Solar power lights up Whittlesey rail station as part of £15,000 project

Welcoming the new solar powered lights at Whittlesea Station are, back row from left, Cllr Alan Bris

Welcoming the new solar powered lights at Whittlesea Station are, back row from left, Cllr Alan Bristow, from Whittlesey Town Council; Alan Neville, customer engagement manager for Greater Anglia; Fenland District Council leader, Cllr Chris Seaton; Mayor of the Combined Authority, James Palmer; Harry Brownsell, M&E contracts manager for lighting contractor Hollywell Building Services; and Cllr David Oliver, FDC’s portfolio holder for transport. At the front is Wendy Otter, FDC’s transport development manager and Hereward CRP officer. - Credit: Archant

A Fenland rail station has improved its carbon footprint and boosted passenger safety after having new solar-powered lights installed.

Passengers at Whittlesey Station are benefitting from new LED ‘cat eyes’ powered entirely by the sun.

A footpath between the station entrance on Station Road and Platform 2 used to be dark and unlit at night, but now 70 solar-powered road studs have created an illuminated walkway, providing a clear and defined guide of the path ahead.

The £15,500 project has been funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and is part of the Whittlesey Station improvement works being driven by Fenland District Council on behalf of the Hereward Community Rail Partnership.

The lighting upgrade is also the first in a range of short, medium and long term regeneration projects designed to improve Manea, March and Whittlesey stations, to which the Combined Authority has invested £9 million.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “This lighting scheme was one of the top requests from passengers using the station, so it’s great news that it has now been implemented, and good timing with the shorter days now upon us.

“The LED lights are far more cost effective and environmentally friendly than the option of street lighting whilst increasing the feeling of safety amongst passengers using the footpath.”

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Mayor of the Combined Authority, James Palmer, said: “This much-needed improvement to Whittlesey station is just one of a pipeline of upgrades for stations in Fenland, including March and Manea, as part of a £9 million package of funding from the Combined Authority. This funding will help redress years of underinvestment in our Fenland stations.

He added that the overall aim is to “regenerate” the three stations to increase passenger use and make them more accessible to local residents, businesses and tourists.

“Further developments like extending the platforms at Whittlesey and Manea, installing ticket machines, improved car and cycle parking, and waiting shelters will all follow as part of the package of improvements,” he said.

North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay added: “I am delighted that these much needed improvements are being implemented at Whittlesey Station which will make the footpath safer for passengers using the service.”

A new ticket machine and information point has also been installed at Whittlesey Station by Greater Anglia which will become operational in the coming weeks.