Plans to re-open the Wisbech to March rail link have taken another step along the track to becoming reality.
Cambridgeshire County Council agreed to work on two essential pieces of documentation side-by-side to make sure the project was ready when the next round of government transport funding becomes available.
The announcement was made at an infrastructure workshop attended by representatives from local government as well as business managers and directors, at Wisbech Boathouse.
The rail link was the main topic of conversation with discussions on the best way to ensure the project is well-placed for consideration when further funding for transport schemes is likely to be available in February or March next year.
Fenland MP Steve Barclay, who has been fighting to have the rail-link from Wisbech via March to Cambridge re-opened for the past four years, helped secure funding for a feasibility study – known as a Grip 2 – this summer.
Work on Grip 2, looking at options on how Network Rail can deliver the scheme, is already underway.
It was emphasised to Cambridgeshire County Council that it needed to be completed as close to February or March as possible.
However, Bob Menzies, Cambridgeshire’s director for strategy and development, warned it may not be possible to speed the process up because of necessary protocol, but assured it would do its best and focus on the business benefits of the scheme to ensure they were ready first, so they could be highlighted in advance of the full study if necessary.
He agreed it was a good idea to look at proceeding with a study on more detailed costings, so that could also be ready in time for the next round of funding.
Anglian Water have started work on an infrastructure for growth document which will help support the case for the rail-link and it was agreed they would have regular contact with Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council.
Mr Barclay said: “This is great news. We are making some very strong progress on this vital project.
“Two years ago it looked very unlikely we would have a Wisbech rail-link.
“Since then we have secured funding for essential studies and momentum is building from all sides on working to make the railway a reality.”