17:24 Tuesday 8th February 2011
Drivetime BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY BURROWS: We heard just a couple of weeks ago about planned improvements to Peterborough train station. And now Network Rail has been given the go-ahead to build a new platform extension at Cambridge train station. Let’s speak to Russell Spink. He’s the spokesman for Network Rail. Evening to you, Russell.
RUSSELL SPINK: Evening Andy.
ANDY BURROWS: What’s going to happen please?
RUSSELL SPINK: Well we’ve had some excellent news for Cambridge. Just late last week the City Council has given us permission for a £16.7 million scheme, which will see a new island platform built at the station, linked in to the rest of the platforms with a new covered footbridge and lift.This means essentially more capacity, more space for trains, and along with it, improvements to the services run by National Express East Anglia. More seats, ..
ANDY BURROWS: Oh I hope there’s going to be more seats Russell.
RUSSELL SPINK: Absolutely. This December, hopefully, we’ll see the introduction of 50% longer trains. Rather than eight carriage trains that you usually get, we’ll see the start of twelve carriage trains.
ANDY BURROWS: No need to stand, then, from later this year
RUSSELL SPINK: Well it’s an extremely busy line, as I’m sure everybody in Cambridge knows. Cambridge is lucky. You’ve got two routes to get into London, into Kings Cross and also into Liverpool Street. But we do know that those services are some of the most overcowded in the country. So this is certainly a step in the right direction.
ANDY BURROWS: How much is this all costing?
RUSSELL SPINK: It’s just under £17 million, which, I know it sounds like a lot of money to you or I, but in terms of bang for your buck and the improvements it will deliver, I think it’s money well spent.
ANDY BURROWS: How long is this work going to go on for? Are we going to get much disruption? Surely there will be some at Cambridge Railway Station,
RUSSELL SPINK: Hopefully not. Work will start in April. Although we’ve only just been given the go-ahead, this is something that’s been in the pipeline for a long time. So we’re very close to starting work. And it should be completed in time for the December timetable change. So not a huge amount of work. There might be some short term disruption in and around the station, but we shouldn’t see much in the way of disruption to services.
ANDY BURROWS: Of course we know that the A14, the planned improvements for the A14 were cancelled, almost as soon as the new Government took office. They simply didn’t have the money. That’s what the Coalition Government said. Are you rather feeling the benefit from that spare money that’s sloshing around?
RUSSELL SPINK: Well I think it’s fair to say that this Government is absolutely squarely behind rail. It’s a greener way to travel. That’s not the main reason why most people use it, it’s because of the convenience that it offers. But you mentioned the A14. It’s a hugely congested road. And actually another project that we’re working on in the area is the … freight terminal …
ANDY BURROWS: Have we lost Russell? I think we have, which is a bit of a shame. That was Russell Spink there. He’s the spokesman for Network Rail, rather cut off in his prime. But he got his message across. £17 million is going to be spent on improvements at Cambridge railway station. We know about improvements at Peterborough railway station. They were announced a couple of weeks ago. And, where was the other railway station? It was just over the border wasn’t it, North Hertfordshire, just a few days ago which was having an extension to its platform. Longer trains are going to run through there. So yes, the Government does appear doesn’t it to be throwing its weight behind rail, rather than the roads. And I mentioned the roads, because I was again stuck on the A14 today.