On the public footpath and permissive cycle path from Trumpington to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, there is an uncontrolled level crossing over the main King’s Cross and Liverpool Street railway line. Many people who walk or cycle to work at Addenbrooke’s from the Trumpington area use this path and crossing. Improvements such as lighting or a better surface for the path have been suggested.
|New gates at the crossing|
Unfortunately, Railtrack are unhappy with the increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists using this crossing. Every year, some 350 lives are lost on the railways (and classified as ‘trespassers and suicides’). Railtrack is always looking at measures to improve safety, even if this means closing uncontrolled level crossings like this one: remember what happened about ‘bikes on trains’ when safety matters were raised. As this crossing has a far-from-clean record, new gates and a very much improved surface have now been provided. Nevertheless, these improvements are just sufficient to allow it to remain open. Any changes that encourage increased use would require improvements costing at least £70,000. One way that this crossing may be improved is if an Addenbrooke’s station is built nearby. Building regulations now require wheelchair access at new stations, so a ramped bridge or underpass would be included.
At the moment, the Addenbrooke’s station proposal is ‘on hold’ because the predicted use of the station is under one thousand passengers per day. The rail companies also think that, far from increasing revenue, an Addenbrooke’s station would only serve to delay fast trains, which bring in the real money. It may even be that three or four tracks will be required to cope with demand in this area, especially if the East-West rail link (see www.eastwestrail.org) goes ahead, in which case premature construction of a two-track station would be a disaster.
‘These improvements are just sufficient to allow it to remain open’
In addition to a link from Long Road to Hills Road (see Trumpington Road Corridor), part of Sustrans’ National Cycle Network, may well come this way, and the possible development of a golf course on land adjacent to the railway north of Great Shelford should provide the opportunity of a cycle link south from Addenbrooke’s. These routes may be seen as encouraging more use of this crossing.
We are supposed to be in an age of ‘joined up thinking’ on local transport matters. Here we have the opportunity to provide much improved cycle links to Addenbrooke’s, the sixth form colleges, and the city, as well as providing a railway station, with the consequent reduction in car use, yet I see no signs of linkage.