Cambs Times 15th April 2014
A series of meetings have been held to discuss funding for a study into a train line between March and Wisbech.
MP Steve Barclay met with Cabinet Minister Greg Clark to discuss government funding for a study to see how Network Rail could deliver the project.
He also met with the special adviser to Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to discuss funding options from the Department for Transport.
Mr Barclay said: “Mr Clark was supportive of the scheme and thought it was a very interesting and positive project”.
The Wisbech Rail Reopening scheme has jumped another step towards certainty today, with the news that the wider economic benefits study has calculated that there would be £3 of benefits for every £1 spent on the scheme giving huge additional strength for the case to reopen the line.
The local MP Steve Barclay describes the development here:
“There were many other potential benefits, which through excellent work by officials at Cambridgeshire County Council in Graham Hughes’s team, we have together been able to identify. On the back of this, County Council leader Martin Curtis commissioned a study on the wider economic benefits, which was carried out by Mott MacDonald.
As a consequence the BCR is now 3, which is higher even than that of HS2, which stands at 2.3. This means that every £1 spent is expected to return £3 in benefits, giving the reopening a strong value-for-money case. I would particularly like to pay tribute to Councillor Curtis for his vision in commissioning this game changing report.
The next step in building on this positive report is a meeting today with Cabinet Minister Greg Clark MP to discuss funding for the next, more detailed study to be carried out by Network Rail.
I see the joint report published today as a real game changer. For the first time in four decades we have an independent report which shows the wider economic benefits to Cambridgeshire from reopening the Wisbech line. We must ensure momentum is maintained, and move forward from this report with a detailed cost assessment by Network Rail to be done in July, and today’s report will help us to progress this.”
Steve Barclay’s video describing the progress is here:
“Game-changing Wisbech Rail Line Study published”
The news is reflected in the local press:
“A direct line would take 48 minutes between Wisbech and Cambridge for example compared to the one hour 10 minutes it takes at off peak times by road”
The line closed for passenger services in 1968 but continued to operate for freight until 2000.
Network Rail says a feasibility study, if agreed, cold begin in July and take six months to complete.
If funding becomes available work on restoring the line could begin as early as 2016/17.