Cambridge Line

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Cambridge Line
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale East of England
Termini Hitchin
Cambridge
Stations 7
Operation
Opening 1851
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Thameslink Southern & Great Northern
Rolling stock Class 313
Class 317
Class 321
Class 365 "Networker"
Technical
No. of tracks Double track throughout
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Loading gauge W8
Route availability RA 7-9
Electrification 25 kV AC OHLE
Operating speed 90mph max
Cambridge Line
To Cambridge on the WAML
Milepost change 55m 26ch/53m 03ch
M11 motorway
Harston(closed 1963)
50m 77ch Foxton
A10 road
Barrington cement works
49m 67ch Shepreth
47m 75ch Meldreth
A505 Royston Bypass
44m 72ch Royston
A505 Royston Bypass
41m 00ch Ashwell and Morden
36m 47ch Baldock
A1(M) motorway
Letchworth sidings
34m 50ch Letchworth Garden City
From Kings Cross on the ECML

The Cambridge Line [1][2] runs from Cambridge junction[2] on the East Coast Main Line to Shepreth Branch junction[2] on the West Anglia Main Line and forms part of the route between London King's Cross and East Anglia. The line is part of the Network Rail Strategic Route 5, SRS 05.05 and is classified as a London and South East Commuter line.[3]

History[edit]

Main article: Great Northern Route

Plans for a line between Hitchin and Royston were placed before Parliament in 1846 by the Royston and Hitchin Railway company. [4] The line was initially planned to be a single track spur from Hitchin, but during debate in the Lords it was recommended that the line be two track in the view of its possible later use as part of a route from Cambridge to Bedford although this was later superseded by the Varsity Line via Sandy. [5] The line was opened in 1851 then extended to Cambridge although this was resisted by the company already operating a service from Liverpool Street via the West Anglia Main Line. [5] The line was then leased by the Great Northern [6] in 1850 and subsequently purchased in 1898 [7] and through services run from London King's Cross to Cambridge.

As part of the Great Northern Route electrification in the mid 70's, the through service was severed by the need to switch from the electrified service to Royston to a DMU stopping at all stations to Cambridge. The electrification was extended to Cambridge in the mid 80's and the track improved to increase speed. Occasional services are run by 12 car trains [8] allowing them to stop only at Royston & Letchworth Garden City where the platform is long enough to accommodate them. The platform extenstion at Letchworth Garden City has now been completed since December 2011.

The flat junction at Hitchin has always been an issue with conflicting train movements, but a bridge and viaduct to the north of the existing junction was opened in 2013 to carry north-bound services up and over the East Coast Main Line.[9]

Services[edit]

Services on the line are run by Thameslink Southern & Great Northern as part of their Great Northern Route. [8] A mix of Express, Fast and Stopping services are provided on the line as well as services via the Hertford loop to Moorgate which start and terminate from Letchworth Garden City.

An alternative route via the West Anglia Main Line links Liverpool Street to Cambridge now provides mainly stopping services though some peak hour trains stop only at Tottenham Hale and Audley End.

Infrastructure[edit]

The line is double track throughout. Traction current is supplied at 25 kV AC using overhead line equipment overseen by York Electrical Control Room,[2] with Neutral Sections at Cambridge junction,[2] Litlington[2] and Shepreth Branch junction.[2] It has a loading gauge of W8[3] and a maximum line speed of 90 mph.[3]

Route boundary & signalling[edit]

Just under a mile to the east of Royston station lies the boundary between the Network Rail London North Eastern Route[2] and Anglia Route.[2] All signals between Kings Cross and this point are controlled by Kings Cross Power Signal Box,[2] whilst those from here to Cambridge are controlled by Cambridge Signal Box.[2] The signalling system for the whole Cambridge Line is Track Circuit block,[2] with all main signals being multiple-aspect colour light signals.

Stations[edit]

In order from southwest to north.[10]

Passenger volume[edit]

These are the passenger usage statistics on the National Rail network from the year beginning April 2002 to the year beginning April 2010. Comparing both years, Cambridge has increased by nearly 51%, Foxton by 57%, Shepreth by 99%, Meldreth by 41% although it has declined in recent years until this point, Royston increased by 28%, Ashwell and Morden by 30%, Baldock by 50%, Letchworth Garden City by 33% and Hitchin by 44%.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quail Map 2 - England East [page 24] February 1998 (Retrieved 2011-11-09)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Network Rail (December 2006). London North Eastern Route Sectional Appendix. Module LN2. p. 47 to 51 LOR LN125 Seq001 to 005. NR30018/02. 
  3. ^ a b c "Route 5 - West Anglia". Network Rail. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Projected Railways" The Times (London). Tue, 8th Dec, 1846. (19414), col A, p. 7.
  5. ^ a b "Cambridgeshire Railways". Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  6. ^ "Money-Market And City Intelligence" The Times (London). Mon, 26th Aug, 1850. (20577), col A, p. 3.
  7. ^ "Railway And Other Companies" The Times (London). Sat, 12th Feb, 1898. (35438), col C, p. 5.
  8. ^ a b First Capital Connect. "From 13 Dec: Great Northern All routes ALL DAYS". Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hitchin flyover". Network Rail. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Network Rail (December 2006). London North Eastern Route Sectional Appendix. Module LN2. p. 50 LOR LN125 Seq004. NR30018/02. 
  11. ^ "Station Usage". Rail Statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 

Coordinates: 52°03′N 0°02′W / 52.05°N 0.03°W / 52.05; -0.03