Mayor opens redeveloped March railway station
Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson has officially opened the newly developed March Railway Station and its upgraded bike and car park at a ceremony in the refurbished Platform 1 Building.
Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Colonel Mark Knight MBE, Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s transport lead and Chairman of the Fenland Stations Regeneration Project Board, joined Greater Anglia executives, community representatives and MP Steve Barclay to witness the Mayor unveiling a plaque marking the major upgrade, which was funded by the Combined Authority.
Over the last two years, Greater Anglia has revamped the entire station to create an open-plan ticket hall and waiting area, with accessible modern toilet facilities and retail outlets, and an upgraded car park with substantial provision for cycles.
The redevelopment was delivered through Fenland District Council’s Railway Station Regeneration project, with £9.5million funding from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, chaired by Mayor Dr Nik Johnson.
The regeneration initiative is bringing improvements to passenger facilities at the three Fenland stations – Manea, March and Whittlesea – along the Ely to Peterborough line. Improved facilities and connections between the Fenland towns and other regional centres of education and employment aim to create better access to opportunity and a real alternative to the car for more sustainable journeys.
Greater Anglia also worked with the Bee Friendly Trust and station adoption volunteers to install hundreds of bee friendly flowers, shrubs and trees to create green areas in the new cycle and car park.
The station hit the headlines during the renovation when contractors carrying out the improvements found a Victorian ledger and other relics from the 130-year-old station’s past in the heyday of steam.
The ledger, dated April 1885, contained hand-written entries of all the passenger luggage and parcels sent from the station, providing a unique record of daily life in the area in Victorian times.
They also found a series of British Rail Red Star consignment notes, a record card dating from 1989, a Victorian Great Eastern Railway sack and documents over 100 years old detailing goods trains passing through the station.
Unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening, Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said:
“March has a rich railway history, steeped in the glory days of coal and steam. It’s an honour to open this new chapter, where this station will be part of a greener revolution, helping people to use petrol and diesel cars less and trains, buses and bikes more.”
“The Combined Authority has invested heavily in regenerating not just March station and the streets and public spaces of March itself, but also other railway stations in Fenland and across Cambridgeshire. It has this week launched a public consultation on transport plans for the whole county, to guide the delivery of a joined-up and people-centred transport network that is truly fit for purpose and fit for the public.”
Greater Anglia’s Asset Management Director, Simone Bailey, said, “This has been a huge project which has involved taking the entire station right back to its bare structures and remodelling the layout to create a much-improved building fit for the needs of passengers in the 21st century.
“I would like to thank customers for their patience while this extensive renovation was carried out and also thank our team and our project partners for their help in transforming the station as we work together to encourage more sustainable journeys in the region.”