Plans to make Peterborough to Ely rail service a community rail service, giving passengers a greater say

Ely Station

Ely Station - Credit: Archant

Passengers are set to have more say over rail services in North Cambridgeshire.

Under plans announced by Rail Minister Claire Perry, the government intends to designate the 29-mile route between Peterborough and Ely - known as the Hereward line - as a community rail service.

This would allow the community to design train services according to its needs, which will help increase passenger numbers, improve the service and boost the economy.

An eight week public consultation on the plans runs until midnight on Friday September 25.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “We know how important this line is to local communities in the rural Fenland area, and it’s right that passengers have a bigger say in shaping its future.

“By designating the Hereward line as a community rail service, we can breathe new life into this route, ensure its long term future, and improve connections that will help grow the local economy.”

If the plans go ahead, the train companies will continue to operate the service – which also calls at Whittlesey, March and Manea – with the support of the Hereward Community Rail Partnership. Infrastructure such as track and signalling would remain under the authority of Network Rail.

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Community Rail Partnerships are made up of local councils, community groups and other volunteers, to decide how lines should be run.

Nineteen rail lines around the country have been designated as community lines since 2005, along with a further twenty as community rail services since 2005.

These include the Wherry Lines services between Norwich, Yarmouth and Lowestoft, which were designated in February 2007, and the East Suffolk Lines between Ipswich, Felixstowe and Lowestoft, designated as community rail services in February 2015.