Cambridge Light Rail would provide people with short journey times on a rapid transit system. Based on an average speed of 33 kph (London Tube, Transport for London) including stops the proposed routes could move people across Cambridge astonishingly quickly.
Cambridge Connect has calculated typical journey times between example stops if all options for the Cambridge Light Rail line were implemented. For example:
- Cambridge Central Station to Market Square: 3 mins 20 s! One stop at Parker’s Piece.
- Histon Road (near A14) to Market Square: less than 15 minutes.
- Cambridge Central Rail Station to Addenbrookes: 5 mins 12 s. Two stops.
- Cambridge Central Rail Station to Capital Park: 10 mins 48 s. Four stops.
- Cavendish to Addenbrookes: 11 mins 48 s. Six stops.
- Milton Road (near Science Park) to Cavendish: 15 mins 42 s.
- Milton Road to Addenbrookes: 14 mins 20 s.
- Cumulative travel time to all stops on the network: 78 mins.
- Travel time full length of Isaac Newton Line (Girton Interchange to Granta Park, 19 km): 33 mins (assumes faster speed in south where stops are fewer).
The journey times would be faster than by car without traffic, more predictable, and no need to find a park! Waiting in long queues for City parking could be a thing of the past in 2031: we’d wonder “did we really do that in 2016?”! The journey times on a Cambridge Light Rail system could be comparable to the London Tube provided dedicated lines, as we suggest, are used. If the network were to run on streets shared with other traffic, the trams would necessarily operate at lower speeds. The line would be dedicated underground and along most of the length of the lines suggested. We recognise that detailed studies remain needed to give accurate speeds and journey times.
For comparison, let’s consider the journey from Cambridge Central Rail Station to Market Square. A bus journey would first need to go to Drummer Street and then you would need to walk to Market Square (buses cannot access Market Square). The Stagecoach bus service to Drummer Street is advertised as ~10 mins; the 450 m on to Market Square would take around 6 mins to walk, so 16 mins in total in optimal conditions. This is five times longer by bus / walk than by Light Rail, which would be 3 mins 20 s. Moreover, buses struggle to achieve advertised times owing to congestion, so in practice bus journeys would often take longer. Further comparisons will be compiled in due course.
- Light Rail on dedicated lines would be faster, more frequent, more reliable, and more predictable than other options.
- We can expect, therefore, that many people would make a natural choice to travel by Cambridge Light Rail.