The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Reopening Sawston Station

This is one of the Round 3 bids of Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

Sawston is a village in South Cambridgeshire, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

The West Anglia Main Line and the A1301 road both run North-South to the West of the village.

The railway calls at Whittlesford Parkway station at the bottom of the map.

The A505, which is a main route between West Suffolk and the M11 and the A1 (M) runs across the bottom of the map.

The new Sawston station is proposed to be in Mill Lane close to the old Spicers factory.

This second Google Map shows the area of the proposed station.

Note.

  1. There would appear to be space for a station.
  2. The site is not far from the Western edge of the village.
  3. There is already a comprehensive road junction, that would serve the station.

This third Google Map shows the area of the Whittlesford Parkway station.

Note.

  1. The station running North-South towards the West of the map.
  2. The large car-park to the East of the station.
  3. The smaller car-park to the West of the station.
  4. The station has a Holiday Inn hotel.

I have used the station hundreds of times and I believe that it could be made into a first class transport hub for commuters and visitors to Cambridge.

  • It has good road connections to North Hertfordshire, West Suffolk and North West Essex.
  • It has large amounts of car parking, that ten years ago was rarely full.
  • A step-free footbridge with lifts, needs to be added.
  •  There needs to be better bus connections to local villages.
  • There needs to be a bus connection to the Imperial War Museum Duxford.

I don’t believe massive amounts of money would be needed to realise the full potential of this station.

Services through Whittlesford Station And The Proposed Site Of Sawston Station

Currently, the following services run through Whittlesford station in the Off Peak.

  • Greater Anglia – 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Cambridge North
  • Greater Anglia – 1 tph – Stansted Airport and Norwich
  • CrossCountry – 3 tpd – Stansted Airport and Birmingham New Street

Note.

  1. tph is an abbreviation for trains per hour.
  2. tpd is an abbreviation for trains per day
  3. All Greater Anglia services call at Whittlesford Parkway,  Cambridge and Cambridge North stations and will probably call at Cambridge South station, when it opens.
  4. The CrossCountry service only calls at Audley End station between Stansted Airport and Cambridge.

I believe that the minimum services should be as follows to provide an adequate service, after the opening of Cambridge South station.

  • 4tph – Whittlesford Parkway and Cambridge North stopping at Cambridge South and Cambridge.
  • 2 tph – Liverpool Street and Cambridge North stopping at Whittlesford Parkway, Cambridge South and Cambridge.
  • 1 tph – Stansted Airport and Norwich stopping at Whittlesford Parkway, Cambridge South, Cambridge and Cambridge North.
  • 1 tph – Stansted Airport and Birmingham New Street stopping at Whittlesford Parkway, Cambridge South, Cambridge and Cambridge North.

There could even be a Cambridgeshire Metro serving all stations between Stansted Airport and Ely.

  • All services could be run by electric or bi-mode trains.
  • Possible stops would be Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway, Shelford, Cambridge South, Cambridge, Cambridge North and Waterbeach.
  • As they do now some fast services would skip smaller stations.
  • More important stations like Audley End, Whittlesford Parkway, Cambridge South and Cambridge North would get a 4 tph service to Cambridge
  • Other stations would get an appropriate service.
  • I would also like to see two fast tph between Cambridge and King’s Lynn, Liverpool Street, Norwich, Peterborough and Stansted.

I think that such a timetable would be possible, if the performance of Greater Anglia’s new trains were to be used to the full.

Could An Extra Stop Be Added At The Proposed Site Sawston Station?

Each extra stop adds extra time to the timetable.

Consider.

  • The faster Liverpool Street and Whittlesford Parkway takes sixty minutes with six stops.
  • The slower Liverpool Street and Whittlesford Parkway takes seventy-four minutes with twelve stops.
  • Greater Anglia’s trains through Whittlesford Parkway and the proposed Sawston station will probably be 100 mph Class 720 trains.

I think it would be reasonable to assume that every extra stop would add 120-150 seconds to the journey time.

As Cambridge South station will be added anyway, will passengers mind up to five minutes added to the timetable?

I doubt with the faster accelerating trains, that there would be a problem about an extra stop at Sawston, but the lengthening of journey times between Cambridge and London may be a problem.

A Possible Alternative Solution

Could there be a possible alternative solution based on improving facilities and services at Whittlesford Parkway station?

  • The service at Whittlesford Parkway station would be increased to 4 tph to Cambridge North, with stops at Shelford, Cambridge South and Cambridge.
  • The service at Whittlesford Parkway station would be increased to 2 tph to Stansted Airport, with stops at Audley End.
  • A step-free bridge with lifts must be installed.
  • An improved bus-service between Sawston and Whittlesford Parkway is needed.
  • An improved bus-service between the Imperial War Museum Duxford and Whittlesford Parkway is needed.
  • Both bus services could be back-to-back and probably should be run every fifteen minutes.
  • As it serves a museum, why not run some heritage buses in the Summer?
  • There should be good cycling provision between Whittlesford Parkway station and Sawston and other surrounding villages.

I very much feel, that improving Whittlesford Parkway station, may be a better value solution, than building a new station at Sawston!

Conclusion

Building a new station at Sawston may not be the best way to improve public transport in the area.

 

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jaw Jaw Is Better Than War War!

There is an article in The Times today with a title of Britain Ready To Share Dutch-Made Vaccine With EU.

It talks of compromise and how Boris Johnson has effectively told his ministers to cool it.

I feel that Boris is right to seek a compromise. As Churchill said “Jaw, jaw is better than war-war!”

I wouldn’t be surprised that we have a lot to offer the EU about other things than making the vaccine.

Vaccination

There have been several examples published in this newspaper and other media outlets, about how we have squeezed extra doses out of the Pfizer vaccine and made sure we have potential recipients on hand, so that nothing goes to waste.

Perhaps we have a suitable brigadier, doctor, mandarin or project manager, who could put some drive and organisation into the EU’s flagging effort.

If it is a big loss of face to some EU politicians so be it.

AstraZeneca’s Problem

If AZ do have problem, it appears to be in the manufacture.

After all it is AZ’s first vaccine.

This surely, is a problem, that can be solved, even if it upsets AZ a bit on how it is done!

European Vaccine Reluctance

But I do think the EU’s vaccination is not helped by the population’s reluctance to have a jab.

We had Tom Jones and the US had Dolly Parton, amongst others who backed vaccinations.

Have stars of similar standing backed the vaccination in the EU?

Help From The Yanks

As usual, the Americans have arrived late to bolster the efforts.

Lets hope that their data published today persuades more EU citizens to take the jab and even one from the UK!

But surely any vaccine that gives you 100 % protection from severe disease, as the Yanks say that the AZ does, can’t be all bad!

Conclusion

I believe that as the UK and the EU share a common will to defeat the virus, that a good compromise can be developed over the next few days.

Let’s hope it goes better than the last time, we told the French what to do in a serious situation.

My father told me about Churchill’s dash to Paris in 1940 to offer union with France to try and save the country.

Read all about it in this article on the London School of Economics web site, which is entitled June 1940: Britain’s Forgotten Attempt To Build A European Union.

What Churchill Actually Said

In trying to find when Churchill used the title of this post, I found this page on the International Churchill Society web site, which is entitled Quotes Falsely Attributed To Winston Churchill.

The actual quote was “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war” and it was misquoted later by Harold Macmillan.

Does meeting Zoom to Zoom count?

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Plans Submitted To Build Railway Station At Bebside In Northumberland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on ITV.

There is a picture of a double-track railway line with this caption.

The proposal includes a two-platform railway station, lifts, parking and a pedestrian and cycle footbridge over the A189 Spine Road to connect the station to Blyth next to Asda.

This Google Map shows the location.

Note.

  1. The A189 dual-carriageway road running North-South.
  2. The Asda Blyth Superstore to the East of the road.
  3. The Northumberland Line running down the Western side of the map.

If you click on the map to show it in a large size, you’ll see the Bebside Inn in the North-West corner, next to the railway and a level crossing.

The station appears to be being built South of the level crossing.

It looks to be a very suitable place for a new station.

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment