Developing a multifunctional and sustainable railway between Bedford and Cambridge to cater to intercity passengers and local journeys
Group Members
Sam Butler, Jack Dubber, Jamie Franks, Josh Gant, Luke Oestel, Saskia Watts
Professor John Preston, Dr Simon Blainey
The arc of land running between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge is an area which, despite bearing a unique collection of research and business assets, lacks a rail connection without routing through London terminals. This project has developed plans for a direct rail link spanning a section of this arc, connecting Bedford and Cambridge via a two-track electrified line known as Bed-Cam Rail (BCR).

Detailed horizontal and vertical alignments were plotted, serving new stations at Sandy, Bassingbourn and Bedford South, following a multicriteria analysis which considered feasibility, socio-economic and environmental factors. Safe preliminary designs for a tunnel, embankments and cuttings were developed to limit gradients, and plans were created for a transit-oriented development (TOD) to the North of Bassingbourn. A multi-modal interchange at its heart connects the raised BCR line with sheltered bus stands, bicycle storage facilities and a taxi rank. The concept of filtered permeability encourages sustainable transport modes, whereby a dense network of bus-only roads and cycle paths offer a convenient way to travel.

A financial appraisal was conducted to calculate a benefit-cost ratio for the BCR based on guidance from the Department for Transport, quantifying impacts such as emissions, journey-time, fuel and indirect tax. This study also involved estimation of other costs such as construction, materials and rolling stock based on industry analysis of capital and operating costs. Railway demand was forecasted using a combination of an existing trip-end model of Britain and an elasticity model based on headways. This forecast led to the development of an appropriate timetable, track layout and signalling system.
Bassingbourn station island platform


Rail alignment bridging dual carriageway