MP AND COUNTY COUNCIL LEADER BOTH WELCOME BOOST FOR WISBECH RAIL HOPES

MP MALCOLM Moss has welcomed a report from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) identifying Wisbech as one of 14 towns in England that would benefit the most from a new rail line. The ATOC report has looked at the market for opening new tr

MP MALCOLM Moss has welcomed a report from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) identifying Wisbech as one of 14 towns in England that would benefit the most from a new rail line.

The ATOC report has looked at the market for opening new train lines across England, and assessed each proposed route according to a cost-benefit formula.

Main findings of the report:

• There are 14 communities in England with a population of over 15,000 where the benefits of opening a new rail line would exceed the costs. In a further six cases a new line could still be justified although they did not meet ATOC's cost-benefit criteria. Among these six is a proposed rail line between March and Spalding.


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• The cost-benefit formula included demographic analysis of forecasted population growth, percentage of work trips by rail, station usage, and number of settlements (more than 15,000) not rail connected.

• ATOC has estimated that once agreed to, and once funding has been secured, completing the rail line could take from three to six years. Compared with the time it takes to complete other rail lines (20 years for new high speed lines and 10 years for upgrading the West Coast Main Line), this is a relatively short period of time.

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Mr Moss, the MP for NE Cambs, said: "I am very pleased with ATOC's finding of a strong business case for re-opening the rail link to Wisbech. Re-connecting Wisbech to the rail network will benefit thousands of people, and may bring more businesses and jobs to the local area. "I will be campaigning for the conclusions of this report to be taken forward, and will contact the local councils immediately for more detailed discussions on how to proceed."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Jill Tuck, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: "This is very good news for Cambridgeshire and indeed Fenland, the area that I represent, and we will continue to support any lobbying of Government to provide the much needed funding for this scheme to happen.

"The County Council has been fighting hard for better transport links for the County and Fenland. We are part of the A47 Alliance and have progressed plans and support for a new station in Cambridge which would also help commuters coming from Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.

"Improving the economy and quality of life in Fenland is a main priority for me and the Council and I look forward to helping support these plans for the re-opening of the line.

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