After years of wrangling, the Great Northern Railway reached agreement with the Great Eastern in 1864 to share the latter's track around Cambridge and to build a separate platform.
By 1865 there were the following lines (as shown on the Ordnance Survey map electrotyped then):
See also News of the Cambridge - St Ives Line, 15-Jan-1996 and Rail Possibilities, 23-Jun-1996 at ECOLN
As of March 1996 it seems that Government funding for the reopening is extremely unlikely, as there aren't reckoned to be enough commuters in the line's catchment area.
Various proposals have emerged, such as encouraging freight use on the line to make it viable; using the route as a bus and cycle way (Coun. Stuart Littlewood, CEN 3-May-1996) and making it a guided busway or tramway.
The Government thinks the guided bus scheme is more viable than the heavy rail option (normal passenger trains + freight).
Consultants working on the Arbury Camps and Chesterton Sidings developments have both proposed private finance to help bring the line back into use. Consultants Steer Davies Gleave, backed by Sainsbury's, have submitted a £19.5M bid to the Millenium Fund to resurrect the line, with full support from the City Council.
See also the Cambridge - Sudbury rail group.
See also Park-and-Ride.
In 1996 the Labour/LibDem County Council tried to push this through the planning process against the wishes of the local people. There would be trains to Cambridge & Ipswich (but not London) every 2 hours. Estimated cost: £400,000 initially. The station was supposed to be for the benefit of the locals, following on from the £240,000 the County Council had spent on reducing through traffic. The report of the Council's officials conceded the station would have relatively low usage.
Protesters cited the proximity of a large infant's school, already dangerously near the level crossing, the lack of room to turn a car in the narrow road leading to the proposed site and the lack of a pavement. As parking was only to be provided for the disabled, railway users would have parked in the nearby residential streets. Commuters from far away would use the side streets and station to avoid City Centre parking charges, forcing the introduction of a residents-only parking scheme. Residents also feared vandalism would be a major problem, especially at night when the station would be unmanned. An alternative location with ample parking, in Yarrow Road away from the centre, was suggested by them. They sent a questionnaire to 3500 homes, shops & offices, producing 1,100 returns and a 70% "no" vote for the Council's plans.
Who would use a train for the short journey to Cambridge Station (perhaps then to catch a bus to shops) if/when there's a reasonable (by Cambridge standards!) bus service from Cherry Hinton? Realistically, a station would be of use at times when the bus service is poor (e.g. in the evenings?) and of use to commuters from further away, as a variant of Park-and-Ride. Coun. Dave Kelleway dismissed the residents' concerns. Anne Campbell MP asked for a public inquiry.
The City Council Planning Subcommittee gave the plan conditional approval
as the station was likely to be unpopular with commuters and thus not affect residents.
(The condition was over Council control of the frequency of trains.)
The County Council Development Control Committee rejected it as impacting local amenities
and preventing emergency access to Railway Street.
Dave Kelleway said that was a "temporary setback" and his group would be submitting a new plan in 1997.
About £100,000 in design fees and consultation was used by the County Council.
(CEN 24-Aug-1996, 5-Sep, 28-Sep, 22-Oct, 4-Dec, 23-Jan-1997)