On Friday 6th March a report to the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Transport Committee will outline the next steps for transforming the Wisbech Rail project which seeks to offer a direct passenger transport service between Wisbech and Cambridge by re opening the line to March for the first time since the service was axed under the Beeching railway closures of 1968.
The key aims for the project are to improve access to employment and education for local residents, as well as improving the connectivity to major centres such as Cambridge, Peterborough, London, and Stansted Airport. Cambridge is one of the fastest growing and most highly skilled economies in the UK whilst Wisbech and the wider north Cambridgeshire area experiences high levels of socio-economic deprivation.
The project also has import implications for the environment and hitting net carbon zero targets by 2050 by providing an alternative mode of transport to car travels.
James Palmer, the Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority said:
"The re-opening of the March to Wisbech Transport Corridor is critical for supporting the future growth in Wisbech. We want to transform Wisbech as a place for great rail connectivity, affordable housing and good employment and education. I am committed to re-opening direct services for Wisbech to Cambridge so we can attract investment and better job opportunities for Wisbech residents. Fenland communities have been cut off for too long. Wisbech remains one of the largest towns in the UK without a rail connections and I am determined to put that right. These proposals show how Wisbech can have the railway they have long campaigned for."
The Wisbech Rail project is a prime candidate for accelerating existing proposals with funding from the Restoring Railways Fund. The Combined Authority's application is sponsored by Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP.
The Right Hon Steve Barclay MP said:
"I've been campaigning to re-open Wisbech Rail for a number of years. Having good transport links is key to improving infrastructure in our area and the re-opening of Wisbech Rail would be a game changer for constituents living in the town and throughout Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.
"The re-opening of the Wisbech Rail line will help boost connectivity in our area and provides a more environmentally-friendly option compared to car travel.
"These proposals are a positive step forward and I will continue to work alongside colleagues in government to ensure we get this scheme back up and running."