The Isaac Newton Line is a bi-directional Light Rail line of ~ 22 km in length which would extend from the Girton Interchange via the new University development in the northwest called Eddington, the University West Campus, the University Library, City Centre, Parker’s Piece, Cambridge Central Station to Addenbrookes, Shelford, Sawston and to Granta Park. A spur would extend to Trumpington and a new Park & Ride at J11 on the M11.
The underground component within the historic City core would extend 3.2 km from Cambridge Central Rail Station to the Cavendish area on the West Campus, with the remainder of the line extending overground (~ 18.8 km).
The Isaac Newton Line would would follow the existing guided busway alignment from the Central Rail Station to Trumpington, with stops suggested at Hills Road, Long Road, Addenbrookes Hospital and the Biomedical Campus near the new AstraZeneca headquarters. The Trumpington Park & Ride would be relocated to the new site on the M11 and replaced by a stop on the Light Rail line. Long-term, this route could form part of the proposed East-West rail route extending to Oxford.
The Isaac Newton Line offers the exciting opportunity of a fast connection between all three major components of the modern University of Cambridge: the West Campus, the central Colleges, Departments and Administration, and the Biomedical Campus at Addenbrookes.
The Isaac Newton Line also serves the Hills Road and Long Road Sixth Form Colleges, and to some degree Homerton College. The Hills Road Light Rail stop would provide much-needed relief to congestion typically experienced along lower Hills Road, at the Cherry Hinton Road junction, and over the bridge and along Regent Street. Moreover, the significant residential and commercial hub that has developed around the Hills Road / Cherry Hinton Road junction would be well served by options to travel quickly either in the direction of Addenbrookes or into the central City or West Campus, and to the Science Park with Extension A.
Potentially the existing guided busway could continue to service the Cambridge Central Station – Trumpington route rather than converting the line to Light Rail. This would be the most economical option, although suffers from the distinct disadvantage that passengers would need to switch from one mode of travel to another when making the journey from the City Centre. Because the busway route is overground, and the alignment exists, conversion to Light Rail could be cost-effective, and would certainly be more reliable, convenient and faster for passengers.
The Isaac Newton Line would link closely with the proposed new heavy rail station at Addenbrookes. The East – West heavy rail route is anticipated to link on the western side of Cambridge in this general area, and the Isaac Newton Line would enable people arriving from the west to connect with the local light rail network that we suggest could extend to all parts of the city. This would give rapid access to sites such as the Science Park and the West Campus for passengers arriving on the East – West rail line. While this may be some time in the future, we suggest that the integration of East – West rail into local networks should be given consideration early in the planning process.