Not one, but possibly two viaducts for St Neots!
- Credit: HUNTS POST
Amid concerns raised by St Neots Town Council last week, the East West Rail company has confirmed there may be two viaducts built on land to the east of St Neots.
The Hunts Post contacted EWR to seek confirmation on the plan for a viaduct, details of which St Neots town councillors were concerned had been "buried" in the consultation documents, and a spokesperson confirmed there may actually be two viaducts.
"Depending on which alignment option is selected following the current consultation, there may be two viaducts approximately 800m and 1 km respectively to the east of St Neots, one of which would be where the railway crosses the A428 road.
"There is still more design work to do to refine them and we will look for possibilities to reduce heights of viaducts and proposed embankments across the route further as part of the engineering design process."
Potential plans to build a single railway viaduct on land to the east of St Neots were described as "beyond the pale" and "concerning" at the Extraordinary St Neots Town Council meeting held on May 5.
The meeting was told that councillors had only recently discovered the detail, which they say was buried in the paperwork setting out the options for the new rail link.
Councillors had met to discuss how the council should respond to EWR on the options for the five routes, but, instead, a motion was put forward to ask for more information and raise concerns about the viaduct plan.
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A motion, put forward by Cllr Gordon Thorpe and seconded by Cllr Barry Chapman, was agreed unanimously by those who attended the meeting.
The motion is also asking EWR for more time to make a formal response and requests that EWR attend a meeting with councillors to allow them to express their concerns about the proposed viaduct. Councillors are also unhappy about the proposal to use diesel trains when they have made a commitment for the town to be carbon neutral by 2030.
And addressing other concerns raised at the meeting, EWR said:
"We aim to become a net-zero carbon railway while making sure biodiversity is left in a better state than we found it. We are absolutely committed to running a sustainable railway in the long term, with reduced emissions, including for carbon NOx and particulates. To that end, we are exploring how we can introduce new and emerging technologies in our long term train fleet, and will be seeking input from bidders across the market to ensure they understand our environmental goals.
An interim solution of using self-propelled trains for the section of East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford, which could be diesel powered, could deliver a cost-effective way of getting services up and running on EWR as soon as possible and help to reduce the number of cars on the roads sooner. This allows us to retain full flexibility as we explore options for the long-term fleet for when the whole line is fully up and running between Oxford and Cambridge, while also unlocking the benefits of the new route earlier."