Boost for bid to re-open March to Wisbech rail line - listed as ‘specific project’ in East Anglia Franchise Agreement

Steve Barclay MP. Picture: Steve Williams.

Steve Barclay MP. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The proposed March to Wisbech rail link has received a major boost after being included as part of the upcoming new rail franchise for East Anglia.

It has been listed as a “specified project” in the East Anglia Rail Franchise, which is the document the three shortlisted rail operators are using to bid to provide services in this area.

The three companies: Abellio East Anglia Limited (a joint venture between Abellio and Stagecoach); First East Anglia Ltd and National Express East Anglia Trains Ltd, will have to include the costs of running a service between March and Wisbech as part of their bids.

The companies will have until December 17 to provide their bids to the department. These will then be evaluated the contract will be awarded to the preferred bidder in June 2016, with the new nine year East Anglia franchise expected to start in October 2016.

The other projects listed are the construction of Tottenham Hale station, the construction of Cambridge North (Chesterton) station, the construction of Lea Bridge station and the construction of Meridian Water (Angel) Road station.

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North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay said: This is really good news. It is something I have been working hard on behind the scenes with Ministers over the summer to ensure that Wisbech is included by name in the Invitation to Tender (ITT), which is the document which the three short listed bidders will now have to respond to.

“We met with the bidders in the summer and we will look to have further meetings with them now this document has been issued.

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“We secured a commitment from the Rail Minister last Wednesday at the dinner organised with Anglia Water at the House of Commons to include Wisbech within the ITT, and this document is the written confirmation of that commitment.

“As ever, there remains much to do but it is another significant step forward, not least as this is the key document for the long term rail franchise for our region.”

Mr Barclay is also campaigning for earlier and later trains for Fenland - the last train from Cambridge to March leaves at about 9pm.

He said: “In parallel I am also lobbying hard on the issue of an early and late night service from the Fenland stations, especially March and Whittlesey, to Cambridge and Stansted so people can have a night out in Cambridge or catch a plan from Stansted.”

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