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East West Railway

East West Rail and how Little Shelford may be impacted

The East West Rail line is a proposed new rail route which will link Oxford to Cambridge and beyond. The options include an additional rail track in Little Shelford.


·      Some Little Shelford residents have been approached by East West Rail to carry out survey work on their land. 

·      Proposals for alternative routes for the new railway will be published imminently.

·      The Parish Council view is that East West Rail need to think again.

·      The Parish Council is asking villagers to write to object to the current set of proposals and demand that a Northern Cambridge approach be considered.

Who’s Who?

East West Rail( EWR) have been appointed by the Department of Transport to undertake the project. Last year they decided, after consultation, on a general route (‘Option E’ as it is labelled). See www.eastwestrail.co.uk

Great Shelford GWR Action Group has been set up to fight the proposals.

Cambridge Approaches is a separate group that has been formed to liaise with Parish Councils, individuals and communities to help ensure the best route is chosen for South West Cambridgeshire as a whole. Little Shelford Parish Council (LSPC) is supporting Cambridge Approaches, but it has not delegated to them the Parish Council’s rights and obligation to respond on behalf of villagers to East West Rail’s formal proposals when they are made public. See www.cambridgeapproaches.org

There is also a group called CamBedRailRoad (CBRR), which has been challenging East West Rail’s strategy and pushing for a route aligned with the A428 and using Cambridge North Station. See http://www.cambedrailroad.org/

What has happened so far?

EWR “restarting the conversation”

East West Rail hosted a video conference in August, which was attended by councillors, to brief parish councils on their plans and timescales. They stated that the next phase was the development of detailed routes (‘alignments’) with the required survey work to support them. Their intent is to publish the alternatives they are considering in early 2021 for non-statutory consultation.

Cambridge Approaches initial routes
Cambridge Approaches set out to influence East West Rail’s choices by identifying five possible routes (1-5 in the diagram) and analysing their impact on parishes. These have not been confirmed as possibilities by East West Rail Ltd. Little Shelford Parish Council was asked by Cambridge Approaches for their comments on the five possible routes they had identified at that time. 

Following the Parish Council meeting on 21 September 2020, the following response was sent to Cambridge Approaches:

Little Shelford Parish Council input to Cambridge Approaches

Alternative Corridor 4

On the basis that the Kings Cross line would be dualled, a number of houses would have to be demolished at the level crossing on Hauxton Road.  Increased rail traffic, including the use of diesel trains would increase noise and pollution for homes on either side of the level crossing.

For these reasons Little Shelford Parish Council cannot support this alternative

Alternative Corridor 5

Little Shelford is a low-lying parish.  This route must cross the Cam and the road between Little Shelford and Whittlesford  as well as the M11, A10, 2 roads in Newton parish and the Kings Cross railway line.  It will necessarily be highly visible, dividing the parish in two.  There will have to be demolition of a number of houses and/or the loss of footpaths, an amenity in which the parish is poorly endowed.

For this reason Little Shelford Parish Council cannot support this alternative.

Other options

The parish council has no expertise that would allow it to make detailed comment on the other options, except to observe that Alternative Corridor 3 must incur significant costs to route around so close to the back of Haslingfield, through a cutting or tunnel.

Cambourne Station 

East West Rail’s starting point includes a station to the south of Cambourne. Since September, it has become clear that there is significant support, including from our MP Anthony Browne, for a station north of Cambourne (see MP calls for north cambourne station consultation). To support this possibility, Cambridge Approaches added an option 6 to those previously identified:

CamBedRailRoad go further by recommending a route through a north Cambourne station, one in Northstowe and entering Cambridge from the north.


Some Little Shelford residents have been approached by East West Rail, who wish to undertake survey work on their land. This includes the Wale Rec, where their focus is on the local bat population.


Cambridge Approaches ran a webinar for the Shelfords, Newton and Hauxton on the 2nd December. A number of Little Shelford residents joined it. You can see a recording here.

What next?

The Parish Council view is that East West Rail need to think again about Cambourne North and Option “E” more generally.

We expect that East West Rail will publish their detailed route options at some point in the New Year and enter a period of consultation. The Parish Council will take early action to review & evaluate them and ensure that local residents have the opportunity to express their views.

What can I do?

Write to object to East West Railway Co’s current plans for route option E and demand that proper consideration be given to a Northern Cambridge Approach.


You can email all the following:

§  Anthony Browne MP (anthony.browne.mp@parliament.uk)

§  County Councillor Roger Hickford  (roger.hickford@cambridgeshire.gov.uk)

§  Mayor James Palmer (james.palmer@cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk)

§  Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport (shappsg@parliament.uk)

§  Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (robert.jenrick.mp@parliament.uk)

§  East West Rail (contact@eastwestrail.co.uk)

Below are some key points that you might consider including in your letters:

§  Route option E is unacceptable for our local community and for many other local communities in South Cambridgeshire.

§  The next consultation on route alignments should not take place without full and equal consideration being given to a Northern Cambridge Approach, against the background of other proposed infrastructure projects and local housing plans.

§  The planned 2021 consultation must be paused so that a Northern Cambridge Approach can be considered in a joined-up way alongside other proposed infrastructure projects for South Cambridgeshire and local housing plans.

If you support CamBedRailRoad’s strategy you can help by signing this CBRR petition

Or you could put up a poster to urge East West Rail to think again.

A Great Shelford EWR Action Group has been formed with its aim being to ask EWR to look at a northern approach route which potentially offers more benefits. The group welcomes new members from Great or Little Shelford. Simply e-mail: gt-shelford-ewr-action@googlegroups.com with your name and address.

Finally, if you want to find out more, or get involved locally contact littleshelfordrail@gmail.com or call 01223 756560.