A 'great day' for Soham as new station gets £18.6 million funding package from combined authority
Soham looks set to get a new station after the combined authority agreed funding for the project on Wednesday.
The current timetable estimates construction will start in September 2020 and the station will be open by April 2022.
James Palmer, the mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said it was a “great day for Soham”.
The station will still need to be granted planning permission by East Cambridgeshire District Council, but the £18.6 million funding was approved at the authority’s board meeting, officially beginning the “delivery phase”.
Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Anna Bailey, said it was a “great decision” and Soham residents would be “delighted”.
Speaking after the decision was made, Mayor James Palmer raised the prospect that Soham may be the first of many.
He said: “It’s a great day for Soham. It also shows what we can do when the Combined Authority gets involved to a project that was really struggling.
“We can alter the timelines and we can deliver and that’s what the Combined Authority was set up to do.
“So it’s a great day for Soham, but it also shows us how we can potentially deliver other railway stations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”
He said the potential opening of the ‘Newmarket loop’, also referred to as the Snailwell loop, would give direct trains into Cambridge.
“And that’s transformational for a small town, which hasn’t had suitable public transport for the last 25-30 years,” he added.
The approval and funding is for “phase one,” which will include a platform, footbridge, car park, waiting shelters, information screens and ticket machines.
The Combined Authority is also looking ahead to “phase two” which would add a second platform“at a reasonable extra cost”.
But concrete proposals have not yet been brought forward for the potential upgrade.
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.