New March station will 'help people to use petrol and diesel cars less'

Paul Medd, Chris Seaton, Mark Knight, Stephen Barclay, Alex Miscandlon and Alan Neville at March railway station

Paul Medd, Cllr Chris Seaton, Colonel Mark Knight MBE, Stephen Barclay MP, Cllr Alex Miscandlon and Alan Neville at the refurbished March railway station - Credit: Greater Anglia

A refurbished railway station is now open in Cambridgeshire.

Dr Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, declared the new March railway station open on Friday, May 13 alongside Stephen Barclay, MP for North East Cambs, Colonel Mark Knight MBE, the county's deputy lieutenant, and a series of dignitaries.

Dr Johnson said the redevelopment - which includes a new open-plan ticket hall, toilets, retail outlets and a bigger car park - marks the next phase in the history of the train line through March, which dates to 1847.

He said: "March has a rich railway history, steeped in the glory days of coal and steam.

"It’s an honour to open this new chapter, where this station will be part of a greener revolution, helping people to use petrol and diesel cars less and trains, buses and bikes more."

Dr Johnson added that the combined authority has launched a Local Transport and Connectivity Plan consultation, with a view to building transport "hubs" in Cambridgeshire - including investment into Fenland stations, and an A10 upgrade between Ely and Cambridge.

The consultation runs until August 4 (https://yourltcp.co.uk/).

Steve Barclay MP at the refurbished March railway station

Steve Barclay MP at the refurbished March railway station - Credit: Stephen Barclay MP

Steve Barclay MP in the new, larger car park at March railway station

Steve Barclay MP in the new, larger car park at March railway station - Credit: Stephen Barclay MP

Stephen Barclay MP opened the A47 Guyhirn junction between March, Peterborough and Wisbech on the same day.

He said: "When I was first elected, some said to me we were the forgotten Fens.

"These transport investments are good practical examples of the Government’s commitment to levelling up, with A605 Kings Dyke crossing near Whittlesey next, where construction is well progressed."

The A605 King's Dyke crossing and bypass near Whittlesey, pictured at the start of construction in July 2020

The A605 King's Dyke crossing and bypass near Whittlesey, pictured at the start of construction in July 2020 - Credit: Terry Harris

The government and combined authority ploughed £1.6 million into the station, Mr Barclay said.

During the construction, contractors unearthed a ledger from April 1885, which contained hand-written entries of all the passenger luggage and parcels sent from the station - a unique record of Victorian life in Fenland.

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Simone Bailey, of Greater Anglia, said: "This has been a huge project which has involved taking the entire station right back to its bare structures and remodelling the layout to create a much-improved building fit for the needs of passengers in the 21st century.

"I would like to thank customers for their patience while this extensive renovation was carried out and also thank our team and our project partners for their help in transforming the station as we work together to encourage more sustainable journeys in the region."

Greater Anglia, East Midlands Railway and CrossCountry trains call at the station, with direct connections to Ipswich, Norwich, Stansted Airport and Birmingham New Street.

Chris Seaton, a Fenland district councillor and Fenland Stations Regeneration Project Board chair, said: "The delivery of the project would not have been possible without the support of the Mayor, his staff at the combined authority, and Greater Anglia.

"It represents a great example of partnership working to improve an important asset for the community in March. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with the community as March station now moves forward in this latest phase of its development following a long history since 1847."