Our Objectives

What are we trying to achieve with Cambridge Approaches?

Formed in July 2020, Cambridge Approaches is a grassroots organisation focussed on ensuring the best route is found for the East West Rail project. 

After analysing the East West Rail company‚Äôs (EWR Co.) preferred route in the ‘Option E’ corridor, between Cambourne and Cambridge, we discovered it was flawed in many ways and would have a massive detrimental effect on South Cambridgeshire. We believe something needs to be done to ensure any railway delivered is truly the best option for all residents of South Cambridgeshire, the city of Cambridge itself and villages and towns to the north and east.

We exist to ensure that, first and foremost, the EWR Co. fully evaluates a northern approach to Cambridge, first advocated by the CamBed RailRoad (CBRR) community-based think tank.


Why do we support a northern approach to Cambridge?

CBRR presents a route and approach as part of its work, which connects the central section of EWR from Cambourne via a station to the north.

The northern route would connect to the Cambridge-Ely line near Milton to become the northern approach into Cambridge. Passenger trains would be able to stop or pass through Cambridge North, Cambridge Central and potentially terminate at Cambridge South.

In a nutshell, the northern approach more effectively meets the business case and objectives set out for the EWR project. It could have/be:

Less impact on Cambridgeshire residents
  • At least 7 times fewer residents living within 200m of the line
  • At least 6 fewer villages within 500m of the line
  • 5.5km less of residential central Cambridge within 500m of the line
Less impact on the environment 
  • 13 fewer protected wildlife and ancient monument sites affected
  • Supported by the Wildlife Trust
Indications that it is cheaper than ‘Option E’
  • Less than half the number of A- and B- road crossings between Cambourne and Cambridge
  • May well be less new track required depending on details of southern route
Better at meeting the needs of growing populations
  • Allows EWR to cater to Cambourne with a station in the North and a new station for Northstowe
  • Also connects Waterbeach and Soham to MK and Oxford. 
  • Track is 9.2 km shorter to Norwich via northern approach and 2.3 km shorter to Ipswich
Supports a multi-modal corridor approach
  • Closer alignment to local plan and allows switching between different mass transit options. For example at Cambourne North between road, rail and guided bus; at Northstowe  between rail and guided bus.
Minimise impact of freight on central Cambridge
  • Takes future freight out of central Cambridge

Where can I read more?

As a group, we have done extensive research into both the validity (or lack thereof) of ‘Option E’ and comparisons to an approach, which journeys through South Cambridgeshire and enters the city via the north. 

Here are some key posts that provide evidence-based reviews that demonstrate a strong case for a full evaluation of a northern approach by EWR and the many misgivings of ‘Option E’.


Support us

Sign the petition

Help show your support for our work and sign the petition calling for a full evaluation of the CBRR route by EWR. Over 6,000 people have signed!

Volunteer today!

Join Cambridge Approaches and help us get a full evaluation of a northern approach. Give us a shout and see if people near you are already involved.