Two new platforms, numbered 7 and 8, means that National Express East Anglia has been able to introduce 12-car trains on key commuter services. Trains will be able to arrive and depart in either direction, freeing up vital capacity on the existing platforms and making sure Cambridge can cater for additional rail services in the future.
A new covered 15-tonne footbridge and lifts have also been installed at Cambridge connecting the new platforms to the rest of the station, making life easier for those who find the stairs a struggle. The staircases will include cycle guttering to help cycle users move around the station.
Rail minister Theresa Villiers said: “These extra carriages are great news for passengers. The Government is determined to tackle overcrowding and provide better, more comfortable journeys, which is why we are funding this extra capacity.
“We are now embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail capacity expansion since the Victorian era. In total we plan to introduce 2,700 new rail carriages on to the network by May 2019. These vital improvements will support economic growth and make life better for passengers.”
Dave Ward, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “This scheme is a significant boost for passengers in Cambridge and will add to the growth of the city. This will make a difference to passengers – more seats, improving punctuality and reducing overcrowding.”
Mark Phillips, deputy managing director, National Express East Anglia, said: “The new platforms enable the operation of longer 12 carriage new Class 379 trains between Cambridge and Liverpool Street and with faster journey times. The increased capacity at Cambridge will improve performance and reliability, cater for future growth and together with the introduction by National Express of a fleet of new trains, this represents a significant improvement in the service provided to our customers.”
The new platforms are crucial to train operator National Express East Anglia’s plans to improve train services and provide more seats for passengers on the West Anglia route. Following the introduction of a new fleet of Class 379 trains earlier this year, the new platforms will mean services can run as maximum 12-car services.
Today, services between Cambridge and the capital are very busy and the existing track layout in and around the station is constrained, especially at peak times. Trains will no longer have to wait because another train is at the platform because of the two new platforms.