LETTER: 'Is enthusiasm for Soham rail too late?'
PUBLISHED: 12:16 12 December 2015
I have been following the saga about the delayed rail works and station. I have been amazed in recent times how our local authority has been keen on a rail station for Soham.
My wife, daughter and myself one cold February Saturday morning stood outside the Co-op and Old Church Hall with clip boards with a petition to re-open the Soham Station.
The question we set was: “If the station was open would you use it?” Two other people had the petition sheets placed in the local shops. After I had collected them and plus what names we had taken on the street it amounted to 1,648.
The county council were informed and we were invited to their transport committee meeting on the October 19 2000. One person was going to speak for the petition in the three minutes allowed before their meeting commenced.
I was going along bringing the petition and standing in support. The other person did not turn up and I was told it was up to me. So we had a photo shot taken on the steps of Shire Hall with Shona Johntone.
Then I went into the meeting and did my best as I had no written notes. When I finished I was asked questions and then left the chamber. One sympathetic councillor (Donald Adey) followed me out and gave me a coffee and had a few minutes chat. He asked me if our local council were behind the petition. I could not say that they were apart from our chairman at that time plus one other councillor beside myself.
He said unless you have your council behind you, you are dead in the water. There was at the time one helpful East Cambs person (Chris Beer) who was responsible for transport. But our local county councillor speaking at the Soham Town Forum who were campaigning on various issues including the Soham station, said: “Anyone campaigns to re-open the station is living in cloud cuckoo land.”
So there was not then the support from local authorities, if there had been who knows we might have a rail station in Soham with double track to Ely and even the Western Chord that enabled trains running through Soham to Bury and Ipswich to divert towards Newmarket and Cambridge.
But to repeat earlier why this sudden conversion, is it now too late? If we had the support then as there appears to be now, things might have happened. That was 15 years ago and now nothing is going to happen for seven years if then. There were lots of promises before the election but sadly one by one those promises are falling by the wayside.