Oxford to Cambridge rail link plan underway

Emily Loud - Deputy News Editor 17 November 2011

Plans to link Oxford and Cambridge by rail have taken a step forward as Julian Huppert gave it his full backing. The MP for Cambridge was appointed the vice chairman of an all-party parliamentary group set up in support of the rail link, which would also pass through Norwich, Ipswich and Reading along a route including the two university cities.

Huppert has been outspoken in his support for the project, which has been under consideration for ten years, saying, “this project is extremely important for Cambridge. It will bring great benefits to our city. It will support growth, boost the region’s economy and make it more competitive.”

In reference to the wider travel benefits, he also added, “it will also massively reduce traffic on the A14 making it safer, faster and more reliable.”

This line would be reminiscent of the “Varsity Line” or “Brain Line”, as it was commonly known, which ran between Oxford and Cambridge until 1963 when the introduction of high-speed link made it quicker for passengers to travel via London.

Third year Pembroke historian Tom Railton, whose brother is studying at Oxford, and who is planning on visiting the city this weekend, reflected on the implications of the link: “On the one hand the X5 (Stagecoach Bus Service) takes about three and a half hours and could never be accused of being comfortable.

“It does however have a huge upside which is that it is only £1 each way if you book in advance online. So while a rail link would speed up the process and make day-trips feasible, it would also significantly increase the cost of the journey.”

Emily Loud – Deputy News Editor