (All changes from 5/4 except 46, including minor changes to 333/334 (Ramsey-Manea/St Ives) and transfer of 476 to Whippet):
X14: Huntingdon-Science Park journeys reduced to one each way. Is this any way to build up demand on a corridor that is planned to become the county's showpiece? Not clear whether village connections with Whippet 9 are maintained.
46: (From 19/4) Service runs more regularly Peterborough-Huntingdon. Last through journey at 18.40 connects to Cambridge, though previous journeys at 16.40 and 17.40 just miss connections.
159: Evening journeys Cambridge-St Ives/Willingham retimed and operated by Huntingdon & District. Joint half hourly service on Huntingdon Road with 151 and 553-5 broken.
436: 17.35 ex Hinchingbrooke terminates St Ives.
Peterborough area: There are minor changes to 47 (Peterborough-Etton, from 19/4) and 331 (Peterborough-Ramsey, from 10/5) plus:
A47/Stamford corridor: The future of Sunday buses 300/302 is still unclear after 28/3, or possibly 18/4, so it may be a last chance for Rohan Wilson's guided walks. Ring him on 01733 331393 to check whether the details in our last newsletter are still valid; if so, leave Peterborough at 12.05 on 14/3 or 11/4 and 10.10 on 28/3. The former connects with the Whippet bus from Cambridge (10.05), St Ives (10.38) and Huntingdon (11.14). Ask for a Sunday Rover. On the plus side, a Rural Bus Challenge grant will support a weekday network of hourly trunk routes from Rutland to surrounding urban centres including Peterborough, with demand responsive feeders.
337: (From 10/5) March to Chatteris journeys withdrawn, but 07.22 ex Chatteris continues.
National Express: The only significant change in Cambridgeshire of which we are aware is that Peterborough-London journeys no longer serve the Ortons. Disgracefully, nearly two weeks after the new timetable came into effect, copies have still not reached places like Cambridge library, so we have no overview of what changes have taken place (both within Cambridgeshire and outside), but we are aware of the above and some changes outside Cambridgeshire mentioned below.
Other noteworthy changes to buses, trams and ferries.
Beds and Milton Keynes: Major changes were made to buses on the A6 corridor north of Bedford, with a new timetable that has been characterised as inoperable, so further changes are expected. Several local routes were withdrawn such as the 117. We announced the new X55 between Biggleswade and Milton Keynes in our last newsletter, but have since been told the section east of Bedford will disappear at Easter. One improvement is a new and much needed route between Ampthill/Flitwick and Milton Keynes, though MK Metro who run it have withdrawn their Daventry service. National Express have diverted their 707 Northampton to Gatwick service via Bedford instead of Milton Keynes; evening buses from Northampton to Bedford are at 18.35, 20.25 (Mon-Fri) and 20.35 (weekends).
Essex: X40 Bury to Stansted Airport is withdrawn after 4 April. No replacement seems to be planned -- why are local authorities so reluctant to fund bus routes that fulfil a strategic (as opposed to a purely local) function? 222 Stansted to Colchester probably uses the new A120 which is now open as far as Dunmow. New National Express route between Stansted and Stratford, half hourly round the clock. Sunday service on route 700 (Stansted to Stevenage, Herts CC) withdrawn. New link via Dartford Crossing between Lakeside and Bluewater/Strood (Ensignbus X80/X90), which seems to be interworked with the rail replacement service between Strood and Higham scheduled for the rest of this year, so may cease in 2005. The private ferry service for Ford workers, linking Erith and Dagenham, has ceased.
Shropshire: Severe cuts on the way to many rural and Sunday services. Forget what we said last year about this being the place to go!
North Yorkshire: Fewer Dalesbus weekend services will be running this summer.
East Midlands: Nottingham Express Transit (tramway) now open. From 28/3 buses every 15 minutes Nottingham to Derby, but Transpeak through service to Manchester runs Derby-Manchester only. The other traditional Derby-Manchester route via Leek is further cut back to run Ashbourne to Macclesfield only, except Sundays, when the route links Derby with Stockport with a change at Leek.
Warwickshire: (From 13/4) Weekday buses from Stratford to Chipping Norton, formerly a popular through service to Oxford, are cut south of Shipston on Stour to just 3 journeys.
Sussex: Both the Cuckmere and Michelham & Middle Farm Rambler buses have run on Sundays all winter, though with shorter daylight hours buses they cease earlier than in summer.
Here is a list of things to do, all of which are referred to earlier in this newsletter.
1. Send an objection to the Cambridge-Huntingdon guided busway proposal to arrive before 2 April 2004, and encourage others to do so. For more information on how to object, look through the CAST.IRON website or come to our meeting at 1 Fitzroy Lane, Cambridge at 6pm on 26 March 2004.
2. Contact your MP about the Way to Go campaign.
3. Write to your elected representatives (especially if Labour or Liberal Democrat) asking them to press for a review of the road inquiry system and for guidelines on induced traffic that are compatible with the SACTRA report.
4. Write to your elected representatives asking for protection of all plausible options for a direct east-west rail link between Cambridge and Bedford until one option has been chosen.
5. You may wish to object to the Kent and Etruria rail cuts, especially if you visit these areas.