Fenland Citizen – 16th July 2013 – “Wisbech rail petition presented”
Mr Wakefield said the first study has already shown that the line can be operated profitably. Further work being done this summer will determine the costs of re-opening the line.
“It is important that the County Council drive this valuable scheme through as a priority and ensure it is included as a requirement in the next Greater Anglia rail franchise when it is re-let by the government in October 2016,” he said, adding the campaign has also received the support of Wisbech Mayor, Samantha Hoy and Wisbech Town Council.
He said this is a “positive petition which has received overwhelmingly positive support that can benefit many people” and he urged councillors to support it.
Ely Standard – 16th July 2013 – “Petition presented to councillors calling for re-opening of Wisbech to March rail link”
“A PETITION with more than 3,700 signatures calling for the re-opening of the Wisbech to March railway link was delivered to councillors today.”
“Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, who received the petition, said: “The council supports the goal of better transport links to and from Wisbech and has already commissioned work to understand the feasibility of different options to achieve that goal.
“We are now carrying out detailed works into the proposals so that we can understand the scale of costs involved and how that may be addressed.”
He said: “The council welcomes the petition which shows the support for better transport links which may in turn help to show transport operators the scale of local demand for services.”
Local Secrets – 8th July 2013 – “Railway Revival: Can a new station help rejuvenate Wisbech?”
“If you have been to Wisbech you will know that it is a beautiful old market town, with miles of fruit trees and meadows, surrounded by idyllic English villages and home to officially the most stunning row of Georgian facades in the whole of the country.
Wisbech was one of the many towns to suffer the loss of its railway system in the late 1960s, thanks to Mr Beeching. Since then, the sense of isolation has grown, leaving the town to retreat further into itself than its marshy fortresses had previously allowed.
With a population of 31,000, Wisbech is one of the largest towns in Britain without a rail link.
If you want to help Rail Future bring Wisbech back into the 21st century then click here to sign the petition.”
BBC Cambridgshire News – 29th June 2013 – “Wisbech railway petition reaches milestone”
People petitioning for a rural town to be reconnected to the railway network said they have received more than 3,500 signatures to support their cause.
Christopher Burton said: “Wisbech is one of the few towns of its size to not have a train station. “There is a lot of unemployment and most of the jobs in the area are in Cambridge. It’s important that the link to Cambridge, and indeed on to London, can be fully restored.” Campaigners said they believed a direct train service to Cambridge would take approximately 40 minutes – much faster than a car journey or existing bus service.
Steve Barclay MP – 29th April 2013 “Meeting CCC to launch second phase of plans for Wisbech Rail service”
“The building of a new station at Cambridge Science Park, coupled with the massive increase nationally in rail usage in recent years, as well as significant population growth in Fenland, all mean the business case for reopening the line to Wisbech has improved significantly from when this issue was last looked at. Opening up the rail line and developing commuter travel and freight usage would bring great economic benefits to our area.”
“The local community has done a great job coming together behind these plans and I believe the second phase of planning by Atkins will give us the positive data we now need to make the case to Ministers”
Cambs Times – 25th April 2013 “MP Steve Barclay launches second phase of plans for March to Wisbech railway line”
“It is welcome news that the detailed assessment into the Wisbech to March Rail Line is now moving into the second phase, to provide a detailed estimate of the capital costs for reopening the line.”
Fenland Citizen 25th April 2013 “MP involved in next phase at Wisbech rail link plans”
“Fenland MP Steve Barclay met representatives from Cambs County Council and train consultancy Atkins in Parliament this week to discuss the next phase of plans to re-open the railway line from Wisbech to March.
Mr Barclay held a meeting in the House of Commons with Jeremy Smith, Transport and Infrastructure Manager for Cambridgeshire County Council and Adil Chaudhery, a senior consultant working on a study of plans to re-instate the rail line and open a new station in Wisbech.
The second phase of the study into regenerating the line is due to start in a matter of weeks and consultancy firm Atkins plan to report their findings into the cost implications of the project by the summer.”
ITV Anglia 26th March 2013 “Beeching’s legacy: Towns suffered after losing stations”
http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2013-03-26/beechings-legacy-towns-suffered-after-losing-stations/ (Wisbech from 01:35)
“For a geographically isolated town like Wisbech, losing its station at a time when far fewer people had private transport did little to attract private investment into the area”. John Elworthy edits the local paper “There it is. It’s a viable proposition. All we need now is that goodwill, that commitment, to drive this forward and we will be driving some engines forward on this line”.
BBC News 25th March 2013 “The Beeching report: How railway cuts divided Yorkshire”
“As newly-elected Mayor of Ripon and a member of Ripon Chamber of Trade, he passionately believes the station’s closure was a massive mistake. “It was nonsensical and we can still feel its effects 50 years on. It never really made much sense and I can understand that the anger is still there about Ripon losing its link,” said Mr Stanley.
“Getting rid of the railways was one of the acts of vandalism of the 1960s. If we still had a station, we would be getting more people in to Ripon, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that at all.”
It is a different story just 30 miles away in Ilkley, West Yorkshire – a town famous for its moors and its spa waters which were enthusiastically consumed by sickly Victorians.
Although Ilkley station was earmarked for closure by Dr Beeching, in 2013 it remains a thriving rail terminus – though, in a nod to the 21st century, much of the old station building is now taken up by shops and a pizza restaurant.”
Annual station footfall Ripon 0, Ilkley 1.3 million
Eastern Daily Press 1st March 2013 “An hourly 60mph rail shuttle between Wisbech and March with connections to Cambridge and Peterborough has moved a step closer”
“A new report says it might cost up to £12m to re-open the old Bramley Line. But it predicts the line would be profitable, with an “operating surplus” of up to £15.5m between 2014 and 2029.”
Wisbech Standard 1st March 2013 “New county council study offers fresh hope of re-opening Wisbech to March rail line- and it could make a profit too”
“AN hourly 60mph rail shuttle between Wisbech and March with connections to Cambridge and Peterborough has moved nearer to the drawing board. It might cost up to £12million to re-open the line but a fresh study predicts an “operating surplus” of up to £15.5million between 2014 and 2029. “It would appear that there is a commercial operating case for re-opening the line using light rail,” says the report.”
Wisbech Standard 21st February 2012 “On the right track: Hundreds back campaign to reconnect Wisbech to the rail network”
Peter Wakefield, chairman of Railfuture’s East Anglia branch, said: “The recent Wisbech 2020 Vision document produced by councillors shows there is growing awareness of the benefits of the new rail route. I am calling on all residents to get behind the campaign to help make it happen.”
Fenland Citizen 21st February 2013 “Rail petition gains support”
“An online petition, calling for support to re-open the Wisbech railway link, has resulted in almost 300 signatures within a week.”
Fenland Citizen 12th February 2013 “Wisbech rail petition launch”
“A national rail campaign organisation has launched a petition asking residents to back the move to reopen the Wisbech railway link.
The organisation wants to see a direct train service from the Fenland town to Cambridge, a journey that could take just 40 minutes, providing Wisbech with better transport links and assisting development.
Railfuture East Anglia branch chairman Peter Wakefield launched the new website and petition said: “The recent Wisbech 2020 Vision document produced by councillors shows there is growing awareness of the benefits of the new rail route. I am calling on all residents to get behind the campaign to help make it happen.” “
Heart 12th February 2013 “Wisbech: Calls For Railway Station”
“A rail users group says reopening Wisbech train station would help regenerate the town.
The town’s train station was shut down in 1968, however much of the surrounding track remains in place and is simply overgrown.
The group proposes direct train services from Wisbech, calling at March, Ely and Cambridge.
Wisbech is currently the focus of a regeneration campaign led by North East Cambridgeshire MP Stephen Barclay, Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council.
This campaign, called ‘Wisbech 20:20’, is ‘aimed at bringing about the wholesale regeneration of Wisbech and its surrounding area’.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman, said: “The Wisbech 2020 Vision includes exploring the viability of re-opening Wisbech station or other ways of improving the connectivity with the rail network by other means.”
Guardian 4 February 2013 “Not just for urbanistas: regeneration is alive and kicking in rural towns”
“Given the constraints on public funding for critical infrastructure, Wisbech has been building the business case for investment. Key road improvements and better rail connectivity for the town would require significant levels of capital funding, which the 2020 Vision hopes to leverage based on economic and feasibility studies coupled with effective lobbying.”
Fenland Citizen 29th January 2013 “Wisbech: A great place by 2020”
“But he warned ambitious projects like the dualling of the A47 or a new rail link were long term aspirations, that the county council together with Fenland council would continue to fight for, but pointed out they were not going to happen overnight.”