Re-opening Soham station could turn a profit, new report says

Flashback to 2012 fact finding visit: Left-right: Soham Town Council's Rosemary Aitchison, Cllr Jame

Flashback to 2012 fact finding visit: Left-right: Soham Town Council's Rosemary Aitchison, Cllr James Palmer, Cllr Peter Moakes, MEP Geoffrey Van Orden and Ely councillor Tom Hunt. - Credit: Archant

THE re-opening of Soham’s rail station would generate more than £300,000 a year for a commercial operator, according to a new report.

Consultancy firm Atkins said that, according to its calculations, re-opening the station could generate about £1,000 per day and attract 300 trips on the line carrying passengers into Ely and on to Cambridge.

Soham station was closed in 1965.

Over the course of a 15-year franchise, the consultants believe the station could generate about £4.3million in revenue.

But, if the frequency of trains between Peterborough and Ipswich is doubled to one-an-hour, that figure could increase to £7.58million, the report notes.

The cost of running the station per year, is estimated to be about £54,000.

The report says: “Building the new station at Soham is forecast to generate £311,000 revenue per annum compared to current revenue. This compares to a current estimate of £54,000 station operating costs per annum.

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“Over the whole franchise period 2014/15 – 2028/29, £4.34m of revenue is generated compared with station operating costs of £0.70m.

“Based on the findings of this report it is now recommended that officers proceed with a full business case to the Department for Transport for the inclusion of a new station at Soham in the new long-term franchise agreement.”

The capital cost of opening the station at Soham is estimated by Cambridgeshire County Council as being approximately £6.15million, money that will have to be found before the plans can come to fruition.

The report also revealed that officers at Cambridgeshire County Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council were in discussion with colleagues at Forest Heath District Council about the possibility of re-opening the Newmarket curve.

That could pave the way for direct trains from Soham to Cambridge.