Combined Authority gives progress update on Wisbech rail and predicts minimum two trains per hour to Cambridge
- Credit: Archant
Members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Overview & Scrutiny Committee have heard a progress update on the Wisbech Railway Station project.
At their online meeting on September 28, Paul Raynes, director of delivery and strategy, said: “Wisbech, which lost its passenger rail network as part of the Beeching cuts, is widely recognised as the one of the largest towns within England without a rail link to the main rail network.
“This negatively impacts the potential economic and housing growth of the town, and improving connectivity to Cambridge and possibly through to Peterborough, offers the opportunity to transform Wisbech as a place for inward investment and provide much enhanced accessibility to key services and employment opportunities for its residents.
“The most commercially viable solution is a heavy rail service serving a station centrally located within Wisbech. A two trains per hour service should run between Wisbech and Cambridge to reach the highest Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR).
“The board agreed to continued engagement with the Department for Transport, and other central government departments to explore the future funding of this project through the Restoring Railways Fund.
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“In June Metro Mayor, James Palmer, met with Chris Heaton-Harris, minister of state for transport, to highlight the importance of both Wisbech rail and Ely area capacity enhancements for the county.
“The mayor and minister are expected to meet again following engagement between the Combined Authority and the Department for Transport (DfT).
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“These meetings have highlighted further the challenges around the capacity at the Ely north junction. Wisbech rail is interdependent upon the Ely area capacity enhancements to achieve the two trains per hour, direct services to Cambridge.
“However, officers continue to liaise with DfT, ORR and Network Rail to progress the scheme. In the meantime, the government launched the comprehensive spending review 2020, and the Combined Authority has made representation to them including a case for funding Wisbech Rail infrastructure costs.”
More updates are expected following a meeting of the Combined Authority Board on September 30.