Cambridge North railway station

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Cambridge North
National Rail
Cmglee Cambridge North front night.jpg
Night view of Cambridge North railway station building in May 2017
LocationChesterton, South Cambridgeshire
Managed byGreater Anglia
Other information
Station codeCMB
Key dates
21 May 2017[1]Opened
2017/18    0.489 million
2018/19Increase 0.813 million
2019/20Increase 0.950 million
 Interchange  2,940
2020/21Decrease 0.221 million
 Interchange Decrease 539
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Cambridge North railway station is a railway station located in the Cambridge suburb of Chesterton, close to Cambridge Science Park. The station is on the Fen Line, which runs from Cambridge to King's Lynn. It connects to the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, and provides an interchange with Park & Ride and local bus services.

The station was approved in December 2013; construction commenced in July 2014; and it opened on 21 May 2017,[2] delayed from December 2015.[3]

It has three platforms: platform 1 on the eastern side of the station serves southbound fast services to Cambridge, Stansted Airport, and London King's Cross as well as some morning peak-time services to London Liverpool Street; platform 2 serves northbound services to Ely, King’s Lynn and Norwich; platform 3 is a south-facing bay serving semi-fast and slow services to London Liverpool Street via Cambridge and Bishop's Stortford.

A few services King’s Lynn to or from London King’s Cross pass through without stopping. All Cross Country services to or from Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport also pass through without stopping.



The first proposal for a station serving the north of Cambridge was made in 2003 in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Structure Plan, which saw the facility as a means of supporting growth in the Cambridge Sub-Region and of delivering an integrated transport network.[4] A major scheme business case and GRIP 2 study were presented to the Department for Transport in 2007.[5] The business case identified a site on the West Anglia Main Line, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) to the north of Cambridge station, which is owned by Network Rail and partly leased to English, Welsh and Scottish Railway as stabling sidings.[6] The station would be located on or very near the site of Chesterton railway station which closed in 1850.[7]

The station would provide an interchange facility with the local transport network including the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway and would offer a public transport alternative for trips to the Cambridge Science Park and new development in the Cambridge Northern Fringe.[8] The business case put forward four options for the facility of which its preferred one was a three-platform station comprising a bay platform on the alignment of the former St Ives line and an island platform on the main line.[9] This option was costed at £15 million and showed a benefit-cost ratio of 3.09.[10]

Progress was slow due to a number of issues including the need to retain Chesterton Junction yard[11][12] as an aggregate handling[13] sidings and difficulties in relocating rail freight operations elsewhere, as well as funding difficulties resulting from the loss of the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) support mechanism and regional planning and associated instruments such as the East of England Regional Funding Assessment.[5][14] Following the demise of the TIF, which led to plans for a congestion charge in Cambridge to be put on hold, Conservative party literature indicated that the station would not go ahead, which prompted local transport group CAST.IRON to propose a cheaper single-platform station in Milton Road as an interim solution.[14][15] By this time, the cost of a new station had risen to £24m, of which £21m had been expected to be provided through government funding, and Cambridgeshire County Council began seeking alternative options.[16] The Council eventually settled on an approach whereby it would provide the initial capital funding and recoup the cost over a period of time from access charges paid by train operating companies.[17]

In February 2011, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert gave his support to the project along with the leader of Cambridge City Council, Sian Reid.[18] In September 2011, Theresa Villiers, the Minister of State for Transport, visited Cambridge, and discussed the proposed station with county council members, saying that the government was interested in further development of the council's proposal.[19]


In February 2012, Theresa Villiers sent a letter of support to Cambridgeshire County Council indicating that so long as the station's business case remained positive, it would be included in the timetable for the reletting of the East Anglia franchise covering the Fen Line.[20][21] A revised business case produced in 2012 found a benefit-cost ratio of 4.5:1.[22] The Council released details of a proposed service pattern comprising four off-peak Up and Down trains per hour and indicated that the planning process would begin in 2013.[23]

On 18 December 2013, Cambridge City Council approved plans for the new station.[24] Works began in July 2014 to extend the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway to the station site.[25] Completion of the station works was scheduled for December 2015, but this was delayed until May 2017 due to Network Rail's desire to minimise disruption to existing services and its resubmission of plans for the station's construction.[26][27][28][29]

On 19 August 2015, Cambridge City Council approved Network Rail's new plans for the station, which were not substantially different from the original plans put forward by Cambridgeshire County Council in 2013.[30] Following Network Rail's intervention, the cost of the station was revised upwards to £44m.[30]


The proposed station was initially referred to as "Chesterton" or "Chesterton Interchange".[31] Numerous suggestions were put forward for the official name, including "Stephen Hawking Cambridge Science Park" which was supported by Julian Huppert and Daniel Zeichner.[32] In December 2014, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council launched a consultation to select the name from a choice of four: Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge North, Chesterton Interchange or Cambridge Fen.[33][34]

On 11 March 2015, councillors at Cambridgeshire County Council voted to recommend to Network Rail that the station should be called Cambridge North.[35] According to Graham Hughes, the council's director of economy, transport and environment, stated that the name would provide a good indication of the station's geographical location, adding that calling it "Cambridge Science Park" could be misleading as that was situated 34 mile (1.2 km) away and, in any event, Trinity College, which owns the Science Park, had not come out in support.[35] By contrast, St John's Innovation Centre was closer and landowners, including the Crown Estate, had been lobbying to have the station named "The Business Park".[35]


The station just before opening

It was intended that the interior fit-out of the station take place between October 2016 and February 2017. On New Year's Eve 2016, new signalling and a crossover for the bay platform was installed.[36] The infrastructure was authorised for passenger use by April 2017 and the station's opening and first timetabled passenger services went ahead on 21 May 2017.[2][36] Approximately 320,000 passengers used the station in its first 12 months of operation.[37]


Cambridge North railway station platforms in May 2017

The original design for the station was submitted by Atkins; this was revised by Network Rail when it became the principal contractor.[38][39] Network Rail updated the car park's design to maximise its potential as a park and ride facility.[39]

Detail of cladding viewed from overbridge

The facilities comprise a 450-square-metre (4,800 sq ft) station building comprising a passenger waiting area, toilets, ticket office, retail and amenity space, and staff accommodation.[40] An overbridge links the building with two 254-metre (833 ft) platforms capable of accommodating 12-car trains.[36] The easternmost platform faces the up line of the Fen Line, while the second platform is an island platform with the down Fen Line on one side and a south-facing bay platform on the other.[36] Two relaid freight lines for Lafarge run next to the bay platform.[36]

Interchange facilities are provided in the form of a 450-space car park, a cycle space for 1,000 bikes, new pedestrian and vehicular access from Cowley Road and a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) extension of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway from Milton Road.[21][27][40][36][41] The Cambridge Cycling Campaign published their proposals for integration of the new station with cycling and pedestrian facilities in November 2012.[42] The cycle park canopy is fitted with solar panels generating 49 kWp or roughly 10% of the station's power needs.[citation needed]

The cladding of the building features a pierced design derived from Rule 30,[43] a cellular automaton introduced by Stephen Wolfram in 1983.


Cambridge North railway station ticket barriers with lists of connections on the screens behind

Services at Cambridge North are operated by Great Northern and Greater Anglia. CrossCountry trains between Stansted Airport and Birmingham New Street pass through the station without stopping. The off-peak service at the station in trains per hour is:

Great Northern [44]

Greater Anglia [45][46]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Cambridge   Great Northern
Fen Line
  Greater Anglia
Fen Line
Breckland Line

See also[edit]

Cambridge South railway station, proposed new station in the south of Cambridge.


  1. ^ "LIVE: Passengers board the first train at Cambridge North Station". Metro. Allied Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Network Rail Enhancements Delivery Plan December 2016" (PDF). 22 December 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Cambridgeshire's new railway station hit by more delays". ITV News.
  4. ^ Network Rail (April 2015). Chesterton Interchange Station (PDF) (Report). para. 1.2.1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  5. ^ a b Network Rail (2015), para. 1.2.3
  6. ^ Atkins (May 2007). Chesterton Interchange - Major Scheme Business Case (PDF) (Report). paras. 2.1, 2.2 and 2.4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011.
  7. ^ Kitson, Paul (30 August 2015). "Cambridge - Its Railways and Station". Disused Stations. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  8. ^ Atkins (2007), para. 2.38
  9. ^ Atkins (2007), para. 2.51
  10. ^ Atkins (2007), tables 2.7 and 2.8
  11. ^ Network Rail (June 2015). East Anglia Route Sectional Appendix. Module EA. p. 112 LOR EA1061 Seq010. NR30018/02.
  12. ^ "Chesterton junction railway yard - Derelict sites". 12 August 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  13. ^ "JOINT DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE (CAMBRIDGE FRINGE SITES) - Tarmac Lafarge aggregate rail terminal" (PDF). 18 February 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Cambridge congestion charge plans on hold". BBC News Online. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Cambs County council acknowledges that public money for Chesterton station may not be available and considers private funding". Railfuture. 26 July 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  16. ^ "Councillors seek funding for new Cambridge station". Rail Professional. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  17. ^ Local Transport Today (16 March 2012). "Cambs plans to borrow to fund new rail station". Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  18. ^ "MP backs £21m rail project for Chesterton". Cambridge News. Cambridge. 22 February 2011. p. 2, right-most column. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  19. ^ McGurran, Deborah (10 September 2011). "Rail minister sends positive signals on East rail plans". BBC News. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  20. ^ Orson, Charlotte (24 February 2012). "City MP's bid for Cambridge Science Park Station to open in 2014". Cambs Times. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Cambridge's new railway station 'to open in 2015'". Cambridge News. 21 February 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  22. ^ Cambridgeshire County Council (2013). "Cambridge Science Park Interchange Socio-Economic Impacts" (PDF). p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  23. ^ "On track to move Science Park Station from concept to reality". Cambridgeshire County Council. 21 February 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  24. ^ Heart 103 (18 December 2013). "Cambridge: Science Park Station Approved". Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  25. ^ "PICTURES: First step towards opening of Cambridge's second railway station as work starts on guided busway extension". Cambridge News. 23 July 2014. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  26. ^ "Cambridge Science Park station to incorporate Game of Life". Railway Gazette. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  27. ^ a b Havergal, Chris (8 March 2014). "Cambridge Science Park train station opening date pushed back to 2016". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  28. ^ Dickinson, Eleanor (14 February 2015). "Cambridge Science Park station delayed again". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 16 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  29. ^ ITV News (22 January 2016). "Cambridgeshire's new railway station hit by more delays". Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  30. ^ a b "Second Cambridge station plans gets go-ahead". BBC News Online. 19 August 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  31. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council launch consultation on new Local Transport Plan". Railfuture. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  32. ^ Brown, Raymond (7 November 2014). "Could new rail station for Cambridge be named after Prof Stephen Hawking?". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  33. ^ South Cambridgeshire District Council (8 December 2014). "Cambridge Northern Fringe East Action Plan: Have your say" (PDF). p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  34. ^ Cambridge City Council (8 December 2014). "Cambridge Northern Fringe East area action plan: Issues and options consultation". Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  35. ^ a b c "New train station in north Cambridge should be called...Cambridge North, say councillors". Cambridge News. 12 March 2015. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  36. ^ a b c d e f Stephen (2016), p. 95
  37. ^ MacKenzie, Oliver (24 May 2018). "Cambridge North is one year old and it's changing the face of the city". cambridgenews. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  38. ^ Atkins (14 January 2014). "Atkins designed Cambridge Science Park station gets green light". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  39. ^ a b Stephen, Paul (31 August – 13 September 2016). "The £50m stimulus to Cambridge's needs". RAIL. No. 808. p. 93.
  40. ^ a b Atkins (May 2015). "Cambridge Science Park Station Interchange Transport Assessment" (PDF). para. 4.2. Retrieved 1 December 2016.[dead link]
  41. ^ "New train station at Chesterton". Unclog Cambridge. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  42. ^ "Science Park Station 7 Improvements needed". Cambridge Cycling Campaign. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  43. ^ "Right answer for the wrong reason: cellular automaton on the new Cambridge North station | The Aperiodical". Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  44. ^ [1] Great Northern: London - Ely/Kings Lynn. December 2019
  45. ^ [2] Greater Anglia: Cambridge - London. December 2019
  46. ^ [3] Greater Anglia: Stansted Airport - Norwich. December 2019

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°13′24″N 0°9′28″E / 52.22333°N 0.15778°E / 52.22333; 0.15778