The Wisbech Rail Summit on 11th March was attended by Rail Minister The Rt Hon Stephen Hammond, who recognised that reopening this line is considered a strategic priority. He made clear that transport schemes can be accelerated where there is strong political and business will to do so, as was recently shown with Chloe Smith MP’s campaign for ‘Norwich in 90’.

Mr Hammond also signalled that he particularly valued a bottom-up approach where local expertise informs rail priorities and that he was keen to work with the promoters of this scheme moving forward.

It is extremely positive, following the petition organised by Railfuture and the work undertaken by Cambridgeshire County Council on the wider economic benefits case, to now have such a clear steer from the Minister that the Wisbech line could be prioritised with a view to starting in 2017 if locally we are united and present a strong value for money business case.

The summit was a tight-knit meeting of key stakeholders, including Chris Austin of Railfuture. It shows how local Railfuture campaigning can build a partnership of stakeholders to influence decisions on rail development.

Click to view a video of Stephen Hammond's comments.