Junction work will bring Wisbech line closer

Steve Barclay with the letter
Steve Barclay with the letter
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A multi-million pound upgrade of a key junction would strengthen the case for a new rail line linking Wisbech to Cambridge, according to the town’s MP.

Steve Barclay has signed a joint letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, urging him to treat improvements to the Ely north junction as a priority.

The project is part of a rail building programme that is currently subject to a review announced by Mr McLoughlin in July.

But politicians and business leaders from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk have joined forces to urge him to give the right signal on this project, amid fears it may be delayed.

Mr Barclay joined fellow MPs Henry Bellingham, Lucy Frazer and Elizabeth Truss in signing the letter, which was released on Friday.

Other signatories include Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count, his counterparts from the East Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk district authorities, James Palmer and Nick Daubney, and Mark Reeve, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough local enterprise partnership.

Mr Barclay said: “This upgrade must happen as soon as possible and the significant economic benefits will be a much welcome boost to the growth of our region.

“Improved rail services have been a key priority of mine and the twice hourly service between King’s Lynn and London will benefit my constituents, particularly those in the Littleport area.

“The upgrade will also enable more freight to travel by rail and act as a further step forward in the delivery of the Wisbech to Cambridge Science Park rail service.”

Supporters argue the new line is critical to the development of up to 10,000 new homes around Wisbech.

They believe it could also generate around £220 million of economic benefits, at least six times the estimated cost of the work, across the region and up to 60 per cent growth in passenger numbers on the line from King’s Lynn.

The junction already accommodates existing services which serve the March station, including Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport, Ipswich to Peterborough and Norwich to Liverpool, via Peterborough.