Bramley Line closure is damaging aspirations of Fen young people, says council

THE Wisbech to March railway should be reopened to prevent the aspirations of young people in Fenland from being damaged, Wisbech Town Council has warned.

In a report on the viability of using the disused Bramley Line for passengers for the first time since 1968 the council also said the Fen population will grow increasingly isolated if the line remained closed.

The study is the latest in a long line of research done to assess whether it would be worth the investment to open the train line.

The council report said though there may be reduction in road congestion in the area if the line were opened, the main benefits would be social and economical from improved links between Fenland and Cambridge.

It said the consequences of the rail link remaining closed would be a “continued lowering of aspirations amongst young people”.

“Wisbech has suffered significantly since it became disconnected from the rest of the county, region and country by the removal of the rail link... which played such an important role in maintaining Wisbech’s position as the Capital of the Fens,” the report said.

“Wisbech and surrounding area is relatively impoverished. The perception is that the town has visibly stagnated both socially and economically since the railway closed in 1968.

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“It is predicted that the population of the area could fall over the next 10 years unless action is taken.”

With an expected journey time of 40 minutes to “the high value job market of Cambridge”, the report said the railway could reduce the region’s unemployment levels.

Old track would need to be replaced at various points on the line, repairs would need to be carried out to the Twenty-foot River bridge and a crossing of the A47 would have to be built were the line to be opened.

It is assumed by the council, the Cambridge Science Park station, the city’s second station, would have to be finished - expected in 2015 - before the Bramley Line could be reopened.

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