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Rail studies on track after £359,000 LEP funding

Plans to improve the stations at Manea and Whittlesey have taken another important step forward with the announcement that crucial funding has now been secured.

Trains and Railways

Fenland District Council has been awarded £359,000 on behalf of the Hereward Community Rail Partnership (HCRP)  to enable the necessary detailed engineering and feasibility studies to go ahead.

The funding was agreed by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) at its board meeting earlier this month (June 7).

This means the partnership can proceed withthe first three GRIP studies into the viable options for upgrading the stations.

The major potential improvements include lengthening the platforms at both stations and the provision of a footbridge at Whittlesea station. These improvements will enable trains to have more carriages, boosting passenger numbers at both stations.

Initial feasibility studies have already been undertaken.

Cllr Simon King, the HCRP's chairman, said: "An initial study completed last year confirmed that the lengthening of the platforms at both stations is technically possible, together with a bridge at Whittlesea.

"This latest funding enables us to follow on from that and develop the project to the next level. The new study is expected to take between 12 and 18 months."  

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said: "Ensuring our infrastructure is fit for purpose is critical to residents and businesses. We are keen to ensure that economic growth can be drawn to all parts of the area. It is very positive to support partners seeking to do just that in Whittlesea and Manea."

The HCRP was launched in 2012. It covers the line between Peterborough and Ely, with a specific focus on the stations at Manea, March and Whittlesea.

GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) is Network Rail's process for managing and delivering large-scale projects on the railway. It has eight stages.

Article added June 29, 2016