Mayor James Palmer challenges Network Rail chief over Whittlesey station stops and new Soham station build

PUBLISHED: 13:29 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 07 August 2017

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, Whittlesey Town Councillor, Alan Bristow and chairman of Fenland District Council, Kay Mayor at Whittlesey Rail Station.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, Whittlesey Town Councillor, Alan Bristow and chairman of Fenland District Council, Kay Mayor at Whittlesey Rail Station.

Archant

The mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has told the chairman of Network Rail that more trains should stop in Whittlesey – and says he is disappointed that the new Soham station will not be opened earlier.

Soham Town Council's Rosemary Aitchison, James Palmer, council leader Peter Moakes, MEP Geoffrey Van Orden and former Ely councillor Tom Hunt at tracks near Soham in 2013.Soham Town Council's Rosemary Aitchison, James Palmer, council leader Peter Moakes, MEP Geoffrey Van Orden and former Ely councillor Tom Hunt at tracks near Soham in 2013.

Mayor James Palmer met with rail chief Sir Peter Hardy this week to discuss improvement to the service to Whittlesey, which currently sees just one train stop there every two hours, and the new East Cambridgeshire station, which is scheduled to open in 2021.

He said: “I was pleased to be able to use the meeting to press the case for more trains to stop at Whittlesey station.

“During my campaign to become mayor I visited Whittlesey station and discussed the issue with local town councillors.

“I was pleased that Sir Peter could see the clear logic in more trains stopping at Whittlesey station and I will be looking to follow this issue up at a future meeting with him and the Secretary of State for Transport.

“It makes absolutely no sense at all that only one train every two hours stops at Whittlesey station.”

Mayor Palmer also aired his disappointment that the new station in Soham, pushed through by NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay, could not be opened sooner.

“As someone who has been campaigning for a new station for Soham for years, I’m disappointed that it will not be opening sooner,” he said.

“However, I’m pleased that proposals are gathering momentum and there will be a day in the not too distant future that the people of Soham can catch a train to wherever they want to go.

“Transport Portfolio Holder at the Combined Authority and East Cambs leader, Charles Roberts, has requested project plans relating to the scheduling of the new station and we plan to work together closely to ensure that there are no further delays and that a new station for Soham is delivered within the timescales currently set.”

Mayor Palmer and Sir Peter are set to meet with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Gayling, to discuss the issues further.

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