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Press Release 30 October 2003

CAST.IRON case for rail goes on the road!

Series of public meetings set for November and December

CAST.IRON the Cambridge And St. Ives Railway Organisation is to host a series of public meetings to present the case for returning rail services to the line. There will be five events at venues along the route and the final presentation will include an invitation-only session for local and national politicians, planners, railway professionals, industry leaders, the media and opinion-formers.

"We are now ready to answer our critics", said CAST.IRON Chairman Tim Phillips. "Our officers have put in a tremendous effort to produce a fully-costed scheme that will bear scrutiny. This is a pioneering example of a professional business evolving out of a volunteer and community organisation. We always knew what people wanted; we had to find a way to give it to them and we have been successful!"

The Organisation has been involved in a war of attrition with Cambridgeshire County Council, whose guided bus scheme will be voted on for the second time in December. The Council has yet to apply for a Transport and Works Order, which is a bit like planning permission, from the Government.

The application has already been delayed by three months.

Mr Phillips told us, "The first County Council vote in September scraped in with 30 out of 58 in favour of the guided bus scheme. We only need to demonstrate to a few of these that rail is available and viable and the abstainers will follow. There must be a majority of the full council for the application to go ahead. Now that there really is a cast iron case for rail, we expect the December vote to fail".

In early October, officers were appointed to 41 posts within the CAST.IRON organisation although a lot of work had already been done by that stage. Officers will be available at the meetings to answer questions.

"We know that many local and national politicians already have serious misgivings about destroying a potentially vital rail route for the sake of an isolated and untested 'rapid transit scheme", said Phillips, who will be the principal speaker at all the meetings. "Some of them are wedded to the guided bus idea, some prefer rail as long as it is viable, some want rail at any cost and some remain to be convinced either way. Our meetings and exhibitions will swing the last three groups... and with a bit of luck, we'll convert a few from the first group as well!"

The meetings will all start at 7.30pm with public access from 7pm, except the last one where commuters will be able to drop in any time after 5pm. The details are:

Tuesday 4th November CAMBRIDGE Manor Community College, Arbury Road Public access from 7.15pm; meeting starts 7.30pm

Tuesday 11th November HISTON Junior School, The Green Public access from 7.15pm; meeting starts 7.30pm

Wednesday 19th November SWAVESEY Village College Public access from 7.15pm; meeting starts 7.30pm

Tuesday 25th November ST. IVES Burgess Hall Public access from 7.15pm; meeting starts 7.30pm

Tuesday 2nd December - IMPINGTON Holiday Inn, Cambridge Road Private presentations 1pm-4pm; public access from 5pm; meeting starts 7.30pm

A general overview of CAST.IRON plans can be found on the website, www.castiron.org.uk.

See Media Resources page for downloadable document with notes for editors.

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