Manea is set to receive a major uplift in its rail service from January 2014, as train operator Greater Anglia makes arrangements for its 2-hourly Peterborough – Ely – Ipswich service to call at the village station.
Announcing the news at a meeting with Parish, District and County Council representatives Greater Anglia Partnerships Manager Geraint Hughes said: “For a long time we have wanted to respond to the villagers’ request for an improved rail service. With the completion of a key stage of Network Rail’s improvement works at Peterborough station due to be completed over the Christmas period, we can now re-time our service to include the stop at Manea.
“We look forward to working with the Hereward Community Rail Partnership and the villagers themselves, to promote this important service to the local community.”
The meeting was called to discuss a package of possible improvements to the station, which might be taken forward as part of Fenland District Council’s Rail Strategy. These might include a station car park, improved waiting accommodation for passengers, better information, and possibly extended platforms for three-car trains. Villagers will be asked for their views over the coming months, before Fenland confirms its master plan for the station.
Responding to the news, Fenland’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Ralph Butcher said: “I am delighted that this announcement of more train services for Manea has been made. Fenland District Council has been working in partnership with Manea Parish Council and Greater Anglia on railway related matters for some time now and we have also had strong support from the local community who really want more trains to stop at their local station. This is excellent news and an important confirmation of all the effort that everyone has made. This is an excellent example of how working together achieves success.”
He added: “The Fenland Rail Development Strategy 2011 - 2031 is an important part of the Council’s integrated transport approach. A two hourly train service for Manea is a key commitment in the strategy. I am extremely pleased that we will be able to deliver a key priority so early in the life of the strategy.”
The Chairman of Manea Parish Council, Councillor Steve Emery, said: “After many years of campaigning, led by Manea Parish Council and supported by other groups, the council is very pleased that this improvement to rail services has been achieved.
“This improvement in rail services will provide significant benefits to not only those living in Manea but also other people living in Fenland who will now be able to access rail services without needing to travel to a station further afield.
“This arrangement – through providing greater access to centres of employment, leisure activities and shopping – will enhance the quality of life (both economically and socially) of the local community”.