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Press Release 26 November 2003
"Time to admit defeat on Guided Bus - CAST.IRON Rail boss slams another County Council delay"
Cambridgeshire County Council's latest postponement of its plans for the St.
Ives to Cambridge guided bus is causing needless delay to public transport
improvements in the area, according to CAST.IRON chairman Tim Phillips.
The Council has just announced that the vote timetabled for December 17th
will be delayed. Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet will discuss the
scheme on January 27 with the final plans will go to Full Council on
"The Council has saddled itself with a square peg and is trying very hard to
hammer it into a round hole", said Mr Phillips, "but it doesn't matter how
hard they hit it, it will never hold water".
CAST.IRON - the Cambridge And St. Ives Railway Organisation - is putting the
finishing touches to its plans to reopen the railway and will be presenting
them in full at the Holiday Inn, Impington on Tuesday 2nd December from 5pm
with a public meeting from 7.30 followed by a question-and-answer session.
"The Council has got to start taking its responsibilities seriously", said
Mr Phillips. "The so-called guided bus plans have been in development for
years but even quite basic questions remain unanswered...and that's because
there are no answers to them. It's quite simple: there is a railway already
in place and it has only been out of use for 12 years out of the last 150.
It is part of the National Network and should be reinstated. Cambridge is
the fastest growing area in the country with the biggest Science Park in
Europe. What does all this justify? Bus stops on the way to the City Centre
or railway stations with access to local, regional, national and
CAST.IRON has over 20 staff working on the rail plans, up to 40 others
assisting in various ways and a membership of over 700. At each of the
recent public meetings in Cambridge, Histon and Swavesey and St. Ives,
no more than four people have objected to the rail plans.
"That makes about 277 out of 281 in favour of rail - so far", said
CAST.IRON meetings co-ordinator, Charles Warner.
Mr Phillips says that, the Council now has a duty to abandon the guided bus
plans and he welcomes the opportunity of working with them. "CAST.IRON can
reopen the railway service fairly easily but we cannot provide some of the
add-ons like car parks and cycle paths without the Council's support. The
last vote scraped by with the lowest possible margin so our fight is not
with every single councillor. It only needs a handful more to understand the
bigger picture and we will have yet another partner AND we will have got
over the only real obstacle to our plans. Then we can get on with the real
work of providing the transport Cambridge deserves and putting us properly
on the national railway map."
"Cambridge cannot afford to wait any longer for something we could be
building right now. The guided bus is never going to be right for this area
so the sooner the idea is abandoned, the quicker we can get on with it".
END OF PRESS RELEASE
BACKGROUND NOTES TO EDITORS
Editorial Comment - Tim Phillips E: email@example.com
Currently, Network Rail (the owners of the line) refuse to negotiate with
CAST.IRON or give permission for access to the line because of the Council's
'pending' application. There would seem no longer to be any excuse for this
obstruction. The contact at Network Rail is Mark Phillips, 0207 904 4001.
See Media Resources page for a downloadable document with further notes for editors.
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