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Any thoughts on the CAM (Cambridge Autonomous Metro)?

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61653 HTAFC

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Only that having seen Gareth Dennis's deconstruction of it, I suspect there's an "S" missing from the beginning of the acronym. Their publicity video had very little of substance behind it and the concept appears to be an unholy hybrid of the existing busway and the ridiculous "ftr" concept that First tried to palm off on several different cities without success.
 

Ianno87

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Put it on rails and call it a tram.

£5 says that the claimed cost saving on this novel technology doesn't materialise in practice.

Cambridge trying to show itself as "look how clever we are" rather than using tried and tested technology.
 

Ianno87

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Yes, it's yet another stupid gimmick.

Cambridge would be ideal for a traditional street tramway, if the cars get in the way kick them out to P&Rs, it's a fairly anti-car city anyway.

Sticking it in a tunnel (as CAM proposes) would be much easier than weaving around all the various historic building.

East-West is the natural transport axis - but the historic buildings on Trinity Street / King's Parade / Trumpington Street form a near-impenetrable wall.
 

Ianno87

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Seems it isnt as popular as i thought...

Also, why is it called Cambridge Autonomous Metro, while it only has 4 stations in Cambridge...

The proposed route corridors etc are fine - it just really ought to be a tram!

And it even goes to Mildenhall...in Suffolk!
 

Bletchleyite

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Sticking it in a tunnel (as CAM proposes) would be much easier than weaving around all the various historic building.

East-West is the natural transport axis - but the historic buildings on Trinity Street / King's Parade / Trumpington Street form a near-impenetrable wall.

I'm not fundamentally opposed to a tram tunnel as long as it is a tram. But you could, I reckon, run Bridge St-Sidney St-St Andrew's St-Regent St and down to the station, which is basically their plan. The bit from North would be more challenging, but if you can put Metrolink across Sale Water Park you can probably work out a route to get it to the A1134 and in.
 

Meglodon 5

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I'm not fundamentally opposed to a tram tunnel as long as it is a tram. But you could, I reckon, run Bridge St-Sidney St-St Andrew's St-Regent St and down to the station, which is basically their plan. The bit from North would be more challenging, but if you can put Metrolink across Sale Water Park you can probably work out a route to get it to the A1134 and in.
Fair enough
 

Ianno87

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I'm not fundamentally opposed to a tram tunnel as long as it is a tram. But you could, I reckon, run Bridge St-Sidney St-St Andrew's St-Regent St and down to the station, which is basically their plan. The bit from North would be more challenging, but if you can put Metrolink across Sale Water Park you can probably work out a route to get it to the A1134 and in.

Bridge Street is a bit far north - CAM targets the West Cambridge university sight. And if you get it there, the university can perhaps stump up some money for it.

Trinity Street is far too narrow - single track only. And even then that's taking alot of pedestrian / cycle space. Which is perverse when it's cars that ought to be displaced.
 

Bletchleyite

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Bridge Street is a bit far north - CAM targets the West Cambridge university sight. And if you get it there, the university can perhaps stump up some money for it.

Unless their indicative map isn't very indicative, the inbound line from the west is shown at precisely the same angle as Bridge St, furthermore this is the way the buses currently come in from that side of things so it's an established route.

I'm just unconvinced that for such a small and anti-car city[1] the incredible cost of all the tunnelling is worth it. I would spend some of the extra money on a very high quality (of build and appearance) street tramway, and some could be saved.
 

Bletchleyite

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Does Cambridge even need a metro? Isn't Cambridge famous for being able to cycle everywhere? What are they thinking?

I think what it's doing is taking the Busway onto the next stage - it being a proper tramway. I suppose you do lose the direct connection to Huntingdon, but there's plenty of room at the present Busway terminus for a quality interchange with electric buses where there would only be a few steps to walk between bus and tram, Dutch-style.
 

Meglodon 5

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Also, the map is even less geographically accurate than the London Underground. (i.e. the centre of Cambridge isn't in a straight line from Cambridge (City) Station. If they were to do this, they would have to tunnel under the Europe Microsoft Headquarters, which I have a feeling they would not be very happy about

I think what it's doing is taking the Busway onto the next stage - it being a proper tramway. I suppose you do lose the direct connection to Huntingdon, but there's plenty of room at the present Busway terminus for a quality interchange with electric buses where there would only be a few steps to walk between bus and tram, Dutch-style.
Fair enough

I have a feeling this is going to follow a similar path to Crossrail: it will keep getting shunned back until it isn't completed. We will probably still be talking abut the plans in 5 years time. This is mainly based on the fact that it took 5 years to build a bridge in Ely, so i am not expecting big things here...
 

Bletchleyite

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Also, the map is even less geographically accurate than the London Underground. (i.e. the centre of Cambridge isn't in a straight line from Cambridge (City) Station. If they were to do this, they would have to tunnel under the Europe Microsoft Headquarters, which I have a feeling they would not be very happy about

I can't overly see why they would care, no business in London gives a monkey's about LU running beneath them, nor do Liverpool businesses care about Merseyrail being there. It's residential properties where people care because of the potential noise/vibration nuisance.
 

Ianno87

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Unless their indicative map isn't very indicative, the inbound line from the west is shown at precisely the same angle as Bridge St, furthermore this is the way the buses currently come in from that side of things so it's an established route.

I'm just unconvinced that for such a small and anti-car city[1] the incredible cost of all the tunnelling is worth it. I would spend some of the extra money on a very high quality (of build and appearance) street tramway, and some could be saved.

I'd suggest the map is *incredibly* illustrative at best. The NW-SE alignment is somehow trying to point itself at both West Cambridge and Cambridge North, which is near geometrically-impossible!

I remain to be convinced where a street tramway actually practically fits through the historic centre and serves the East-West axis (otherwise I'd agree with you)

Here are a couple of other images from the Cambridge Eastern Access consultation, for more of a flavour.

1606650745505-97151139.jpg16066508076861293497463.jpg

Does Cambridge even need a metro? Isn't Cambridge famous for being able to cycle everywhere? What are they thinking?

Absolutely chronic traffic congestion from people far outside the city trying to drive in every day.
 

Bletchleyite

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I remain to be convinced where a street tramway actually practically fits through the historic centre and serves the East-West axis (otherwise I'd agree with you)

I still think Bridge St/Sidney St would work. It's quite similar to the arrangement of Milton Keynes bus services - most of the demand is on a roughly east-west axis but the "city" centre corridor is (almost) north-south (with buses entering from east and west at both ends) because that serves the centre best rather than running straight across.

I'm not fundamentally opposed to a tunnel, I just think the money could be better spent, be that on a higher quality tram solution or on more routes/stations.
 

Meglodon 5

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I can't overly see why they would care, no business in London gives a monkey's about LU running beneath them, nor do Liverpool businesses care about Merseyrail being there. It's residential properties where people care because of the potential noise/vibration nuisance.
Fair enough

According to the map it is Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro.
Good point
 

bspahh

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I still think Bridge St/Sidney St would work. It's quite similar to the arrangement of Milton Keynes bus services - most of the demand is on a roughly east-west axis but the "city" centre corridor is (almost) north-south (with buses entering from east and west at both ends) because that serves the centre best rather than running straight across.

I'm not fundamentally opposed to a tunnel, I just think the money could be better spent, be that on a higher quality tram solution or on more routes/stations.

You could put trams along Bridge Street and Sidney Street. Ghent has recently added trams on similar roads. However, nothing will happen in the centre of Cambridge, without the agreement of the colleges. They care very little about easy access for commuters, and very much about disruption during the building, and noise once a tram line has been built.

With a tram network, the problems are agreeing a route, raising the cash and picking the specification from a catalogue of existing products. With novel autonomous buses, you can get your mates onto an advisory board https://www.elystandard.co.uk/news/cambridgeshire-metro-salaries-1-6944435 to spend a few years writing reports.
 

edwin_m

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I still think Bridge St/Sidney St would work. It's quite similar to the arrangement of Milton Keynes bus services - most of the demand is on a roughly east-west axis but the "city" centre corridor is (almost) north-south (with buses entering from east and west at both ends) because that serves the centre best rather than running straight across.

I'm not fundamentally opposed to a tunnel, I just think the money could be better spent, be that on a higher quality tram solution or on more routes/stations.
I'd say Sidney Street is totally unworkable for a street tramway. It's only wide enough for one direction, without any space to segregate the hordes of cyclists. Magdalene Street isn't much better.

While a tunnel on that axis could support a sensible network on the principle you describe, it would be difficult to find space for portals much further in than implied by the sketch in #12, unless they steal from green spaces such as Parker's Piece. Putting the portals that far out also avoids some of the traffic issues on the roads immediately surrounding the centre.
 

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I'd say Sidney Street is totally unworkable for a street tramway. It's only wide enough for one direction, without any space to segregate the hordes of cyclists.

It's plenty wide enough for trams in both directions. You don't need a big gap between them, and you could go for a narrow 2+1-seated design as some European cities do.

Accommodating cyclists without them getting stuck in the grooves could be more of a challenge, but as a city centre section of a street tram runs at a very low speed I'm not sure you'd have to actually segregate them, you'd just need enough space left of the leftmost rail for them not to fall down it.

I bet you could find a Dutch equivalent if you looked - and that's the model to use for Cambridge. It does somewhat remind me of the route buses use into Leiden from the Den Haag side, where they just run at cycling pace, but buses don't have the "falling down the rail groove" issue.

Edit: ah, missed the very narrow bit, I've since Streetviewed the whole thing. You would get a one-direction line down there, though.
 
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bspahh

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I'd say Sidney Street is totally unworkable for a street tramway. It's only wide enough for one direction, without any space to segregate the hordes of cyclists. Magdalene Street isn't much better.

While a tunnel on that axis could support a sensible network on the principle you describe, it would be difficult to find space for portals much further in than implied by the sketch in #12, unless they steal from green spaces such as Parker's Piece. Putting the portals that far out also avoids some of the traffic issues on the roads immediately surrounding the centre.

Measuring approximately from Google Earth, I reckon Sidney Street is 9m wide, between the buildings. Trinity Street is 7m wide. Korte Meer, Ghent has a single tram line, and is also 7m wide. I think you could fit a tram line through there, if you could persuade the colleges to let it happen.
 

Bletchleyite

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Having noticed the narrow bit - you could perhaps do Sidney Street in one direction, and Jesus Lane/Malcolm St/King St/Hobson St in the other? Tight turns though, but a modern multi-articulated tram should cope.

I would agree it is very challenging compared with most towns/cities, but I still think it's doable.

Another option might be to run a city centre loop of some kind instead of a cross-city service?
 

edwin_m

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Having noticed the narrow bit - you could perhaps do Sidney Street in one direction, and Jesus Lane/Malcolm St/King St/Hobson St in the other? Tight turns though, but a modern multi-articulated tram should cope.

I would agree it is very challenging compared with most towns/cities, but I still think it's doable.

Another option might be to run a city centre loop of some kind instead of a cross-city service?
When I knew it well back in the 80s it was northbound on Sidney Street and southbound via Trinity Street. The footways have since been widened and it's now just an access loop rather than part of a through route for motor vehicles including buses. This was certainly necessary, but basically leaves one vehicle width for all traffic including cycling. So a tram would be down to cycling pace and cyclists would be at high risk from the grooves - even if not hit by a tram the density of cycles is such that anyone falling is liable to be hit by a fellow cyclist.

I think you'd basically be back to the bus route via Magdalene Street (interlaced track and a difficult bridge), Bridge Street and Jesus Lane to Four Lamps, or an even longer diversion via Chesterton Road. That essentially puts trams, like buses today, out of sight and with poor access to, the historic core of the city.
 

Ianno87

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It's plenty wide enough for trams in both directions. You don't need a big gap between them, and you could go for a narrow 2+1-seated design as some European cities do.

Accommodating cyclists without them getting stuck in the grooves could be more of a challenge, but as a city centre section of a street tram runs at a very low speed I'm not sure you'd have to actually segregate them, you'd just need enough space left of the leftmost rail for them not to fall down it.

I bet you could find a Dutch equivalent if you looked - and that's the model to use for Cambridge. It does somewhat remind me of the route buses use into Leiden from the Den Haag side, where they just run at cycling pace, but buses don't have the "falling down the rail groove" issue.

Edit: ah, missed the very narrow bit, I've since Streetviewed the whole thing. You would get a one-direction line down there, though.

You've also got the footfall from the various shops along the length of Sidney Street.

You could do trams+people or trams+bikes easily, but trams+bikes+people all at the same time is unlikely to be workable.
 

stuu

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The fundamental premise of tunnels under the city centre makes sense, as does using buses which means the whole network exists from day 1. Doing everything in a way that meant upgrading to trams would be essential too.

What I really don't understand is why they propose to use a completely different guidance method to that used on the existing busway - why do that?
 

Ianno87

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The fundamental premise of tunnels under the city centre makes sense, as does using buses which means the whole network exists from day 1. Doing everything in a way that meant upgrading to trams would be essential too.

I think the logic for buses is that - in theory - the tunnel diameter can be smaller and thus cheaper.

If you want to keep the options of trams open in future, that means no money saved on the tunnelling.
 
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