Plans to transform train services between Cambridge and London have taken a major step forward with Network Rail’s submission of a planning application for a new island platform, complete with footbridge and lifts, at Cambridge station.
Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director, said: “Britain relies on rail to get more than 3m people to and from work every day and as passenger numbers continue to grow it is essential that we maintain investment in our rail network.
“The new platforms will make a real difference to passengers, boosting capacity on this busy line, improving punctuality and reducing overcrowding further still. Our improvements at Cambridge are part of a wider investment which will see the station and surrounding area transformed over the coming years.”
The new platforms form part of train operator National Express East Anglia’s plans to improve train services and increase capacity on the West Anglia route in 2011, including the introduction of new trains which are now under construction. Currently services between Cambridge and the capital are very busy and the existing track layout in and around the station is constrained, especially at peak times.
The addition of two new bi-directional platforms – numbered 7 and 8 – means trains will be able to arrive and depart in either direction, freeing up vital capacity on the existing platforms and making sure Cambridge can cater for additional rail services in the future.
A new covered footbridge and lifts will connect the new platforms to the rest of the station, making life easier for those who find the stairs a struggle. Following consultation with local cycling groups, the staircases will include cycle guttering to help cycle users move around the station.
The work at the station is part of a project which will see the West Anglia line between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street station capable of running 12-car trains by December 2011. Under this plan platforms are also being extended at Cheshunt, Broxbourne, Sawbridgeworth and Stansted Mountfitchet, with extensions at Stansted Airport funded by BAA.
Andrew Chivers, managing director of National Express East Anglia, said: “Improving the capacity at Cambridge station is an important element of our Service Improvement Programme which is designed to offer our customers a better train service and modern, new trains in 2011.”