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Cambridge Evening News September 2 2003

Full text of the Cambridge News story on CAST.IRON leaflet, 2 Sept 2003

A rail group battling to reopen the line between St Ives an Cambridge is set to launch a leaflet campaign putting its case.

CAST.IRON, the Cambridge and St Ives Railway Organisation, will deliver 130,000 leaflets this week to homes and businesses along the route and within a five mile radius.

It is also setting up a membership scheme to fund the campaign for what it says would be Britains first community commuter railway.

Chairman Tim Phillips said: "It is simply a matter of vision. Looking at today's road traffic levels, the population along this transport corridor, the new settlement at Longstanton and the overall predicted growth in the area, rail is the only sensible solution. Within 10 years the reconnection to the East Coast main line at Huntingdon will become essential. CAST.IRON will ensure that this can happen by keeping the existing line open for rail use."

CAST.IRON believes a link to the main rail lines at Huntingdon and Cambridge is crucial and anything less would be a stop-gap measure. It wants a staged re-opening of the line, starting with a diesel shuttle between Swavesey and Cambridge Science Park, serving Longstanton, Willingham, Oakington, Histon and Cambridge Regional College, which it says can be achieved for £2 million.

Other phases would link with St Ives with the ultimate aim of a new link through to the main line at Huntingdon.

Mr Phillips said Cambridgeshire County Council would need an Act of Parliament to start work on a proposed guided bus scheme, which would use part of the route, and the process could not be completed before 2007.

The group is proposing a membership scheme ranging from £5 for the unwaged to £40 for business and is also appealing for practical help.

Mr Phillips said: "The resumption of rail services will be a huge benefit to everyone along the line and further afield, so we hope the level of donation will be high."

CAST.IRON is looking to set up an operating company for the line and a share offer to raise capital to run the trains. It believes major rail organisations could be drawn in.

More information is available from www.castiron.org.uk or by post from St. Francis house, 10 Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8DT.

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