A bi-directional Light Rail line extending on the northeast side of Cambridge, from Cambridge Central Station to Mill Road, Coldhams Lane, Newmarket Road, Chesterton, Cambridge North Rail Station, Milton Road and Science Park, servicing important residential, commercial and employment centres. It might be possible for the Extension A route to run overground between Cambridge Central Station and Newmarket Road, including perhaps sharing the existing rail line, depending on capacity and space constraints along the main heavy rail line to Ely. However, if line sharing was not feasible, Extension A would probably need to be underground on the section extending under the River Cam to Chesterton, and onward to Cambridge North Station. This needs detailed technical evaluation.
Around 500 m north of Newmarket Road, an existing disused rail alignment extends around Fen Ditton, and this could be utilised for an overground Light Rail line servicing Fen Ditton and the new ‘Wing’ development near Marshalls and Cambridge Airport. The current Park & Ride on Newmarket Road could be re-located to near the A14, and this would link with the ‘Wing’ Light Rail stop. This route would serve Fen Ditton and ‘Wing’ communities, Cambridge Airport, and connect the relocated Newmarket Park & Ride to the City and Science Park.
The existing disused rail right-of-way is quite narrow, and should there be concerns about the ‘footprint’ of the Light Rail line, a single-track line could be implemented with passing bays. Ditton Meadows is an important and environmentally sensitive green space, and any scheme in this area would need to be planned with careful consideration of potential impacts. By using the existing disused rail alignment and lining the route with trees for example, it seems plausible that impacts and visual intrusion could be successfully mitigated.
Extension A also extends northwest from Cambridge North rail station to Milton Road and the Science Park stop, which would connect with the Milton Park & Ride. If Extension C is adopted, then passengers would have the choice to travel either west from the Science Park to the West Campus, or south to Cambridge North and Central stations. Extension A provides an attractive choice to commuters to travel by Light Rail into the city centre instead of by vehicle along Milton Road: it should therefore reduce vehicle congestion on Milton Road.
In Extension A, the existing guided busway could terminate at Milton Road, or if Extension C was adopted, it could terminate at Cambridge Regional College.