A welcome addition to local proposals for rail reopenings is the Welland Valley Railway Partnership which is proposing a short railway link near Corby to allow service to run from Kettering on the Midland Mainline, and Corby, through to Stamford and Peterborough with an idea they could be extended to reach March and Wisbech.
The Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority have shared the following historic announcement about the reopening of the railway to Wisbech which puts the project on course for trains to return to Wisbech in 2028.
In a historic vote, the business case for re-opening the Wisbech rail link was this week approved by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.
The Transport and Infrastructure Committee was asked to accept the conclusions of the Full Business Case – the FBC – that restoring a heavy rail link between Wisbech and Cambridge would be practicable and offer value for money – and give the final version a thumbs-up.
Members approved the case – and if the Government backs the Combined Authority’s chosen option and helps with funding, the first commuters and passengers could be travelling into Cambridge by 2028.
Wisbech Standard editor John Elworthy tweeted: “Hugely important day for Wisbech today as @CambsPboroCA signed off the final business plan to re-open the Wisbech to March rail line. I watched the moment live…make no mistake, this was a historic moment. A frisson of excitement running through me.”
The editor’s comments reflect a long and passionate campaign within the Wisbech community and surrounding area. Wisbech – ‘the Capital of the Fens’ – remains one of the largest towns in the UK without a rail connection. Residents of the town have pushed hard for the restoration of their passenger service, ended by the Beeching cuts in the 1960s, for decades.
James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, joined and elevated the campaign upon his election, and has already met the rail minister the Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP to discuss plans for reviving Wisbech rail link and its potential funding.
The Wisbech Standard reports the historic decision of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to provide almost £1m of funding for detailed design study and proposed land acquisitions, following on from the successful completion of the business case.
The total £200m+ cost of the scheme includes a significant amount for the seven road level crossings which need to be fully modernised including the A47 trunk road and 15 other crossings along the line. It will also involve the remodelling of March station to allow future through services from Wisbech to Cambridge and Peterborough.
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It is sometime since we have posted something, even though a lot has been going on in the background in various offices around the County. But now there is something to report that we can all have a part in influencing. Bear in mind the many responses to previous consultations from all those interested in getting this project up and running have had a huge effect.
Between that last study and now, the Mott McDonald consultancy has been appointed by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to produce a report based on Network Rail’s “Governance for Railway Investment Projects”, acronym “GRIP”. There are 8 reference points and the current state of project is at GRIP3b. Typically a GRIP 3B study carries out ground investigation, topographical surveys, asset assessment, capacity analysis, environmental assessment, design and level crossing risk assessments, as well as the development of the economic case, that in this case is also linked into the development of the proposed Wisbech Garden Town, which would deliver an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 homes over 25 years from 2020. Improving transport connections in Wisbech is seen as vital to bringing forward the garden town scheme. The work on Wisbech to March railway restoration will also need to complement other infrastructure projects, including the Combined Authority’s work to dual the A47 in Cambridgeshire from east of Peterborough to east of Wisbech. The proposed rail infrastructure upgrade at Ely, which is aimed at increasing capacity on the network, has also to be factored in.
Should this economic case prove to be sufficiently positive and the capital cost estimated to be affordable, the project goes onto GRIP 4 and delivery options.
It was estimated the consultants would take nine months to complete the study so it should have completed it by now. However we assume from the following extracts, below, taken from the new Local Transport Plan, its findings are positive for Wisbech Rail.
The Combined Authority has taken over from the County Council the statutory obligation to establish a Local Transport Plan, which must set out the Combined Authority’s “plans and strategies for maintaining and improving all aspects of the local transport system over a set period.” To that end the Combined Authority recently published a series of policies leading to the establishment of the Local Transport Plan and for Wisbech it states under:
Policy 1.1.1: Deliver strategic transport and complementary connectivity infrastructure
1.10 The Combined Authority is promoting a programme of key transport schemes to provide a step-change in transport capacity and connectivity to enable development and a higher and accelerated rate of delivery. This includes nine priority transport schemes: (Including)
Wisbech Rail Link, integrated with the Wisbech Access Package and Wisbech Garden Town proposals
Policy 2.2.2: Improve the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport links to expand our labour market catchments
reopening of the rail line from March to Wisbech, significantly widening employment prospects for residents with the introduction of direct services from Wisbech to Cambridge and Ely, supported by the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement (EACE) upgrades at Ely North rail junction;
Policy 3.3.1: Invest in our rail and highway networks to allow our firms, organisations and workers to trade and travel easily across the country and abroad
Rail connectivity is also particularly important for facilitating business travel: nationally, 9% of rail journey are for business purposes, and our region’s rail links to London in particular are heavily used by business travellers. We will therefore continue to work with our rail industry partners: the Department for Transport, Network Rail and operators, to improve the rail network, as outlined in policy theme 17 (Travelling by train), including through:
exploring options to expand the rail network to link to new settlements, corridors and growth areas, such as a new rail link to Wisbech, a new station at Soham and a travel hub at Alconbury Weald.
Policy 17.3: Explore options to expand the rail network to link to new settlements, corridors and growth areas
Policy 11.146 Wisbech is one of the largest towns in the country without direct access to the railway network, with the nearest station – March – a twenty-minute drive away and difficult to access by bus. Direct rail services to the town would support future development, including the Wisbech Garden Town, and open up new employment opportunities for residents of Wisbech in Cambridge by rail. The Combined Authority is exploring how to better integrate
Wisbech into the rail network, including how a new service to March, Ely and Cambridge could support the town’s future growth and prosperity.
Strategic Alternative 4 – Blended Strategic Alternative 4: ‘Blended’ includes a combination of policies and projects from the strategic alternatives above, including new highway capacity where most required to support growth, significant public transport, walking and cycling investment (including in CAM and Wisbech Rail Link to support social inclusion, access to employment and sustainable development), together with demand management where transport capacity is most constrained. In doing so, it seeks to combine the benefits of the alternatives above to create a balanced, multi-modal transport strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Rail Services The LTP includes new railway stations at Soham, Waterbeach and south Cambridge and is exploring the feasibility of providing new stations south of Peterborough as well as connecting Wisbech. The east-west rail arc between Cambridge and Oxford will connect communities along this route with direct rail services. Improvements to the existing rail system will encourage fewer car journeys, improving air quality. It is considered reasonable to assume no likely significant effect on any European site from this project.
Now it is up to us to influence the Combined Authority as it is organising a exhibition and consultation about its priorities at a range of locations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in June, July and September as follows:
Sawston, Tue 18 Jun, 3pm-8pm, Sawston Village College
Peterborough, Sat 22 Jun, 10am-3pm, Peterborough Town Hall
Soham, Tue 25 Jun, 3pm-8pm, Soham Pavilion
St Neots, Wed 26 Jun, 2pm-7pm, St Neots Library
Wisbech, Thy 27 Jun, 3pm-8pm, Rose and Crown Hotel
Cambridge, Sat 29 Jun, 10am-3pm, Littleport Library
Peterborough, Thu 04 Jul, 3pm-8pm, Peterborough Town Hall
Cambourne, Sat 06 Jul, Cambourne Library
Cambridge, Thy 11 Jul, 1pm-6pm, Cambridge Central Library, Lion Yard
Whittlesey, Fri 12 Jul, 3pm-8pm, Whittlesey Library
Huntingdon, Sat 13 Jul, 10am-3pm, Huntingdon Library
Peterborough, Tue 16 Jul, 3pm-8pm, Peterborough Town Hall
Cottenham, Thu 18 Jul, 3pm-7.30pm, Cottenham Community Centre Coffee Shop
Ely, Sat 20 Jul, 10am-3pm, Ely Library
Cambridge, Wed 24 Jul, 2pm-7pm, Cambridge Central Library, Lion Yard
St Ives, Thy 25 Jul, 3pm-8pm, St Ives Free Church
March, Sat 27 Jul, 10am-3pm, March Library
Peterborough, Sat 07 Sep, 10am-3pm, Peterborough Town Hall
Chatteris, Wed 11 Sep, 3pm-8pm, Chatteris Council Chambers
Cambridge, Sat 14 Sep, 10am-3pm, Cambridge Central Library, Lion Yard
We hope that you will be able to attend one of these events and write and comment positively about the need to restore the railway to Wisbech.
Here is a link to information about the Local Transport Plan (LTP) and the consultation form:
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We will post additional information as we receive it.
Buy Real Diazepam UkRailfuture East Anglia and the Wisbech Rail Consultative Group set out the background to restoring a train service from Wisbech to Cambridge and how it could be done.
Don’t short change us on the location of the site of a new Wisbech railway station
The Wisbech to March Railway crosses the Wisbech A47 bypass at grade about 2 miles towards March. Eventually this level crossing will have to be replaced by an road over-bridge. To avoid that cost some authorities have stated that Wisbech station should be at the A47 bypass, 2 miles from the town centre.
Here we explain why locating the station in the town centre station is important.
Please support us achieving this aim.
Download the document here:
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Cheap Phentermine Pills For SaleRailfuture East Anglia has joined together with local people, rail planning experts and influential local business leaders to progress Wisbechrail through a new group they have set up called the Wisbech Consultative Group. This will harness peoples’ ideas about where the station should be, what facilities it should have and other issues to do with a new train service.
As you know the project has widespread political support throughout the County not least because the strong business case shows just what benefits will accrue to the town. Steve Barclay MP and James Palmer, newly elected Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, have many times enthusiastically spoken about the need for the link.
“Now is the time to deliver Wisbechrail” comes just 50 years after the last passenger train ran to Wisbech. We say there should be a definite plan that shows us when services will be running by the end of this milestone year.
The paper below sums up the progress made to date and shows how Wisbechrail will not just benefit Wisbech but the whole of the County too. The indicative timetable shows how Wisbechrail will revolutionise connectivity for Wisbech and the Fens.
Use of Rail is growing by 4.5% year on year in East Anglia. For example, Ely station now has footfall of 2.2 million per year. Use of a station in Wisbech will be equally strong.
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Steve Barclay MP warns in CambsTimes that an unammended Wisbech Access Strategy could jeopardise the reopening of the rail link from Wisbech to March.
“Mr Barclay says the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the county council and Fenland Council have all ignored a Government directive that part of the £10.5 million can be used to progress the rail link.”
Mr Barclay added: “This is a flawed consultation in a whole host of ways. It is flawed because it says take it or leave it. It is flawed because it covers only roads.
“And it is flawed because it closes off further consultation on Wisbech rail and in a leading way since the Department of Transport has given higher benefits cost scores to those rail stations in town rather than on the edge of town.
This backs the Wisbech Rail Reopening Campaign’s call for everyone who supports the reinstatement of the railway to respond to the consultation saying they strongly object to the severing of the railway by the Southern Access Road.
More information about how to respond to the consultation here:
A joint statement from Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has just been published, but it fails to explain why the “comprehensive package of both road and rail infrastructure projects for Wisbech” includes the next feasibility study for the railway, but also includes highway improvements which cut through the route of the railway jeopardising the reopening of the line to the town centre.
Please respond to the consultation saying you strongly object to the severing of the railway by the Southern Access Road.
More information about how to respond to the consultation here:
Please take part in this consultation response.
Fenland District Council are consulting on their Wisbech Access Strategy which describes road improvements crossing the route of the railway which would prevent the railway reopening into the centre of the town:
This has come out of work done by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership.
The railway is mentioned in the ‘Links to other projects’ document which says the reopening is:
- supported by Cambridgeshire Country Council’s Long Term Transport Strategy, and has also been
- In June 2017 the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority approved a grant of £6.5million towards the WisbechGarden Town Project. This funding includes £3.2milion to deliver the next stage of the WisbechMarch railway line project.
However the ‘preferred package’ page:
states “By linking Boleness Road and New Bridge Lane, the new road will permanently cut the railway line in this location. This means that it will not be possible for the Wisbech Rail Line and the new railway station to be north of the A47. The new station will have to be south of the A47, probably in the Redmoor Lane area.”
We ask everyone who supports the reopening of the railway to fill in the simple On-Line survey by Monday 27th November:
and indicate they don’t support the draft strategy because there is no mention of rail in the preferred package options, but involves upgrading the road at the point which could obstruct a reopened railway from reaching the town centre.
You can also back this up in the section by stating you “Disagree strongly” with the “Southern Access Road” and “Strongly disagree” with the recommendation for the short-term package.
The survey forces you to select a level of agreement for each part of the plan, so we can only suggest answering ‘Neutral’ to any others which you don’t have a view on.
We hope that large number of people doing this will wake up the District Council and LEP into putting rail into the strategy.