Wisbech Rail Infrastructure for Growth lobby brochure

Following the launch last week of the Wisbech Infrastructure for Growth lobby, the supporting brochure describing the huge benefits a rail link would bring to Wisbech is available for download here:
wisbechrail.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/fenland_lobby_document_jan2015.pdf

The press release about the event can be downloaded here:
wisbechrail.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/es_wisbech-rail-lobby-on-track1.pdf

 

Fenland_lobby_document_jan2015

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisbech rail lobby on track

The campaign to re-open the rail line between Wisbech and March is firmly on track after CEOs from Anglian Water and some of the region’s biggest businesses joined forces yesterday (Thursday November 13) with Stephen Barclay MP, Steve Count leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, John Clark leader of Fenland District Council, RailFuture and local councillors to launch Wisbech’s Infrastructure for Growth lobby.

The full press release can be downloaded here:
http://wisbechrail.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/es_wisbech-rail-lobby-on-track1.pdf

wisbech_press_release

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisbech rail link is essential for economic growth

Steve Barclay reports from today’s launch of the Wisbech 2020 Infrastructure for Growth lobby which highlights potential to open up the Cambridgeshire jobs market with better transport links.

Launch-of-infrastructure-for-growth-7

“Opening the Wisbech rail-link will cut travelling times to Cambridge by more than half and costs by a third, according to a new industry led study.
The economic case for opening the Wisbech rail-link, included in today’s launch of the Wisbech 2020 Infrastructure for Growth lobby, highlights potential to open up the Cambridgeshire jobs market with better transport links.
The report to today’s launch at Wisbech Boathouse says cutting travelling time between Wisbech and Cambridge via March would help support business and employment in the town by increasing accessibility.
It would also boost the local housing market by offering affordable homes for Cambridge workers, who could take advantage of the rail link to commute to work, which in turn would ease the pressure on property markets in Cambridge.”

Read more here:
http://stevebarclay.net/wisbech-rail-link-is-essential-for-economic-growth/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vital studies on Wisbech rail link on track for spring 2015 deadline

rail_studies

Steve Barclay reports that Cambridgeshire County Council transport bosses have agreed to fast track work on the GRIP 2 engineering study, which will look at how Network Rail can deliver the Wisbech rail reopening project.

The County Council affirmed that it understood the urgency of completing the study by the end of February and agreed to push ahead with the work and promised that at the very least interim findings would be available by the spring deadline.

In the meantime it was also agreed to look at proceeding with the Grip 3 study, which would look at more detailed costings of the project, alongside the Grip 2 study, as that will also be needed if the project is to have a chance of funding.

More about the news here, along with a video update:
http://stevebarclay.net/vital-studies-on-rail-link-on-track-for-spring-deadline/

 

 

http://stevebarclay.net/vital-studies-on-rail-link-on-track-for-spring-deadline/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisbech Railway Infrastructure Workshop

Plans to re-open the Wisbech to March rail link have taken another step along the track to becoming reality.

Cambridgeshire County Council agreed to work on two essential pieces of documentation side-by-side to make sure the project was ready when the next round of government transport funding becomes available.

The announcement was made at an infrastructure workshop attended by representatives from local government as well as business managers and directors, at Wisbech Boathouse.

http://www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk/news/business/business-news/plans-to-re-open-wisbech-to-march-rail-line-builds-up-steam-1-6383865

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Direct Wisbech to Cambridge rail service added to the Cambridgeshire County Council transport plan

The Wisbech rail link is become increasingly prominent in future local transport plans, and today it is the turn of Cambridgeshire County Council. Their Local Transport Plan has just been updated with the future rail network now including an hourly through service from Wisbech to Cambridge, and an additional hourly shuttle as far as March giving a half hourly service between Wisbech and March. This is another significant piece of support for the Wisbech Rail Reopening Campaign’s aim of ensuring a direct rail link to Cambridge is established.

ltp_nov2014

The plan can be downloaded here:
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/3232/local_transport_plan_policies_and_strategy

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wisbech Rail Reopening workshop and timescales

Steve Barclay takes an opportunity to look further into the future at how a reopened line from March to Wisbech could be further extended to serve Kings Lynn to bring greater benefits to the region by allowing a direct Kings Lynn to Wisbech and Peterborough service.

http://stevebarclay.net/could-wisbech-station-open-up-a-direct-kings-lynn-to-peterborough-rail-link/

Stephen Joseph OBE, Executive Director of Campaign for Better Transport says ‘It’s important to keep a focus on the reopening to Wisbech, and to make the wider economic case for that. However, it’s also important to plan for the longer term, and make sure that anything done now keeps the door open for future links, including potentially to Kings Lynn and Peterborough.’

We strongly agree with Mr Joseph’s point that the present project must not be delayed by attention being diverted to possible longer term considerations however important they could be. We believe station in Wisbech must be as close to the town centre as possible.

Steve Barclay’s article also gives an important update to progress on reopening the line from March to Wisbech, detailing a workshop in mid-October and a hope that Cambridgeshire County Council will at that point publish timescales for the way ahead. Reopening Wisbech to March with a direct service to Cambridge would also provide greatly improved journey options to Peterborough and beyond via a change of trains at March.

“Progress on the Wisbech line itself is continuing. Following the industry support identified at the recent Wisbech 2020 summit, Anglian Water, Motts/Grontmij and Skanska will be attending a technical workshop with Cambridgeshire County Council and FenlandDistrict Council on October 15th to bring their expertise to the project. I am particularly keen to see how their industry expertise can help drive down costs – for example to reduce the number of level crossings – which in turn will strengthen the business case.

After the October 15th industry / council technical workshop I hope Cambs County Council will then finally confirm the timescales for the high level engineering study (known as a Grip 2 study) which is the next step. Having secured government funding for this work I am keen to see it begin.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Approval obtained to bring forward Engineering Study

Steve Barclay MP has secured written ministerial approval for either Cambridgeshire County Council or Fenland District Council to use their reserves to enable the £250k Wisbech Rail reopening detailed engineering study to be carried out this year on the understanding the money will be coming next year through the grant to the Local Enterprise Partnership.

This would avoid several months of delay, and would allow the project to be included in a bid for European Structural and Investment Funds.

Read more here:

http://stevebarclay.net/eu-cash-could-be-rail-links-golden-ticket/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

£250k funding announcement for Network Rail Engineering Study

wisbech_funding

The Wisbech to March railway reopening campaign received the strongest indication yet that the line will be reopened with the announcement that £250k of funding is being made available by the government for a Network Rail detailed engineering study. This level of funding would not have been announced if there wasn’t a strong chance of the line being reopened. There is much work still to be done, but today is a milestone for the project and time to reflect on just how far things have moved in the last 18 months and certainly something for our supporters to celebrate. We feel sure that Wisbech is heading unstoppably towards being reconnected to the rail network; the task now is to make sure this is done as quickly as possible.

The news as it was reported:

Wisbech Standard
www.wisbechstandard.co.uk/news/government_agrees_500_000_to_fund_studies_into_wisbech_to_march_rail_line_and_to_look_at_options_for_dualling_a47_to_guyhirn_1_3672796
The Government has agreed to spend £500,000 split between funding studies into re-opening the Wisbech to March rail line and dualling the A47 from the town to Guyhirn.

Of the money for Wisbech, Mr Barclay said: “This is the breakthrough we have been waiting for. “For years people of Wisbech have felt forgotten with a disgraceful transport infrastructure situation where the people of Wisbech have had no train station and less than two miles of dual carriageway in the whole district.”

Norwich Evening News
www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/pot_of_gold_norfolk_suffolk_and_cambridgeshire_receive_60m_for_roads_rail_education_and_broadband_improvements_1_3672621
The long-awaited re-opening of Wisbech railway station took a step closer with the announcement of £500,000 which will go towards work to look at reopening the line between the town and March.
The money, which will be available in April 2015, is for two feasibility studies, which could see transport improvements on both road and rail in Fenland.
The first £250,000 is for a detailed engineering study, known as a GRIP 2 study, which will determine how Network Rail can deliver the project to re-open Wisbech railway station and re-instate the rail link between Wisbech and March. The other is for detailed feasibility work into dualling the Wisbech to Guyhirn stretch of the A47.

Steve Barclay
http://stevebarclay.net/double-delight-as-funding-is-approved-for-wisbech-transport-studies/
The long-awaited re-opening of Wisbech railway station took a step closer today with the announcement of… government funding.
….
The first £250,000 is for a detailed engineering study, known as GRIP 2 study, which will determine how Network Rail can deliver the project to re-open Wisbech railway station and re-instate the rail link between Wisbech and March.
….
Today’s announcement is the breakthrough we have been waiting for. Now we need either Cambridgeshire County Council or Fenland District Council to agree to spend the money from their reserves on the understanding the funding will be forthcoming in April.
I am awaiting written Ministerial confirmation for either or both of the councils to use their reserves to enable the studies to be carried out this year on the understanding the money will be coming next year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wisbech Market Town Transport Strategy survey

wisbech_survey

Cambridgeshire County Council are carrying out a consultation on the Draft Wisbech Market Town Transport Strategy which is an important opportunity to express your support for the reopening of the railway from Wisbech to March.

There are details here including an on-line survey which is open until 11 July 2014; you can fill in as much or as little of the survey as it relevant to you:
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20006/travel_roads_and_parking/66/transport_plans_and_policies/3

The second page of the survey is for Wisbech with a question and free form text box relevant to the rail reopening; “Do you support the public transport/community transport schemes in the strategy?” and “Do you have anything further you would like to add?”. Although the first question sweeps all public transport into a single question, the text box can be used to express particular support for the rail reopening. Your own words will make the most impact and be most useful for the council in understanding why the line should be reopened. Here is an example for inspiration “A railway should be reinstated to enable residents to easily access Cambridge, London and the rest of the country for education, employment and leisure activities, and to bring people to the town for the same reasons”.

For background information there is a consultation leaflet which gives a high level overview of the plan, although the railway reopening is only shown on the map as “Study work on the possible re-opening of the Wisbech to March Railway Line”:
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/2829/wisbech_consultation_leafletpdf

The full strategy is here, with the reopening proposals detailed in section 6.6:
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/2830/wisbech_market_town_transport_strategypdf

6.6 Major schemes – March to Wisbech Rail

6.6.1 The Wisbech to March Railway Line, known locally as the Bramley line, was in operation for passenger services between 1847 and 1968. The line continued to be used for freight purposes until 2000. There is currently no rail service of any form operating to/from Wisbech. There has been a desire expressed over a number of years to see the railway line reopened with passenger services available direct from Wisbech.

6.6.2 One of the key drivers for wanting to see the reintroduction of the railway is development growth. Wisbech has seen growth in recent years that has led to increased volumes of traffic, and it is considered that the  reopening of the railway may offer a solution to some local road transport issues, and help significantly in terms of accessibility and regeneration of the town.

6.6.3 Investigations into the case for reopening the railway between March and Wisbech have been carried out. The work to date has been divided into three separate studies.

6.6.4 Stage 1 investigated the potential patronage and revenue generated by a rail service between March and Wisbech. This Study concluded that a conventional rail service between March and Wisbech would be expected to generate net revenue of £1.07m over an appraisal period of 2016 to 2029. The light rail scenario appears the stronger performing option, due to the significantly lower operating costs and is forecast to deliver cumulative net operating revenue over the appraisal period of over £15m.

6.6.5 Stage 2 considered the capital costs of reinstating the line and providing a new station and included an outline assessment of the key benefits. This study concluded that the estimated capital costs including optimism bias of reinstatement of the line for passenger services, overhaul of the signalling and level crossings is in the range of £50-75 million depending on station location and whether or not an over bridge for the A47 is included or not. These costs are an early central cost estimate with a high degree of uncertainty. The overall Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of the scheme is in the range of 0.99 to 1.43 excluding revenue clawback. The scenario without the A47 bridge allied to the station in Wisbech performed the strongest.

6.6.6 Stage 3 looked into the wider economic benefits that a station would bring to Wisbech and the surrounding area. The primary indirect benefits have been calculated to be £39.7m (over a 60 year appraisal period) which increase to £56.7m if a direct service could be provided between Wisbech and Cambridge. Secondary indirect benefits through further land utilisation (than already allocated in the Fenland Local Plan) due to higher economic growth with the rail service than without leads to the following benefits:

  • 392 additional houses built over the core strategy period
  • £39.2m of capital expenditure associated with the house building
  • 161 additional full time employee jobs over the core strategy period
  • £9m of additional GVA benefits per annum once all jobs come forward

6.6.7 Analysis shows significant value is placed by residents on having access to both social and economic opportunities through the rail service. The overall value could be in the region of £19.3m -£41.5m over a 60 year period.

6.6.8 Overall benefit cost ratio when the results of stage 2 and 3 studies are combined the BCR of the scheme looks to be in the range 2.3-3 excluding revenue clawback. The scenario without the A47 bridge allied to the station in Wisbech performed the strongest.

6.6.9 The next stage is expected to involve a Level 2 (GRIP2) Feasibility study subject to securing funding to undertake this work. This work would look in more detail at the options and their relative costs and benefits, however funding is needed in order to progress this work further. Updated information will be available at: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20051/transport_projects/68/transport_funding_bids_and_studies/3

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment