Renewed hopes for March-Wisbech rail link

A Wisbech to March railway line is shown in a rail aspirations diagram.
A Wisbech to March railway line is shown in a rail aspirations diagram.

Cambridgeshire County Council has included a rail link between March and Wisbech in its long term transport strategy, but it is unlikely to happen in the next decade.

The long-awaited rail link has been mentioned in the long term strategy, which runs until 2050, but has also been included in a rail aspirations diagram which runs up to 2024.

The long term transport strategy provides a “high level framework for strategic transport policies which support sustainable development and continued economic prosperity”, according to the report which was released last week.

It also includes an action plan to set out investment priorities and build a case for improvements to the rail network.

There are a large number of people in Cambridgeshire who commute to their place of work and Fenland is one of the primary districts for commuters to live in. This has been further compounded by employment growth not matching population growth.

Fenland has limited public transport and figures show that 19 per cent of households in the district do not have access to a car.

It is anticipated there will be approximately 10,000 new homes in Fenland in the next 20 years, putting even more pressure on the transport infrastructure. It is hoped the transport strategy will go some way towards planning for this and putting measures in place to ease traffic congestion and make it easier for people to get around.

The strategy is focusing on “enhancing capacity between the major destinations and centres of employment and growth to enhance accessibility, reliability and reduce delays, conflicts and pinch points”.

There are plans to enhance the bus and guided bus network. The rail network is also a major area that will be looked at. The report states there is “massive” potential to encourage further increases in rail travel and the council will be building the case for opening new railways stations and railway lines.

There will be a focus on large rural areas, such as Fenland, with improvements to key services for outlying communities, improved access to the rail network and rural interchange sites on main bus corridors.

The cycle network is also set for improvements as it has been labelled as a key investment priority. A comprehensive long-distance cycle network is envisaged to sit alongside and complement the passenger transport system.