Whittlesey and Manea rail improvements to cost more than £800,000 to boost passenger numbers and accommodate longer trains

Whittlesey station

Whittlesey station - Credit: Archant

A £360,000 two year study into extending platforms at Manea and Whittlesey stations opted for an £840,000 improvements package to attract more passengers and allow longer trains to stop there.

Manea Station

Manea Station - Credit: Archant

It is proposed a new 100m platform in place of a disused siding at Whittlesey could lead to the extension of the site and more parking, with design and construction costing just under £700,000.

It would also see a reduction in barrier down time on the level crossing by disconnecting the station from it.

In Manea, platform 1 would be extended to the north by 34m to handle three-car trains, costing around £143,000

An 80-page feasibility study, which was paid for by a £359,000 grant to Fenland District Council last year, has revealed the best options for the lengthening of each platform and the provision of a footbridge at Whittlesey.

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

The study states: “In Manea the option 1.1. offers the best compromise of cost and benefit. It requires no track works or derogation to account for the end throw of the cars using the adjacent sidings.

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“It is considered that option 3 at Whittlesey offers the most scope for future development of the station.

“Access and space to the rear of the platform would make this option straightforward to construct.”

Last July, NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay criticised the cost of the report claiming it was “the equivalent of paying a £30,000 a year rail consultant for almost 12 years to write reports on Fenland stations.”

The £359,000 was channelled through the Hereward Community Rail Partnership, a body set up by the council in 2012 to involve local people in their railways.

Local residents and rail users were invited to review options and provide their comments during a consultation which took in April and May this year.

The study now recommends that Fenland District Council commission a full GRIP 3 study to confirm the development and outline of designs, identify any risks and create “overall station master plans for each extension.”

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