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Overwhelming support for new community rail partnership in Cambridgeshire

The government has decided to designate the Hereward Line as a community rail service today (22 December), meaning passengers in north Cambridgeshire will have more of a say over local rail services as part of the Hereward Community Rail Partnership (CRP).

Train companies such as Abellio Greater Anglia will continue to operate services on the 29-mile route between Ely and Peterborough – which also serve Whittlesea, March and Manea – but will now enjoy the support of the CRP.

The partnership will comprise local organisations, operators, councils, rail users and other interest groups, all of which expect to have direct input in securing better services and station facilities for the area.

Whitehall’s decision follows an eight-week consultation period, from July to September of this year, which received responses from Abellio, CrossCountry, DB Schenker, Network Rail, Chiltern Railways, Transport Focus and several councils and rail partnerships.

The responses indicated overwhelming support for establishing a CRP, with only four answers being neutral.

“This official designation will give the partnership the formal recognition it deserves. It will help us continue to play our part in improving services for local people, not least by giving us access to some additional funding,” Cllr Simon King, Hereward CRP chair, said.

“In the 3 years since our launch we have already achieved a great deal, both in securing better train services and improving facilities at local stations. Having this more formal status will undoubtedly help us to build on those achievements.”

Abellio said it was very pleased that the Hereward Line gained community rail designation status, allowing the CRP to play a valuable role in the development and promotion of “this important route”.

“Designation will provide more opportunities to build further partnerships, secure more funding for more projects and help the line continue to thrive in the future,” James Burles, Abellio’s managing director, said.

Campaigners in north Cambridgeshire have also recently been campaigning to get a mothballed line reopened to spur economic growth. The campaign ended up receiving an unprecedented amount of support, with a positive GRIP 2 feasibility study and outline business case published in the summer, and those backing the project now engaging with Network Rail to take it forward.

The establishment of the Hereward partnership closely follows a similar decision to join forces between South West Trains and the London Borough of Hounslow as part of the capital’s first ever CRP.

So far, 19 rail lines around the country have been designated by the government as community rail lines since 2005, along with another 20 being considered community rail services.


Don Gilham   22/12/2015 at 22:37

About time !! Makes you wonder what short sighted idiots put in "neutral" replies !

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