We need your help.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) is consulting over the LTCP, so this is a vital chance to make sure the reopening of the railway to Wisbech with through trains to Cambridge is clear in the plan.
Over the years the project has been slowly grinding its way through Network Rail’s eight stage railway investment process; the various public statements and published reports by the CPCA and Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) have all supported the railway with a half hourly service to Wisbech and through services to Cambridge.
However, the consultation and plan makes several references to Wisbech, but uses a mixture of inconsistent aspirations. The consultation itself uses the phrase “An innovative rail or ultra-light rail option to better connect Wisbech to onward journeys”, implying a shuttle service to March using untried technology linked to the poor existing service from March to Cambridge, and the plan uses a whole series of inconsistent suggestions for the link including “Rail or autonomous vehicles”, “rail, ultralight rail, and other high order transit such as tram/Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit are being considered”, ” potential ultra-light rail scheme”.
Please could you therefore make it clear to the CPCA that the LTCP should clearly and unambiguously state that the link to Wisbech should be a rail link with hourly through services to Cambridge.
To do this go to this link:
…click on “Have Your Say”
For Wisbech the important step is to select “3. Local Area Strategies” then select “Fenland” (you will need to fill in some of the other questions before submission – if these are of no interest just select “Not sure”)
At the end of the page there are two questions:
8.b. To what extent do you agree with the proposed transport strategy for Fenland?
8.b. Please write any other comments you may have
We suggest you answer “Disagree” to the first question and in the part where you can type comments state that Wisbech needs a reopened railway with an hourly through rail service to Cambridge to achieve the travel transformation which the town needs.
To help, you can use the following points as inspiration for your reply:
● Only the reopening of railway from Wisbech with an hourly through railway service to Cambridge run as part of the National Rail network will bring the transformational benefits the town needs.
● This was concluded in CPCA and Cambridgeshire County Council reports and public statements.
● However the LTCP suggests this should instead be a shuttle service from Wisbech to March, so with none of the speed, reliability and convenience benefits of a through service dedicated to Wisbech and Fenlands needs. None of the alternative options listed in the LTCP will achieve these benefits.
● The LTCP should clearly and consistently support a through rail service from Wisbech to Cambridge.
Thanks for your help making sure Wisbech gets the railway it deserves.
We have a similar request for people supporting the reopening of the railway to Haverhill here: www.railfuture.org.uk/East-Anglia-Haverhill
Below is some additional information showing why we have come to the conclusion there needs to be a strong response to the LTCP.
Recent statements of support for the through rail service:
At its July 2020 meeting the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board approved the Business Plan outlining the best way to restore passenger train services from Wisbech to March.
“Having examined many options, the FBC concludes that the most commercially viable solution is the heavy rail service – ‘proper railway’ – serving a station placed centrally in Wisbech. It says this would be transformative for the economic potential of Wisbech and that a two trains per hour service between Wisbech and Cambridge would reach the highest benefit-cost ratio…”
The Transport and Infrastructure Committee was asked to accept the conclusions of the Full Business Case – that restoring a heavy rail link between Wisbech and Cambridge would be practicable and offer value for money – and give the final version a thumbs-up.
Members approved the case – and if the Government backs the Combined Authority’s chosen option and helps with funding, the first commuters and passengers could be travelling into Cambridge by 2028.
Cambridgeshire County Council discussed Wisbech at its County Highways and Transport Committee on July 27th 2021 stating “Moreover it is important to note that the County Council is strongly supportive of the CPCA led project of Wisbech Rail reconnection and it is vital that train paths through Ely are provided for this service.”
LTCP references to the Wisbech to March rail link:
“March to Wisbech Rail Link”
“An innovative rail or ultra-light rail option to better connect Wisbech to onward journeys. It will be reliable, regular and be a better choice than the car.”
Fenland section of LTCP linked to from consultation:
Progress to date:
£1.5 million has been approved to fund a study into a potential future rail link between Wisbech and March.
Reopening the link by rail or autonomous vehicles to Wisbech will transform accessibility to and from the town. This will ensure residents and businesses in Wisbech are able to reach Cambridge in approximately 45 minutes through seamless integration with other public transport services allowing access to the opportunities across Greater Cambridge
Construction of a new link to Wisbech will transform accessibility of the town. Options for rail, ultralight rail, and other high order transit such as tram/Light Rail Transit and Bus Rapid Transit are being considered.
Guiding principles section of the LTCP which you see by downloading the whole draft document:
….including the potential for an ultra-light rail link to Wisbech….
…. A potential ultra-light rail scheme to connect Wisbech and its surrounding hinterlands would improve public transport connectivity and allow the area to truly meet its potential through the provision of greater accessibility….
….we will investigate the potential reopening of the rail line between March and Wisbech with onward connections to Cambridge…