Lucy and Matt fight to bring back the ‘Newmarket Curve’
- Credit: Lucy Frazer
MP Lucy Frazer has joined forces with neighbouring MP Matt Hancock to press for re-instatement of the ‘Newmarket Curve’.
That’s the west curve at Chippenham junction (north of Newmarket) that would allow a new service pattern into Cambridge from Ely, Newmarket and Soham.
Both MPs have written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps “to express our support for improved rail services between Newmarket and Cambridge”.
Ms Frazer said: “Increasing the frequency of trains between Newmarket and Cambridge could be an important part of the 'levelling up' agenda.
“It would offer better connectivity and play a part in widening prosperity beyond the region's economic centre and encouraging trade and travel.”
She said that reinstating the 'Newmarket Curve' could create a rail connection between Felixstowe Port for both the Nuneaton and Ipswich-Cambridge railway lines.
Ms Frazer said Felixstowe Port is the UK’s largest port, with 5,000 lorries leaving the port each day, and representing 60 per cent of the freight originating from here.
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“If the Newmarket Curve were reinstated, our railways could be used to transport this freight from Felixstowe Port to other parts of the UK in a greener and more efficient way than is currently possible,” she said.
“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has allocated £150,000 towards the Newmarket Curve project, and some of these funds may be used to develop a business case for reinstating the Newmarket Curve.
“Unless all or most of the railway line between Newmarket and Cambridge is ‘double tracked’, it will not be possible to increase the frequency of trains between these two areas, and it will not be possible to reinstate the Newmarket Curve.”
She said that both MPs were hopeful of a meeting with the Secretary of State and other stakeholders “to discuss these ideas and how better rail services can be delivered for our constituents”.
Campaign group Railfuture says Newmarket to Cambridge has a successful hourly service currently but with track doubling and some new station provision could be used by 4 or 5 services per hour each way.
That in turn could support a half hourly Cambridge to Ipswich service, and a half hourly Cambridge to Ely via Soham service.
In 1965, the Ely Standard reported that “Another local branch railway line has been axed.
“The Minister of Transport has consented to the withdrawal of passenger services between Ely and Newmarket which involves the closure of Soham and Fordham stations.
“The inconvenience to people travelling from Soham to Cambridge would be reduced by the extension of an existing bus service.”