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Press Release 24 November 2003

"The Guided Bus, delayed again"

Cambridgeshire County Council have announced a second delay to their plans to build the guided busway on the route of the Cambridge and St. Ives railway line.

Commenting on the latest delay, Tim Phillips, the Chairman of CAST.IRON, the organisation that wants to restore regular rail services on the railway line instead of the guided bus commented, "We understand that the County Council still have serious technical problems with their busway, despite having worked on the scheme for several years. The railway still exists and can be reopened much sooner."This further delay doesn't help anyone, certainly not drivers stuck in traffic on the A14. We call on the County Council to support CAST.IRON straight away so that we can get trains running again within a year. The public have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they want the railway and we have recently been invited by County Council officers to talk to them about our rail scheme."

The Cambridge to St. Ives railway line would be opened by CAST.IRON from 2006 with a regular timetabled commuter service if the guided busway scheme is abandoned by the County Council. CAST.IRON will be holding an exhibition of its rail proposals including full costed and detailed plans from 5pm on Tuesday 2nd December at the Holiday Inn, Impington, Cambridge. Officers will be present to explain the plans prior to a public meeting which will commences at 7.30pm.

CAST.IRON's next public meeting will be held at The St. Ivo Centre, St Ives Cambridge on Tuesday 25th of November. The meeting will start at 7.30 with access from 7.15pm.


BACKGROUND NOTES TO EDITORS

Subject to receiving a majority vote from members, Cambridgeshire County Council was to make an application under the Transport Works Act in January 2004 for legal powers to build a highly controversial guided busway. But it has now moved that date by a few weeks to mid-February to make sure that archaeological investigations along the southern route - from Cambridge Station to Trumpington - are fully complete.

It is now unlikely that the guided busway will be extended to the existing park and ride site in Trumpington.

The scheme would go to Public Inquiry in September 2004 at the earliest, allowing buses to run from 2008. Government has recently confirmed that the A14 widening improvements are NOT dependent on the busway going ahead. The A14 will be widened regardless of public transport facilities.

The railway will be opened by CAST.IRON from 2006 if the guided busway scheme is abandoned by the County Council.

See Media Resources page for a downloadable document with further notes for editors.

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