Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wisbech Rail Reopening Parliamentary Summit

wisbech_summit

The profile of the Wisbech Rail Reopening scheme has been raised to a national level by Steve Barclay hosting a summit in parliament with Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond and a host of political leaders and rail experts. The transport minister descibed the reopening as “a strategic priority”. This is another very significant step towards the reopening.

Here are a collection of reports and quotes about the summit.

Reopening the railway line to Wisbech is “a strategic priority”, the transport minister Stephen Hammond told a special rail summit held in Westminster.
BBC Look East reports http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-26545969

Martin Curtis Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council talking to Chris Mann on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
Chris Mann: Why is this so important?
Martin Curtis: Well first of all we all know that we’ve got within the Cambridgeshire area, and if you include Peterborough with that, we’ve got two of the fastest growing cities in the country. And what we need to be doing now is finding a way of connecting up the rest of the County to see that they benefit from that, and in fact the wider economic area as well. So the Wisbech to March rail link, one of the things that it will do is as we have that growing Cambridge economy, it will pull Wisbech into the travel-to-work area for Cambridge. But also the reverse side is true as well. It will unlock the tourism potential of Wisbech as well. So that’s why it’s important.
http://www.newlistener.co.uk/home/martin-curtis-wisbech-rail-summit-progress-update/

Video: Progress on Wisbech line with Parliamentary Rail Summit
http://stevebarclay.net/progress-on-wisbech-line-with-parliamentary-rail-summit/
Yesterday marked an important step forward in the campaign to reconnect Wisbech to the rail network with a meeting in Parliament with Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond and a host of political leaders and rail experts.
The most positive aspect of the meeting was the clear indication from Mr Hammond that he ‘recognised reopening this line is considered a strategic priority.’ He made clear that transport schemes can be accelerated where there is strong political and business will to do so.
Mr Hammond also signalled that he particularly valued a bottom-up approach where local expertise informs rail priorities and that he was keen to work with the promoters of this scheme moving forward.
It is extremely positive following the enhanced work undertaken by Cambridgeshire County Council on the wider economic benefits case, to now have such a clear steer from the Minister that the Wisbech line could be prioritised with a view to starting in 2017 if locally we are united and present a strong value for money business case.

Wisbech Standard: Most positive aspect of Wisbech to March rail summit the fact Transport Minister considered it “a strategic priority”
http://www.wisbechstandard.co.uk/news/video_most_positive_aspect_of_wisbech_to_march_rail_summit_the_fact_transport_minister_considered_it_a_strategic_priority_1_3427572

BBC News: Hopes boosted for the reopening of the Wisbech line
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26552717

Cambs Time: At £50m could the final cost of re-opening the Wisbech to March rail line prove to be a bridge too far?
http://www.cambstimes.co.uk/news/at_50m_could_the_final_cost_of_re_opening_the_wisbech_to_march_rail_line_prove_to_be_a_bridge_too_far_1_3423798

Railfuture, who are leading the “Wisbech Rail Reopening Campign” welcomes this summit which will bring stakeholders together to form the partnership which is essential for any rail development proposal to succeed.
http://www.railfuture.org.uk/article1441-Wisbech-Rail-Summit

Parliamentary Rail Summit aims to connect Wisbech Rail Line

wisbech_logo

Steve Barclay MP has organised a summit on March 11th with an impressive lineup of stakeholders to drive this project forward. The Wisbech Rail Reopening campaign sees this opportunity to focus ideas, effort and plans as a very significant step towards the reopening.

Steve Barclay describes the background to this:
http://stevebarclay.net/parliamentarysummitwisbechrailline/

“Key to the regeneration of Wisbech is reconnecting the town to the rail network. This is also important to the County as a whole, not least as the economic growth in Cambridge risks being constrained by a shortage of housing, which Fenland can help address provided the transport infrastructure is put in place.

As part of my campaign to secure a Wisbech line, I have arranged a rail summit in the House of Commons on Tuesday 11th March, which Transport Minister Stephen Hammond MP has kindly agreed to attend.

I am delighted that all the key stakeholders invited have confirmed they will take part. These include, along with the Minister, Network Rail, Atkins Rail Consultancy, the Chief Executive of the Local Enterprise Partnership Graham Nix, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Councillor Cllr Martin Curtis, lead County Council transport official Graham Hughes, Leader of Fenland District Council Councillor Cllr Alan Melton, Jonathan Denby of train operator Greater Anglia, and other rail experts including Stephen Joseph OBE of the Campaign for Better Transport and Chris Austin OBE of the Rail Future Campaign group who was the author of the 2009 Connecting Communities report from ATOC.

This builds on a series of meetings in Parliament and locally to promote the case for the long overdue station at Wisbech. I met with the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin on 19th January, the Chief Executive of the Local Enterprise Partnership Graham Nix on 14th February, have scheduled a telephone conference call on 3rd March with Steve Knight, Infrastructure Director of Network Rail, and am meeting the Secretary of State’s special adviser on 4th March.”

…..

“the Local Enterprise Partnership’s bid due on 31st March is the best opportunity Wisbech has had for a long time to finally deliver the railway link that the town needs. I am determined not to leave any stone unturned in making the case and the rail summit is an important step forward in capitalising on the available expertise to drive this project forward.”