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CAST.IRON - Background
In the late 1990s the Government launched the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi-Modal Study (CHUMMS), chiefly to address the chronic traffic congestion experienced on the A14 trunk road between its junction with the M11 north of Cambridge to its large triangular junction with the A1 at Brampton/Alconbury, close to Huntingdon.
The study produced four options for transport 'packages' along this transport corridor. Of these, three were for improvements to the road and a guided bus system along most of the railway route. Only one provided for rail, and the road option that was packaged with it was for a devastating new road, crossing ancient fenland and passing between villages.
Unsurprisingly, after consultation, the latter option was rejected almost exclusively on grounds of the devastating effect of the road route. The conclusion reached by Cambridgeshire County Council was that rail had been rejected and it moved vigorously towards plans for the guided bus as the Government would only release funds for the road improvements once the public transport ('Rapid Transit') option had been put in place.
Since then, the Council has consistently claimed that the guided bus is the only option on the table, using the justification that this is the scheme upon which the Government has insisted. Attempts to lobby for the rail option via conventional channels have been met by this blank wall as the Council has to date been seen as the only starting point.
One of the leading supporters of the guided bus within the Council has described the consultation that has brought matters to this stage as 'far from perfect'.
Site last modified April 2021