|Trumpington Local History Group
How the Cambridgeshire Guided
Busway came to Trumpington
|Ordnance Survey map showing the route of the Busway, November 2011.
The former railway cutting in hoar frost, looking east from Shelford Road
|Photos: Peter Dawson.
A test run on the Busway,
From 2003-11, Peter Dawson, with Ken Fletcher, coordinated the
response of residents of 31 houses next to the railway cutting to the east
of Hauxton Road to the development of the Cambridgeshire Guided
Busway (CGB) around Trumpington village. This report describes the
protracted process to plan and construct the Busway through
Hailed by its promoters, Cambridgeshire County Council, as a vital contribution towards easing
traffic congestion, especially on the A14, the concept of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway
was first presented in 2003 to a surprised and somewhat sceptical public, many of whom
regarded it as a "white elephant" and the "misguided busway".
The longest dedicated concrete guideway in the world, it was intended to provide rapid,
comfortable and affordable transport between Huntingdon and Cambridge, utilising old railway
tracks, except through Cambridge, and terminating at Trumpington Park & Ride.
In Trumpington, faced with the prospect of extensive permanent damage to the environment,
residents, although not opposed to the concept, resolved to give the Busway a bumpy ride!
The Local Story
Following the demise of the proposed Cambridge Rapid Transit System in 2000,
Cambridgeshire County Council commenced public consultation on its scheme for a Huntingdon
to Cambridge Guided Busway (CGB) in 2003. The concrete guideway would run 12 miles
along the old railway track from St Ives to north Cambridge, then from the railway station to
Trumpington Park & Ride, utilising the old Cambridge to Bedford rail line, with a spur into the
Addenbrooke's complex. There would be a track for maintenance, cycle and pedestrian use
alongside the guideway.
Designated a County Wildlife Site, the cutting where the line ran alongside the Trumpington
allotments then under Shelford Road and Hauxton Road bridges had, over 50 years, become
overgrown with dense undergrowth and many mature trees. Residents of Cranleigh Close and
Lantree Crescent, north and south of the cutting between the two road bridges, placed great
value on this amenity, both as a screen providing a quiet, secure environment and as a wildlife
haven. Following the closure of the railway, their gardens extended down the embankments to
the track base.
|Looking over the railway cutting from the
garden of 7 Cranleigh Close, summer 2006.
In August 2003, residents' anger and anxiety was voiced by the Trumpington Environmental
Action Group (TEAG) in a letter to Cambridgeshire County Council. The Council replied in
January 2004, confirming the use of the cutting, the need to stabilise embankments and to
protect the gas main buried in the track bed.
Despite further objections by residents, the Council voted to proceed with the Busway scheme
and served Compulsory Purchase Order notices to acquire the embankments and the ends of
All residents along the deep cutting, except one, agreed to be represented by TEAG at the
forthcoming Public Inquiry and throughout ongoing liaison with the Councils and constructors.
Formal objections from TEAG and individuals were submitted to the Secretary of State in
March 2004 without the help offered by the County Council. A draft Agreement on land
purchase was rejected on TEAG's advice at a residents' meeting on 1 September 2004, with
guest speaker County Councillor Anne Kent present. It was agreed to appoint a legal
representative in matters leading to a compensation payment.
Costing £2.2m, the Public Inquiry into the Busway began in St Ives on 28 September 2004,
later transferring to Cambridge where it ended on 1 December 2004. TEAG made
representation through its chairman, Ken Fletcher, on five key topics: needs and transportation;
engineering; construction and capital cost; Public Rights of Way; ecology and landscape and
Throughout the Inquiry, Ken Fletcher emphasised the concerns of residents about possible
damage to property through vibration, risk of damage to the high pressure gas main beneath the
trackway, loss of screening, seclusion and safety caused by the removal of trees and other
growth, impact on the green character of the area and drop in property values. Destruction of
the important wildlife green corridor and loss of habitat would cause a drastic reduction in the
wildlife population and the status of the cutting as a County Wildlife Site would be jeopardised
as a result. The proposed land-take, involving in some cases the removal of sheds, greenhouses,
etc., would diminish the amenity value of the smaller gardens. Single-track restriction through
the cutting rendered impossible the target of four minutes for buses to run between the Park &
Ride site and Cambridge railway station (when the line opened in 2011, this was timetabled as
13 minutes via Addenbrooke's Hospital).
Having received the Inspectors report in June 2005, the Secretary of State, Alistair Darling,
approved the scheme in December that year. The suggestion by residents to use the proposed
Addenbrookes Access Road as an alternative to the cutting had been rejected, partly because
delivery of the road was expected to be later than completion of the Busway. (In fact, the road
was delivered nine months before the Busway opened.)
In January 2006, residents met to agree that the acquisition of land should be by a new
Agreement, rather than through statutory enforcement. This was on the advice of their
appointed legal representative, Jonathan Stiff of Chartered Surveyors, Smiths Gore.
In August 2006, the Council announced the Busway would cost £116.2m and open at the end
TEAG submitted comments on the Ecological Management Plan and gas main protection
proposals. Residents were being kept informed of developments through TEAG newsletters.
As construction of the southern section of the Busway was about to begin, the first of a series
of Local Liaison Forum (LLF) meetings was held on 6 December 2006, chaired by Councillor
Anne Kent and attended by Ken Fletcher, Peter Dawson, other residents and - from 2007 -
representatives of the Trumpington Residents' Association, with Council and constructor's
In December 2006, the Busway construction company, Nuttalls (later BAM Nuttall), began
building their site compound and factory near Longstanton.
In early 2007, designs for the Long Road side track underpass and the main line rail bridge were
received and comments returned. Work on these began later in the year.
|Constructing the tunnel for the busway cycle path beside the Long
Road railway bridge, September 2007.
Constructing the busway bridge to Addenbrooke's Hospital over the
main railway line, autumn 2007.
As part of the compulsory purchase procedure, the County Legal representatives, Bruton
Knowles, sent each resident a Notice to Treat and Notice of Entry. These were completed and
returned via Smiths Gore's office.
In August 2007, after 21 active years, TEAG closed down, its functions now being performed
by the Trumpington Residents' Association (TRA). Ken Fletcher and Peter Dawson continued
to act as residents' representatives on Busway matters, the latter being a member of TRA.
In October 2007, Savills, for the Council, conducted independent surveys of properties as part
of the compensation process. Survey details were sent to residents in 2008.
Confusion about clearance of the cutting, extent of land-take and alignment of fencing were
voiced and the County's responses received.
Initial clearance of the lower part of the embankments began in February 2008 but was stopped
by City Councillor Philippa Slatter when residents strongly protested about the nature and extent
of the work. A meeting of all parties concerned was held in the cutting. Smiths Gore sent details
to residents plus a notice about a meeting in the Village Hall on 21 February. At this
acrimonious meeting, residents expressed their dismay to Council and constructors
representatives in strong terms.
|Initial clearance of the railway cutting
embankment, February 2008.
A revised programme for cutting work was presented at the Local Liaison Forum on 5 March
2008. Clearance would be far more extensive than originally stated, especially on the north
embankment. A system for updating residents on progress of cutting work was initiated.
Work on protecting the gas main came to a halt in January 2009 when National Grid decided
further inspection and pipe wrapping were necessary. This was not completed until March
2010, causing a serious delay to Busway construction in the cutting.
|Warning sign for the gas pipeline through the
cutting, spring 2008.
Meanwhile, construction was going ahead from Cambridge station and on into Clay Farm, the
53ft long concrete guideway 'beams', produced at the Longstanton site factory and stacked at
Clay Farm, being laid by a giant purpose-built gantry.
|Construction of the busway track, looking
north and south from the Long Road bridge;
beams in hand for the construction of the
busway track, spring 2009.
In March 2009 came the bad news that much greater clearance would be necessary along the
Cranleigh Close embankment on the north side of the cutting, to facilitate the removal and
re-structuring of the slope and construction of a stabilising gabion wall at the base. A meeting in
the cutting confirmed this and the clearance work was put on hold.
|Further clearance of the railway cutting, spring
As the landscaping was a City Council responsibility, Simon Payne, City Director of Planning,
having arranged and led the cutting meeting, wrote to BAM Nuttall on 6 April 2009 urging
improvement in their relationship with residents. Consequently, full details of the works
programme were sent to residents, some details of which still caused concern.
On 15 April 2009, Ken Fletcher and Peter Dawson experienced a short demonstration trip in a
|Demonstration trip by the busway buses, 15 April 2009.
BAM Nuttall reassured residents that not all vegetation needed to be removed. On 26
November 2009, all parties walked through the water-logged, muddy cutting to identify trees for
removal or pruning and to look at land-take probabilities with a view to residents retaining as
much of their gardens as practicable.
|Site visit to the railway cutting, 26 November 2009.
As authorised by the City Arboriculture Officer, further tree clearance began in February 2010.
From March to June 2010 gas main protection slabs were laid and the cutting drainage system
|Looking east along the railway cutting from Shelford Road bridge, after
clearance, January-February 2010.
Laying slabs along the railway cutting to protect the gas main, looking
east from Shelford Road bridge, January-February 2010.
Busway construction, including the spur leading to Addenbrooke's Hospital, a new bridge over
Hobson's Brook and the village bus-stop near the allotment site, was proceeding rapidly towards
|Laying the busway beams through Clay Farm,
On 26 April 2010, an amended Landscape Plan was received by residents. Their concern about
clearance along the north embankment, security planting and risk of damage to trees and shrubs
within gardens was conveyed to the City Council.
On 20 May 2010, the Cambridge News reported that the cost of the Busway was expected to
In May and June 2010, with all parties represented, each garden was surveyed to settle disputes
over land-take and to identify structures to be moved or removed. Copies of the resulting
reports were vetted by Peter Dawson, corrected and finally signed by residents as being
|Restructuring the embankment and
constructing the gabion wall on the north side
of the railway cutting, summer 2010.
With gas main protection slabs and the drainage system virtually complete, the gabion wall was
built by the end of August 2010. Excavation and re-building of the Cranleigh Close embankment
was completed during the summer.
Unstoppable water flowing from a mysterious pipe emerging under Hauxton Road bridge from
the Park & Ride site had to be fed into the new drainage system to prevent continued flooding
in the cutting.
|A mysterious water pipe in the railway cutting
under Hauxton Road bridge, June 2010.
With Smiths Gore representatives and Peter Dawson present, visits to gardens took place in
September 2010 to agree the alignment of the Busway boundary fence.
The giant gantry was slimmed from its double to single guideway format and its height reduced
in order to squeeze through Shelford Road bridge and continue its work along the deep cutting.
|Laying the busway beams in the railway cutting, looking east from the
Shelford Road bridge and under the west side of Shelford Road bridge,
During September and October 2010, the side track base was laid with cable conduit pipes set
The boundary fence was erected along the top of both embankments according to an alignment
agreed by residents. A new chain-link fence was erected along the footpath leading from
|Laying the side track base in the railway cutting, looking from Cranleigh
Close, September 2010.
Erecting the boundary fence on the north side of the railway cutting,
During autumn 2010, remedial work was carried out on Hauxton Road bridge and, to a lesser
degree, on Shelford Road bridge. Metal traffic safety barriers were installed on both bridges.
|Remedial work on the brickwork of Hauxton Road bridge, September 2010.
On 3 November 2010, Ken Fletcher, Peter Dawson, Jonathan Stiff and Annabel Mason (Smiths
Gore) met to discuss aspects of claims for compensation to be paid by the County Council to
residents for loss of land and amenity and devaluation of property. Annabel Mason and Peter
Dawson visited every garden on 18 November to measure areas of Compulsory Purchase land
to be retained inside the new fence by residents.
Extensive work to construct the end of the Busway from Hauxton Road bridge up to the Park
& Ride site was completed.
|Constructing the exit from the busway to the Trumpington Park &
Ride site, under Hauxton Road bridge, September 2010.
The completed busway under Hauxton Road bridge, early 2011.
With the guideway completed along its full length from St Ives to Trumpington, test runs were
made by buses.
|The completed busway through the former
railway cutting, looking east from under
Hauxton Road bridge, with a the car trap to
prevent illegal or accidental use of the
guideway, early 2011.
Planting along the embankment began in December 2010.
On 10 January 2011, an independent safety audit of the entire Busway was undertaken.
The Local Liaison Forum on 20 January 2011 received notification that the public art time
capsule, filled with Trumpington artefacts collected by Peter Dawson, had already been placed
beneath the north side village bus-stop platform without the ceremonial event promised by the
authorities. It is marked by a slab bearing the image of a stylised 'green man'.
|A slab covering the time capsule buried under
the east-bound platform of the Trumpington
bus stop on the guided busway, early 2011.
The last of the meetings of the Local Liaison Forum was held on 26 January 2011. Throughout
the meetings, Ken Fletcher and Peter Dawson acted as a direct line of communication between
the cutting householders and the Guided Busway Team. They had provided essential
information about residents and ownership of properties. All parties concerned expressed
appreciation of the value of the meetings.
In January 2011, the final tree-work was carried out in the cutting.
|The final phase of tree clearance in the railway
cutting, early 2011.
Procedure for claims for compensation began in April 2011.
The Busway was officially handed over to the County Council by BAM Nuttall on 21 April
2011. Certain unfinished work, including defects and black-topping the side track, would be
undertaken by the County Council.
The dispute between the County Council and BAM Nuttall over cost of lateness and a budget
overspend of £9.0m remained unresolved.
Driver training took place in early 2011 and in the build up to the opening.
|A test run on the guided busway, looking east
along the railway cutting from Shelford Road
bridge, early 2011.
The Busway officially opened on Sunday 7 August 2011, over two years late and reportedly
costing £180m. Services started on the Trumpington route on Monday 8 August 2011.
With most trees removed along the cutting, residents of Cranleigh Close and Lantree Crescent
are finding that traffic noise from Hauxton and Shelford Roads is much greater, although the
guided buses (single deck to pass under the road bridges) are not too intrusive. The light
controlled safety system on the single track through the cutting appears to be effective.
Impact of the construction work on the adjoining allotment
During 2010, negotiations took place between the Trumpington Allotment Society and
Trumpington Community Orchard Project with BAM Nuttall about the effects of construction
work along their hedgerow boundary with the Busway.
After a number of site visits, including a series of fortnightly liaison meetings, it seemed that the
hedgerow and trees contained within it were substantially unaffected by the excavation works
for drainage and the maintenance track. Monitoring would continue to take place over the next
two years; BAM Nuttall agreed to replace any trees or shrubs which suffered from their works.
Security along the boundary became a problem, as all the brambles were removed from the
edge of the cutting. A section of old fencing was replaced and chestnut paling was provided to
help fill gaps in the hedge until new planting could grow up in its place.
At the request of the Allotment Society, the cycle shelter beside the Trumpington stop was
moved away from the allotment boundary to the other side of the approach track.
By early 2011, when BAM Nuttall had completed this section of the Busway, the Allotment
Society was happy that their interests had been safeguarded as far as possible, and they sent a
formal letter of thanks to John Ely, Construction Manager, recognising this.
Items included in the time capsule buried under the east-bound
platform of the Trumpington bus stop
Cambridgeshire County Council commissioned four artists to create original and distinctive
public artworks to be located at various sites, relating to each area along the Busway. Mark
Dixon's concept included a time capsule buried at the Trumpington bus stop. The capsule
contains documents and artefacts illustrating Trumpington life and history. It is capped with a
concrete marker visible on the east-bound platform. The contents are preserved and protected
Peter Dawson gathered the material that was placed in the capsule, with help from members of
the Trumpington Local History Group and Trumpington Residents' Association.
Trumpington Parish Church
Poster, Easter 2009
Booklet, St Mary and St Michael, Trumpington, The Church, 2006
Church Magazine, The Trumpet, March 2009
Leaflet, New View 2009, Reverend Andy Chrich
Poster from the meeting A Trip Through Trumpington, based on lectures by Percy Robinson,
Copy of deeds, Grant and Confirmation, dated 1582, with note and synopsis
Postcard photograph of Trumpington Hall, building notes and description in the Victoria
County History, 1982
Extract from the description by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, 1959
Trumpington Local History Group
Book, 20th Century Trumpington, Trumpington Local History Group, 2000
Book, Trumpington Past and Present, Trumpington Local History Group, 2003
Extract, Spalding's Directory of Cambridge, 1939
Personal memories, Trumpington - Fifty Years Ago, W.E. Dring, 1974
DVD, 100 Years of Change, Trumpington Local History Group, 2008
Leaflet, Who was Henry Fawcett?, Trumpington Local History Group, 2009
Booklet, Henry Fawcett, Man of Vision, Trumpington Local History Group, 2009
Leaflet and Invitation Card, Trumpington Village Hall Centenary Exhibition, 2008
Leaflet, Trumpington War Memorial, Trumpington Local History Group, 1997
Home page and meetings page from Website, 2009
Meetings posters, Trumpington Local History Group:
Trumpington Worthies, 2001
A Century of Childhood in Trumpington, 2004
Were You There? What Did You Wear?, 2005
Toys, Games and Pastimes of Yesteryear, 2007
A Hundred Years of Change, 2008
A Trip Around My Dining Room Walls (Trumpington Hall), 2008
Trumpington Village Hall Centenary Exhibition, 2008
On the Street Where You Live, 2008
Along the High Street, 2009
Trumpington Residents' Association (TRA)
Home page, Web site, 2009
Leaflet, Information for Members, 2009
Rules of the Association, 2008
Minutes of members' meeting held 24 September 2008
Trumpington Elderly Action Group
Cards, programmes for 2009 and 2010
Trumpington Tuesday Group
Leaflets, programmes for 2005 and 2007
Trumpington Fish Scheme
Window card, gate-post metal sign, lapel badge
Trumpington Gardening Society (TruGS)
Card, programme for 2009
Trumpington Environmental Action Group (TEAG)
Booklet, Protecting the Cambridge Scene, 1986
Leaflet, A Walk around Trumpington Village, 1997
Leaflet, Anstey Hall, 1997
Leaflets, number 1-3, 1986
Trumpington Community Orchard Project
Leaflet, Membership information and aims
Anstey Way Events
Programme, Trumpington Christmas Fair, 2008
Southacre, Latham and Chaucer Residents' Association (SOLACHRA)
Book, Rus In Urbe. Chaucer Road and Latham Road: the History of Two Rural Roads in
Cambridge, SOLACHRA, 1996
Plant Breeding Institute (PBI)
The Plant Breeding Institute, 75 Years, 1912-1987, PBI, 1987
Cereals, A Guide to Varieties, PBI
Wheat, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, PBI, 1991
Wheat, A Guide to Varieties from the Plant Breeding Institute, NSDO
Trumpington Allotment Association
Posters, Allotments to Let, Grow Your Own Vegetables, picture of produce
Site plans, 2001-02, 2007-08, 2008-09, plus information sheet
Photograph, members at the Village Hall Centenary Exhibition, 2008
Posters, Open Day, 2007
Poster and newspaper article, National Allotment Week, 2009
For information about the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, see the Cambridgeshire County
Council and Busway web sites. These including details of the project and the timetable.
|Cover of the Busway timetable. Cambridgeshire
County Council, August 2011.
|Services on the Busway
through Trumpington, October
2011. Photos: Andrew Roberts.
|The 'brick wall' on the Busway,
at the junction of the railway
route and the Addenbrooke's
spur, 24 November 2011.
Photos: Andrew Roberts.