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New moves in efforts to revive the railway

Tuesday, 5th July 2011.

Campaigners for bringing the railway back to Haverhill are to rebrand their organisation as they create a new website.

For more than a decade the the Cambridge to Sudbury Rail Renewal Assaciation (CSRRA) has campaigned, gathered petitions and commissioned preliminary reports in its quest to get the railway idea taken seriously.

But now it is creating a new website called RailHaverhill, and subtitled The Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project.

At its meeting on Saturday, members agreed the new name, partly because the previous acronym meant people could not find its presence on line.

Members also discussed two suggested routes for a new line, one of which followed the A1307 nearly toLinton and then branched off across country to join the Newmarket-Cambridge line near Fulbourn, while the other followed the A1307 to just beyond Linton and then the line of the old railway, either to Great Shelford heading north to Cambridge or to Whittlesford heading south to London.

Some concern was expressed that the first route did not go near Addenbrooke's Hospital, seen as a major destination for workers commuting from Haverhill, but members felt the hospital site was going to be served by the Cambridge guided bus anyway, which is due to open in August, so there was no room for a rail station there.

The advantage of the northern route is that it enters Camnbrtidge southbound, so trains could continue on to London without passengers having to change.

It also only has to cross the A11, not both the A11 and the A505.

The group's chairman, the Rev Malcolm Hill, said he had attended a Rail Futures meeting for the east of England in Ipswich where it was apparent the national East-West rail link was going to materialise, with just the Bedford-Cambrtidge section to be built.

Members felt the group should put down a marker now about its existence, its aims, and the possibility of linking in with this, with a recommendation that the northern route was preferred.

Mr Hill had heard from Haverhill councillor Jeremy Farthing, a keen supporter of the rail project, that there was some interest at Suffolk County Council in pushing forward a full feasibility study for the project.

Mr Hill had also heard at the Rail Futures meeting that Cambridgeshire County Council was 'coming round to the idea of rail transport'.

Haverhill's former town centre manager Tina Hanks suggested the group should write first to Cllr Farthing to find out more, then to Rail Futures and the three contending companies for the upcoming Eastern franchise - GoAhead, Stagecoach and a Dutch company - and finally to the town's MP Matthew Hancock, also a keen supporter who recently attended one of the group's meetings and promised to help where he could.

The group agreed, and also accepted a change of emphasis implied in its new title, that the aim should be a full dual-track railway from Colchester to Cambridge.

Other smaller-scale projects focused on Haverhill to Cambridge alone had little or no chance of success, member Alan alexander said. The bigger project had a future, and the fact that Haverhill and Sudbury were in the way was just a bonus.

Haverhill Online News

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