Docklands Light Railway style underground system proposed for Cambridge

Cambridge should have its own Docklands Light Railway driverless train system, running under the city’s streets and commons.

The idea has been put forward by a young software worker, who has drawn up a plan for how it might work.

Mark Hogan, 23, says Cambridge is struggling to sort out its traffic problems – so going underground may be the answer, with automated trains and smart-card ticketing.

He stressed his proposal is simply an idea, aimed at stimulating debate, but he believes it might be feasible, especially in the wake of news that Cambridge is vying for £1 billion under the Government’s City Deal to fund better transport infrastructure.

Mr Hogan has called his idea CAM – Cambridge Automated Metro – and has drawn a London Underground-style map showing how it could operate.

There would be three lines – one running between Cambridge Science Park and Cambridge University’s West Cambridge site, another linking Trumpington and Fulbourn, and the third connecting the Addenbrooke ‘s site with the new town Northstowe, with stops at Histon, Orchard Park, Arbury, Chesterton, Midsummer Common, and Cambridge railway station.

The third line would run under the River Cam, and there would also be stops allowing access to The Grafton centre and the historic centre of the city, as well as access to Anglia Ruskin University and Romsey.

Not all of the track would be below ground. Once outside the city, sections such as the stretch going to Northstowe could be on a normal surface system.

The scheme is the second subterranean project to be suggested recently. Earlier this year, Prof Robert Mair, Cambridge University’s professor of civil engineering, said bus route tunnels under the city should be seriously considered.

Mr Hogan, who works on Cambridge University’s West Cambridge site, has posted the idea on his blog, at http://www.g400.co.uk/cantabits/?p=1409.

He told the News: “With at least £1 billion potentially being unlocked soon for transport in the Greater Cambridge area, something like this could be implemented.

“I certainly hope that it at least generates debate about the sorely needed transport investment in and around the city. “While I haven’t done all of the analyses that I’d like, I have tried to connect up a number of the hotspots with key transport links.

“Back-of-an-envelope calculations suggest that the number of stations envisaged should provide a London-like ratio of population to stations, ensuring financial viability. Obviously the City Deal that Cambridge may get would significantly help with funding the constuction but there are other methods of raising money, depending on how much is needed and how aggressively adoption of the system is to be pushed.”

Tickets would be bought with a smart card similar to London’s Oyster Card, he said.

Cambridgeshire county councillor Ian Bates welcomed the contribution to the city’s transport debate.

He said: “Moving people, goods and data around Cambridge and the wider county is essential for the future prosperity of our area. Our ambitions to improve transport and support future economic prosperity are central to the City Deal proposals we are putting forward, with our partners, to central Government. In particular we are exploring a range of schemes to encourage more people to use public transport, cycle and walk to help reduce congestion, boost business and improve health.

“Our area is world-renowned for its innovative ideas and we are pleased to see that people are putting thought into possible transport options for the Greater Cambridge area.”

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Source : cambridge-news

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