Hopes for improving Wisbech connectivity came to the fore when members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee heard from Network Rail that there was a ‘strong strategic case’ for Wisbech rail but that the ‘art of the possible’ would be key.
The Combined Authority has engaged Network Rail to undertake a report to consider all on-rail options and the Committee was being updated on progress.
Network Rail is considering opportunities for a shuttle passenger service between March and Wisbech to improve connectivity, commuting opportunities, and to support regeneration in the Fens area.
The Committee heard from Network Rail’s Robert Russell that four baseline options are being considered that can be developed following agreement on further funding.
• conventional rail
• light rail
• very light rail
These options are being considered with awareness that many Wisbech people hope for uninterrupted connectivity to the wider mainline rail network and integration with local infrastructure.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson: “I’m determined to see Wisbech get the transport connections a historic market town of this importance needs and deserves. We’re demonstrating our absolute commitment to the Fens, regenerating railway stations, building the capacity, connectivity, and resilience of market towns, and reversing decades of underinvestment.
“It’s right that Network Rail looks at all the options available – Wisbech needs whatever works best, a modern solution that can equip it for the future and serve residents and visitors with the links they can rely on.”
Network Rail’s Engineering Services team is working with Network Rail’s Light Rail Team to identify the infrastructure improvements required. The team will then deliver the Strategic Option Appraisal Report which will include cost and economic analysis of the modal options.
The final report will encompass a balanced appraisal of all rail options based on identified stakeholder aspirations, cost planning and economic considerations together with benefits and differences identified for each option. This will provide the Combined Authority the information it requires to determine which option to pursue for further business case work.
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