Soham Station will be a ‘platform for better local rail services’
- Credit: Archant
Soham rail station will act as a “platform for more regular rail services” for the area, says Mayor James Palmer.
The mayor said the completion of the 'phase 1' station, which will include a platform, footbridge, car park, waiting shelters, information screens and ticket machines, marks just "the start of a series of opportunities" for rail in the area.
It comes as Mayor Palmer is backing a recommendation at today's Combined Authority Board (September 25).
Funding is set to be approved with building work starting in September 2020.
The reopening of the Snailwell loop, a piece of rail infrastructure that would unlock a direct service from Ely to Soham and Cambridge via Newmarket, has also been discussed.
Additionally, train operator Greater Anglia, which will serve the new Soham station on its Ipswich to Peterborough service, has already committed within its franchising agreement to increase the frequency of trains from two-hourly to hourly.
Mayor James Palmer said: "Getting Soham connected back into the rail network was one of my earliest priorities and I'm pleased we are now in a position to sign off the necessary funding to get it built and operational.
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"Our approach has been to challenge Network Rail to do better when it comes to the delivery of relatively simple projects like Soham Station. We have cut through the usual bureaucratic processes and ended up with a project where building work will start significantly ahead of schedule while also bringing the scheme in under budget.
"When I next meet with the transport minister, I will be raising Soham as prime example of not just the importance of the speedy delivery of public transport infrastructure for a community, but also its potential as a springboard for enhancing rail services for an entire area."
Mayor Palmer is also calling on government to give combined authorities sign-off rights in the awarding of new rail franchises, so that services can be matched and integrated with wider transport strategies in a local region.
Another recommendation to today's combined authority board is the proposal to continue work on a 'phase 2' of Soham station which would include a second platform when the "double tracking" of the line to Ely is complete.