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CAST.IRON Plans - Motivation and Basis of Costings

CAST.IRON has carried out a study into the costs of reinstating and operating the railway service. The remainder of this section defines the characteristics of the railway system and service which will be provided for the sums stated on the first page. These characteristics are set out for each of the stages in turn.

In most cases, the specification for each stage continues to apply into the following stages. Where this is not the case, the differences will be noted.

1. Motivation

The objective of a rapid public transport system in the corridor between Cambridge and Huntingdon is to produce a significant modal shift from car use to public transport use along that corridor, particularly at peak hours.

Achieving this objective will bring a significant improvement for the communities in this corridor. At the same time, a significant modal shift is essential if the public transport system is to be self-sustaining.

In order to entice a significant number of commuters out of their cars, the transport system must provide a high quality service. In particular this means:

  • frequent trains offering short journey times;
  • spacious, comfortable trains;
  • modern station facilities.

CAST.IRON believes that a rail service should have these characteristics from its first running day. These requirements set the base cost for Stage 1A of the scheme. There are options for introducing an initial service at lower capital cost than recommended here. For example a heritage-style 25 mph service could be introduced for around £2 million. However this would not meet these quality requirements.

There is strong case for introducing the service in stages along sections of the transport corridor. Each section has its own passenger catchment area. A staged deployment allows some passengers to receive a useful service much sooner than a full simultaneous reopening, which would take a number of years to achieve.

With this in mind, as noted previously the CAST.IRON proposals for a rapid public transport system are built around minimum technical risk and are designed around minimum use of land and other contentious resources. This allows for a fast deployment. In some cases a deliberate decision has been taken to use low-complexity solutions initially. (For example manual road crossings are to be used in Stage 1A, then replaced by automated crossings in Stages 1B/2.)

For long term commercial sustainability, maximum automation and electrification are important. However these can be introduced over time; great benefit will be provided to local communities by implementing a scheme in the shortest possible timescale.

2. Basis of Costings

In the CAST.IRON study, for each item of expense, costings have been produced by established contractors/operators/suppliers in the industry and are in line with similar contracts that they have recently carried out. Contractors have carried out site visits as appropriate to ensure that costings provided take account of the local conditions.

The results of the study have been qualified further by two means:

  • existing private railways have provided comparative information about their schedules of costs and about the means by which they have met necessary safety and other relevant standards.
  • Cambridgeshire County Council proposed to reinstate the railway service in 1994, although this scheme was disrupted by the privatisation of British Rail. The schedule of costs that was produced for the Council at that time has been used as a cross-reference and all elements of that schedule are covered in the CAST.IRON study. Since 1994 there have been many improvements in railway technology and practices, which the plans on these pages take into account.

The costs set out here are for construction of the railway system only. Construction of the railway is likely to be accompanied by other construction works, for example Park and Ride facilities. Parking requirements for a rail system will be less than for a Guided Bus, on account of the extra cycle journeys that a rail system will stimulate. Otherwise the costs of these facilities will be substantially the same as those envisaged to accompany a Guided Bus system and have been extensively researched elsewhere.

The construction times given in the Executive Summary are for the railway works only. They do not include the lead time to the start of construction, which will depend on a number of regulatory and procedural issues.

Next - Stage 1A [summary] [detail]

Site last modified January 2022