The new East-West Rail Link between Oxford and Ipswich is being planned to pass through Cambridge.
Whilst the extra trains, about 6 per hour, will offer better choice for passengers, the 20 or so freight trains are less welcome.
These freight trains originate at the port of Felixstowe which is expanding steadily. They currently follow two routes, either via Ely and Peterborough to the Midlands and north or via Chelmsford and north London to the West and South of England. Both routes are congested and the coming East-West rail link will offer a convenient third option.
The proposed route approaches Cambridge from the south and leaves via the single track line towards Newmarket via the sharp curve at Coldham’s common junction.
It is expected that the track will be dualled as far as Fulbourn, through Cherry Hinton so that freight trains can wait for a suitable gap to pass through the congested Cambridge Central station.
The East West Rail link is being built to a standard suitable for freight trains, so we can expect it to be fully used. Indeed all official forecasts show this to be the case.
There has been little sign that the designers and builders of the new railway have considered the alternative route to the north of Cambridge.
This northern approach could offer less disruption from these half-mile long, diesel hauled trains. Even more appropriate would be a full bypass line for freight trains avoiding the need for any to pass through the city.
Steve Edmondson, Cambridge Approaches Action Group, Cantelupe Road, Haslingfield.