Huge boost to re-connect town to the rail network

PUBLISHED: 15:18 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:18 06 May 2020

Network Rail submits its planning application for a rail station at Soham. Pictured is the future vision compared to what it used to be like. Picture: ARCHANT

Network Rail submits its planning application for a rail station at Soham. Pictured is the future vision compared to what it used to be like. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Hourly services from Soham took a step nearer as Network Rail submitted its planning application for a new rail station for the town.

A visualisation of what could potentially become Soham station. Picture: NETWORK RAILA visualisation of what could potentially become Soham station. Picture: NETWORK RAIL

If approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council, Network Rail believes work could start on the station later this year and be open by 2022.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority funded and commissioned Network Rail to develop options and deliver the station.

The new station will include:

• A single 102 metre platform to accommodate four car train services including waiting shelters, information screens and a public address system,

• Installation of a stepped footbridge across the railway to connect to an existing public right of way, designed for any future installation of lifts for a potential second platform.

• A drop off point and a car park for 50 vehicles and five spaces for blue badge holders.

• Cycle parking and ticket machines on the station forecourt.

“These proposals were presented to the Soham community in February 2019 during an information event and received overwhelming support for the project to go ahead,” said a Network Rail spokesman.

In September 2019, the CPCA committed £18.6m to fund the new station and reconnect Soham with the rail network.

On May 1 Network Rail submitted its application for permitted development of the station to the East Cambridgeshire District Council.

“Subject to gaining the permission of the local authority, the construction for the station is currently planned to begin later this year and is expected to be completed and open to passengers in 2022,” said the spokesman.

Train operator, Greater Anglia, will serve the new Soham station using its Ipswich to Peterborough service to call at Soham initially.

The CPCA believes that the delivery new station will build a much stronger case for the reinstating of the Snailwell loop which could provide a direct service between Ely, Soham, Newmarket and Cambridge.

“This could be part of a future scheme,” said the Network Rail spokesman.

“Greater Anglia has already committed within its franchising agreement to increase the frequency of trains from two-hourly to hourly”.

The campaign to reinstate the Soham railway link, closed to passengers in 1965, has been going on locally for years.

Mayor Palmer said: “Plugging Soham back into the national rail network will bring the town huge advantages, smoothing the path for greater investment, better access to jobs for people who live there, and helping to make the planned economic and housing growth sustainable”.


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