Momentum growing for the Wisbech rail link

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Hopes of re-opening Wisbech’s rail link are gaining momentum.

A campaign was launched last year to lobby the Government for the £50- £70 million needed to re-open the Wisbech to March line.

This link could boost the local economy by £13 million and there are hopes it could be open by 2020.

The coalition of private firms and local authorities, including Anglian Water and MP Steve Barclay, heard last week that the business case for the link is stacking up.

The business case has revealed that for every £1 invested in re-opening the line, it would generate £4 of income.

Now the project has moved onto the next stage, the detailed Grip 3 study, which will include possible locations of the Wisbech station.

This will be undertaken by Cambridgshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Mr Barclay said the business case makes the rail link “extremely viable”.

He said: “The government has announced they have provisionally awarded £10.5 million to be allocated between 2016 and 2020 for further work on key aspects such as the location of the new station, which was agreed at Friday’s meeting should be within Wisbech rather than off the A47.

“I now want to see that money being brought forward to 2016 rather than left until 2020.

“We have also agreed to keep both freight and electrification as options and these will be considered in the Grip 3 study.

“The county council and the LEP are due to ratify the decision to proceed with this essential foundation work this week.”

Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson was also pleased with the resulf of last week’s meeting at the Boathouse, in Wisbech.

He said: “It was a very positive and progressive meeting.

“The updated cost/benefit ratio and business case is really encouraging and there is now the strongest case yet for the rail scheme.

“There is still lots of hard work to do, but this is an excellent example of the public and private sectors joining forces with a common objective.”