All aboard!

PUBLISHED: 16:25 04 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:02 28 May 2010

FENLAND businesses are being urged to come on board and give cash to get the area s first heritage railway on track. Enthusiasts behind the Wisbech and March Bramley Line are facing unexpected legal bills of up to £20,000. They want businesses to show con

FENLAND businesses are being urged to come on board and give cash to get the area's first heritage railway on track.

Enthusiasts behind the Wisbech and March Bramley Line are facing unexpected legal bills of up to £20,000.

They want businesses to show confidence in the project which they say will bring tourists and trade to the Fens.

The Bramley Line Group is stunned by the possibility of the huge bill for negotiating the lease agreement with Network Rail for the rail link between Wisbech and March. Chairman Peter

Downs says while money is available to cover costs once the line is operational, the group will struggle to pay a legal bill of that magnitude. He said the group was told initially the legal costs would be about £5,000.

He said: "We did tell them we haven't got that kind of money to hand and we would have to look for corporate sponsorship. What we have is usually small donations from individuals.

"All our time is donated and there will be no wage bill. We believe we can cover all the costs once we are operational."

Mr Downs thinks local businesses are reluctant to give money because they remember previous failed attempts to get the project up and running.

"I believe a lot of people are still fence-sitting," he said. "Perhaps they have been stung before for money.

Network Rail has asked us what the time frame will be for getting it up and running but obviously that depends on finance and whether we can get corporate sponsorship."

Mr Downs said businesses should not be put off by what has happened in the past. He said: "We are going to get there this time. It will be third time lucky. We firmly believe we can make it happen but we need businesses to come on board and support us."

- If you think you can help, contact The Bramley Line at PO Box 132 Wisbech PE13 2WZ or telephone 01945 467740 during office hours.

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