Consultation on improvements to Manea and Whittlesey stations

PUBLISHED: 05:07 19 April 2018

Whittlesey Station

Whittlesey Station

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Residents are being asked to have their say on proposed improvements to railway stations in Whittlesey and Manea.

Manea StationManea Station

Fenland District Council (FDC) is launching a public consultation on behalf of the Hereward Community Rail Partnership (HCRP).

It is being held to give people a chance to share their views on various options to lengthen the platforms at both stations and provide a footbridge between the two platforms at Whittlesey.

The improvements would enable the stations to accommodate longer trains with more carriages, boosting passenger numbers at both stations.

The six-week consultation, which begins on Monday April 16, and runs until the end of May, includes five drop-in events where residents can discuss the proposals in detail.

The options for station improvements have been designed and put forward by Network Rail following a feasibility study, which was carried out on behalf of the council and funded by the Government’s Growth Fund.

Both station improvements are being managed by Network Rail through the project management process known as GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects), which has eight stages.

To progress the project and move to the next GRIP stage, the public’s opinion is needed to help identify which option to take for each station.

The five consultation drop-in events will be held on:

• Friday, April 20, 6.30am to 8.30am at Whittlesey Railway Station

• Friday, April 20, 9.30am to 12 noon at Whittlesey Market Place

• Saturday, April 21, 9am to 12 noon at Manea Village Hall

• Saturday, April 28, 10am to 12 noon at Whittlesey Town Council offices

• Wednesday, May 3, 3pm to 7pm at Manea Village Hall

The options being consulted on for each station are:

Manea:

Option 1:

Both platforms extended at the northern end. Option 1 has the advantage of maintaining the existing station layout and only extending one end of the platforms thus requiring less work sites during construction. However there will be potential complications associated with the Platform 2 extensions’ proximity to the disused siding.

Option 2:

Both platforms extended at both ends. Option 2 also has the same advantage of maintaining the existing station layout as Option 1 but will have more work sites as each platform will be extended at both ends.

This option will have less impact on the disused siding than Option 1 as Platform 2 does not extend as far. However the extension of Platform 1 towards the level crossing creates potential complications associated with signals in this area.

Option 3

Platform 1 extended at the northern end and a new Platform 2 provided beyond the level crossing. This option will not maintain the existing station layout and will involve a larger station footprint with staggered platforms.

Currently the level crossing barrier must remain closed when trains are stopped at either platform. This option will enable the level crossing to be opened to road traffic when a train is stopped at the new Platform 2.

This reduces the length of time the barriers will need to be lowered. This option also does not affect the disused siding or the signals in the area between Platform 1 and the level crossing.

However, the proposed new Platform 2 will be located above the existing track drainage which will have to be relocated or a specific platform design may be required to accommodate the existing drainage.

Whittlesey:

Option 1

Platform 1 extended eastward and Platform 2 extended westward. Option 1 has the advantage of not significantly changing the existing configuration the station. However the extension of Platform 1 causes potential complications associated with the function of the disused siding.

Option 2

Platform 1 extended eastward and a new Platform 2 provided opposite. Option 2 changes the existing configuration of the station by bringing Platform 2 closer to Station Road and the level crossing.

This option also has a smaller overall footprint compared to Option 1. This option is expected to cause fewer complications with the function of the disused siding compared to the other options as Platform 1 will not be extended as far in this direction.

However the siting of the proposed footbridge for this option reduces the width of the approach road and access to the industrial units beyond.

To resolve this issue it is thought that significant land take would be required.

Option 3

A new Platform 1 provided opposite Platform 2. Platform 2 extended westward. Option 3 changes the existing configuration of the station by moving Platform 1 further away from the Station Road and the level crossing.

This will create an overall footprint for the station that is smaller than Option 1.

However safe pedestrian access to Platform 1 will be required from Station Road. This option also has the greatest effect on the disused siding of all the options.

What happens next/who is funding the next stage?

Following the consultation, the feedback will be analysed and further assessment work completed, along with detailed design and construction.

The council is awaiting information from the last Combined Authority Board meeting (March 28) to confirm whether it has secured £9 million in funding over the next three/four years to take the projects forward.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “Investing and improving the railway stations at Whittlesey and Manea will help meet the demands of the ever-increasing number of passengers travelling by train.

“This public consultation is a very important part of the project and I hope as many residents as possible have their say to help identify which options are taken forward.”

Residents can also have their say by filling in an online survey at: www.fenland.gov.uk/consultations from April 16.

Paper copies of the survey are also available on request by emailing neighbourhoodstrategy@fenland.gov.uk or by calling 01354 622318.

The deadline for comments is 5pm on Wednesday May 30.

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