No Train Station For Chettisham

PUBLISHED: 16:05 11 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

A TRAIN station at Chettisham will be too expensive, according to rail bosses. Councillors had hoped that when extra houses are built to the north of Ely, commuters could be enticed to buy property by the proximity of the homes to a London rail connectio

A TRAIN station at Chettisham will be too expensive, according to rail bosses.

Councillors had hoped that when extra houses are built to the north of Ely, commuters could be enticed to buy property by the proximity of the homes to a London rail connection.

At an Ely Masterplan meeting held on Monday, Geraint Hughes, representing National Express and Network Rail, said: "It's not likely to be financially viable. Building a new station is a costly exercise - you have to be fully DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant and meet all sorts of standards. If you are asking the question, can it be afforded, and will any operator want to stop there, the answer on all counts is 'no'."

"The potential revenue, the net revenue that is, that we would collect from passengers at that station is too small, and we are also looking at the disbenefit for passengers already using the service - it adds to their journey times, and we do not want people using their cars for that reason."

However, Network Rail is finally starting work to improve overcrowding on the Ely to King's Cross line.

Between April 2009 and April 2012, plans include updating the electricity substation so that more trains can run on from Ely to King's Lynn; making more rolling stock available so that trains are longer, and potentially building a station at Chesterton in Cambridge - to serve the busy Science Park area nearby.

The King's Lynn to King's Cross line is the most crowded in the country - but rail operators cannot create longer trains between Ely and Cambridge because the two stations in between - Waterbeach and Landbeach - have platforms capable of hosting only four-carriage trains.

The line between Ely and King's Lynn currently has a limit on the amount of trains it can run at one time, or the line blows a fuse.

David Archer, who is in charge of development for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said he had been frustrated by negotiations with Network Rail. "We've tried to enter the crystal maze that is the railway industry and I have got nowhere. We wanted to improve access on the station forecourt and we have money to throw at them, but the reaction from Network Rail has been disappointing up to this point," he told councillors.

Mr Hughes insisted that Network Rail is keen to improve the area around the existing Ely Railway Station.

Plans put on the table include creating separate entrances for cyclists and cars, a separate entrance for lorries entering Network Rail's site at the back of the car park, and a more efficient booking office to prevent overcrowding.

Councillors will look at creating a Station Action Plan, to complement the transport study for a Southern Link Road, which is to be completed by March, and the Ely Market Town Transport Strategy, which has allocated £1.2million for new cycle paths and other improvements to the transport system.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Would you be more likely to buy a house if there was a mainline rail connection nearby. Write to: the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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