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Cambridge - St Ives - Huntingdon
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This page shows images by Ian Boyle (©2013) of the Cambridge guided busway which runs from Trumpington through Cambridge to St Ives and Huntingdon. This page is unconnected with the busway operators - for current details of services see:- www.thebusway.info
Planning and construction for the Cambridge-Huntingdon Rapid Transit Scheme (CHRT) took place during the 2000s finalising in a decision to develop a 25-mile (40 km) transport corridor consisting of road improvements, bus lanes and bus priority measures, of which 16 miles (25 km) is dedicated and exclusive-use guided busway. The guided sections are notable for their length; making the scheme the longest operational guided busway in the world, overtaking the O-Bahn Busway in Adelaide, South Australia. Specially adapted buses are used - on the busway the bus driver does not need to hold the steering wheel as the concrete guideway controls the direction that the bus travels in.
The reserved bus-only sections make up 16 miles (25 km) of the route, and are in two parts, one either side of the centre of Cambridge. The northern length of dedicated busway runs parallel to the A14 road, using the course of the Cambridge and Huntingdon railway that closed to passengers in 1970 and runs through the former railway stations at Oakington, Long Stanton and Histon. A southern section connects Cambridge railway station, Addenbrooke's Hospital and the park and ride site at Trumpington.
Construction began in March 2007 with an intended opening date of April 2009. Following a number of delays, an independent review was announced on 21 September 2010. The original cost estimate of £150 million rose to to £181 million by December 2010. The busway was handed over to the County Council in April 2011 and opened on 7 August 2011. It forms part of the system of transport in Cambridge and the latest in a list of guided busways and BRT systems in the United Kingdom.
Based on contracts signed with the promoters, Cambridgeshire County Council, bus services are operated by Stagecoach and Go Whippet who collectively have exclusive use of the route for a period of five years - in exchange for providing a minimum service frequency between the times of 07:00 and 19:00 each week day.
Starting at Huntingdon railway station and town centre, buses travel on normal roads to St Ives. From here the busway follows the path of the former Cambridge and Huntingdon railway to a new park and ride site south of the town, where it becomes guided. The buses stop at Swavesey, Longstanton, Oakington and Histon, with a request stop for the nature reserve at Fen Drayton. Should a proposed new town at Northstowe be built, further stops would be opened - with the Northstowe developers Gallagher Construction being encouraged to build extended lengths of busway through the development itself beforehand.
Upon entering Cambridge the route diverges. One route has stops at Cambridge Regional College and Cambridge Science Park, before the bus route rejoins the road network to travel into central Cambridge. The other joins the road network at Orchard Park (formerly Arbury Park), before continuing to the city centre. The two forks converge at Cambridge bus station for the journey to Cambridge railway station. Beyond Cambridge railway station the buses are again guided using the trackbed and structures of the former Cambridge-Oxford railway (The Varsity Line) to travel south to Addenbrooke's Hospital and Trumpington Park and Ride. This section last saw a scheduled passenger train in 1967.
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