Most of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayoral candidates have shown a very good understanding of the transport problems and solutions needed for our County and in particular regarding Wisbech.
However, Railfuture East Anglia and Wisbechrail are puzzled by this local newspaper story that quotes one candidate, Peter Dawes, as saying: “What you’ve been told about the advantages of Wisbech to March rail appears to have been highly exaggerated.”
He said that according to RailFutures (sic) – a pressure group for improved services- March had only 51 commuters who use the rail link to Cambridge.” All this under the heading of “you have been sold a pup.”
This figure is from the census several years ago but bears no relationship to the potential of rail, as even at that time Littleport with a third of March’s population had triple the number of commuters to Cambridge. This difference is down to the rail service as at March there is only one very overcrowded train an hour at travel to work times to Cambridge, whereas Littleport and Kings Lynn have a half hourly electric service, and returning in the evening March’s last service leaves Cambridge at 21:01 whereas Littleport and Kings Lynn have a service beyond midnight.
The proposed half hourly service to Wisbech would rapidly transform rail travel in the area, bringing these kinds of service level and passenger usage to March and Wisbech.
Road based commuting will not achieve the speed, safety and productivity of a rail service to major employment areas such as Cambridge, and rail will also give businesses the confidence to invest in Wisbech.
The work carried out by the County Council’s consultants at a cost of approaching £640k shows that there is a very good business case for the Wisbech to March and Cambridge railway service restoration. The consultation is online. Last year March station had an annual footfall of 386,610 and Kings Lynn, at the end of the line like Wisbech will be, had a footfall of 973,660. This is around 3000 entries and exits a day, so over 1500 individual passengers travelling to and from the station. It can be confidently expected that a railway service to Wisbech will quickly approach this figure.
The restoration of the railway from Wisbech will provide the town and its region with a quality fixed transport link that residents, both existing and future, can plan their lives around with confidence.
We would urge the many thousands of individuals who signed the Wisbechrail petition, follow Wisbechrail website and Wisbechrail Facebook page to read the pledges the candidates make about linking Wisbech to Cambridge by railway very carefully.
If you feel restoration of the passenger train service to Wisbech is your priority, use your vote for the candidate you feel has the integrity and best pledge to be honoured.