The Wisbech Standard newspaper reports more positive news in progressing the linking of Wisbech to to the national network at March.
It is especially pleasing to note that the planning for the number of trains that have to be timetabled through the critical junction at Ely called North Junction, where the lines from March, Lynn and Norwich all meet to continue onto Cambridge or Ipswich, now include two each hour from and to Wisbech.
Not only is the junction going to be remodelled to offer more capacity, the whole of the line from Peterborough and March to Ely will have the latest and most up to date signaling installed.
Additionally, we have in the past supported the notion that a railway service from Wisbech as far as March should be put into place before the work at Ely is completed in 2028. It seems that is going to happen. So soon we should see the railway right of way being cleared between Wisbech and March, the tracks relaid and a new station at Wisbech being built. As the Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority says, the people of Wisbech have waited long enough…and we say just get on with it!Well done to all at the CPCA and Network Rail.
The Editor of the Wisbech Standard, John Elworthy reports:
Joined up thinking boosts Wisbech and Ely rail projects
Network Rail has agreed to link improvements to Ely North with the growing demand to re-open the Wisbech to March line.
Mayor James Palmer says a new partnership with Network Rail can push Wisbech rail plans forward in tandem with work to free up the Ely rail bottleneck.
“This breakthrough partnership with Network Rail puts us inside the team,” he said.
“Everything can be aligned and streamlined, with no waste of resources, no doubling up, and no unnecessary delays.”
He said it would enable both projects to forge ahead and start “working for people who’ve quite frankly waited long enough”.
Paul Raynes, director of delivery and strategy at the combined authority, has put forward proposals to the transport and infrastructure committee to allocate £300,000 for a next stage of the Wisbech line programme.
It would “align Wisbech Rail with the delivery sequence of the Ely Area Capacity Enhancements”.
Network Rail has been discussing – off and on – for years improvements at Ely and secured funding of £22.4m from the combined authority and Department of Transport to develop a scheme.
There will another round of consultations in 2022 as the proposals to increase capacity through Ely progress to design options.
Network Rail says: “The Ely North junction scheme was a proposal to improve the track layout of the main rail junction to the north of Ely station, however, this work was put on hold following the Hendy review in 2016.
“This has given us the opportunity to review the wider capacity constraints around Ely which also need to be considered in order to meet the aspirations to run more rail services.”
Mayor Palmer has met Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport, on two occasions to highlight the importance of both Wisbech Rail and Ely Area Capacity Enhancements.
He said the minister subsequently confirmed that the Wisbech Rail project would be considered for funding alongside the business case for Ely.
An initial service between Wisbech and March could be started with direct services to Cambridge following improvements in network capacity at Ely North Junction.
“Connecting Wisbech and unblocking Ely will get the whole of Cambridgeshire moving,” said the mayor.“