Rail lease dilemma

PUBLISHED: 16:00 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010

COST of leasing the line for Fenland s first heritage railway could finally shatter the dreams of enthusiasts. Network Rail wants £10,000 a year for the lease of the disused line between March and Wisbech. Unless that figure can be substantially cut by ne

COST of leasing the line for Fenland's first heritage railway could finally shatter the dreams of enthusiasts.

Network Rail wants £10,000 a year for the lease of the disused line between March and Wisbech. Unless that figure can be substantially cut by negotiation, plans for the Bramley Line look set to crumble.

Chairman of the support group Brian Bayliss said: "If we do go down, we will go down fighting. There is no way we can afford £10,000 a year - it is going to be a real killer. Raising that kind of money is totally out of the question.

"On top of that we would have the cost of diesel, running costs and maintenance. If we have to call it a day it would break my heart."

The group has also announced its decision to sell its coaches stored at March because of repeated attacks by vandals.

Mr Bayliss said: "We are now going to sell the coaches off. I would like on behalf of the Bramley Line to say that we are very grateful to the signal box personnel at March and the passing train drivers who have remained as vigilant as possible in looking out for vandals.

"We do have some other groups already showing serious interest in the coaches but can't disclose exactly who until the sale has been agreed with them."

Supporters who paid to have the coaches named can have full refunds or the names place on new rolling stock or on the present ones once they have been sold as a condition of sale.

Mr Bayliss said: "These people will be contacted as soon as possible with regard to their decisions and their wishes will be adhered to."

Since it began in 2004 the project has failed to attract the hoped-for financial support from Fenland businesses.

Mr Bayliss said: "I think a lot of people think it is a white elephant and I can understand that, but we will not give up easily.

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