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Press Release 10 November 2003

The Case for rail

CAST.IRON, The Cambridge and St. Ives Railway Organisation, will be holding the second in a series of public meetings on Tuesday 11th of November at Histon Junior School, The Green, Histon.

Tim Phillips, Chairman of CAST.IRON, commented on the first public meeting held on Tuesday 4th November at The Manor Community College, Cambridge. He said, "The attendance at our first meeting exceeded our expectations and represented a wide cross section of the community". When the audience was asked the question by Mr Phillips, "If we could provide a railway for less than the cost of the guided bus, would you in principle support the idea?", 57 out of the 58 in attendance voted in favour.

We asked Mr Phillips if he would put the same question to the next meeting. He replied "Yes, I will ask the same question and I believe that the result will be the same at all the public meetings. In fact the response was the same at a County Council meeting promoting the guided bus in Huntingdon last month. There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of the people want rail - when they are given the choice. That choice was undemocratically snuffed out by the CHUMMS study and the subsequent consultation, which the Council itself has described as 'far from perfect'."

The CAST.IRON organisation has been involved in a war of attrition with the Council, whose guided bus scheme will be voted on for the second time in December.

The Council has yet to apply for a Transport and Works Order, which is a bit like planning permission, from the Government. The application has already been delayed by three months.

Mr Phillips told us, "The first County Council vote in September scraped in with 30 out of 59 in favour of the guided bus scheme. We only need to demonstrate to a few of those thirty that rail is available and viable and the abstainers will follow. There must be a majority of the full council for the application to go ahead. Now that there really is a cast iron case for rail, we expect the December vote to fail".

Tuesday's meeting starts at 7.30 with access from 7.15, when the public will be able to inspect displays of the CAST.IRON staged re-opening scheme.

A general overview of CAST.IRON's plans can be found on the website, www.castiron.org.uk.

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

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