Since Sunday 21 May 2017 there has been a brand new railway station to serve Cambridge Science Park; Cambridge North in the Chesterton area of town. Now we need a similar station to serve Norwich Science Park, and a village just south of Norwich -Cringleford- is the perfect place for it. It is on the Cambridge line, and only a short bike ride from the Science Park. There is a level crossing on Low Road at Cringleford, and that means that if a station were built there it would have no need for an (expensive) footbridge; just a couple of platforms (not three as at Cambridge North). It would not need an expensive station building either. There looks to be plenty of space nearby for a car park/cycle park, and a bus service could connect the station with the hospital/science park/university. The station would be roughly half way between Wymondham and Norwich stations.
A short distance up the track is another level crossing in Cringleford, on Intwood Road. A station here would be slightly less convenient for Cringleford villagers, but the station would not really be intended for them, but for the University. Intwood Road appears to have even more space for a car park; either site would be much cheaper to develop than Cambridge North, although knowing the way new projects like to splash the cash it probably would not be done as inexpensively as I like to think. Perhaps now is little soon to start building such a station, knowing how long the planning takes these days. The building of the line from Cambridge only took a year from the passing of the Act of Parliament to the first train running. If the Science Park at Colney grows as we all hope it will, it is not too soon to start thinking about it. It has more in favour of it than the proposed station in Thorpe for the Broadland Business Park; at least it is on a line between two major business hubs (Norwich and Cambridge), unlike the Bittern Line where the Broadland Business Park station would be. This line only runs to the seaside at Sheringham.
A new station for Broadland Business Park would cost £6.5 million we are told, which is not a great sum of money as such things go. Cambridge North, which was projected to cost £44m, has in fact cost £50m. My scheme at Cringleford could be done for far less. Nor, unlike the Broadland scheme, do I foresee a requirement to increase the number of trains on the line just to service the new station; with the increased demand for transport links with Stansted Airport I anticipate a more frequent service on the Breckland line anyway. However we must think of a better name for the new station. Nobody outside Norwich has a clue where Cringleford is; how about UEA International anyone? They like impressive titles in Norwich (look at the ‘International’ airport). Perhaps Norwich Science Parkway would be more appropriate. I would of course support both Broadland Business Park and Norwich Science Park stations, whatever they are called.