Wisbech Rail Study Goes Into New Phase
Stage two of an investigation into the possibility of opening up the rail link between Wisbech and March is set to go ahead as part of Wisbech 2020 Vision.
It follows a preliminary report which showed that a shuttle service between the two towns may be viable but needed more work on costs.
The new study will look in detail at the capital costs, including those related to bringing the line back up to operational standard, and station works in Wisbech and March.
The initial report looked at the possibility of heavy rail or direct services to Cambridge or Peterborough but found the business case did not support this. A light rail option could link into other direct services that stop at March but more detailed work needs to be carried out to see if the full business case would stack up.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: “We are looking at all options as how to improve transport between March and Wisbech. Local councillors have been campaigning for this for sometime and it formed part of ‘Once in a generation – A rail prospectus for East Anglia’ that was presented to ministers last year. The preliminary report suggested there may be a case for a light or heavy rail shuttle service but this did not include the full costs, such as rail and station construction and improvements.
The second study, being carried out as part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision will look in more detail at the costs and what would be needed, including how the re-opened line would cross the A47.”
Cllr Steve Tierney said: “If there is a way that a rail link to Wisbech can be commercially viable then that will be great news for our town. It would be a real jewel in the Wisbech2020 project’s crown if it could lead to the return of a rail connection in Wisbech.”
Cllr Simon King added: “As Chairman of the Wisbech to March Bramley Line I really welcome this report. This, and the discussions about dualing the A47, demonstrate that the Council takes seriously the infrastructure problems in the north of the County.”
Cllr Sam Hoy said: “This is exciting news. We all hope that a case can be made for a viable railway so that we can reconnect our town.”
Improving transport links to Wisbech will help encourage the local economy and help residents get to essential services.
Improving transport is an important part of the Wisbech 2020 Vision, which was launched earlier this year by the town’s community.
This 2020 Vision represents a single plan that everybody involved in Wisbech can get behind. It is the culmination on months of engagement and research by local residents, businesses, schools, colleges, councillors and others. It was kicked off when Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council and the local MP agreed that better collaboration was needed to support Wisbech to prosper.