Government funding sought for first step towards restoring train services for Haverhill
A bid that has been made to secure government funding to help pay for an economic study into the possible restoration of the railway line between Haverhill and Cambridge has won strong support.
Haverhill MP Matt Hancock, the town council and the chairman of campaign group Rail Haverhill have all backed the bid by Railfuture East Anglia, which campaigns for a better railway across a bigger network for passengers and for freight users.
A statement released by Railfuture said: “We are pleased to inform you that we have today (March 5) submitted a bid to the DfT for a grant of 75 per cent of costs, up to £50,000, to help fund transport and economic studies and create a business case for restoring the railway between Haverhill and Shelford with frequent through services to Cambridge South, Central and North stations.
“We envisage there will be new stations at Sawston, Linton, Granta Park, Haverhill and a journey time of 19 minutes from Haverhill to Cambridge South, 22 mins to Cambridge Central and 27 minutes to Cambridge North.
“MP, Rt Hon Matt Hancock, has long been a supporter of restoring a railway link to Haverhill and fully supports this bid.
“Haverhill Town Council and Stapleford Parish Council support the bid and Greater Anglia Train Operating Company has stated it would be pleased to operate the service if and when the railway is restored.
“Not least this bid has the support of the people of Haverhill and district with 5,000 signatures on Rail Haverhill’s petition calling for the railway to be restored.”
The petition was completed in 2017.
Mr Hancock said: “I’m a massive supporter of the idea that Haverhill needs a railway.
“I back this bid because a growing town needs more and better public transport.
“Now we are putting right the 1960s railway closures.
“Let’s work together to put Haverhill back on the railway map.”
Haverhill Town Council, in its letter of support for Railfuture East Anglia’s bid, said: “Haverhill Town Council will continue to press for the provision of a rapid-mass-transport link between Haverhill and Cambridge.
“That is not just to enable workers to get to Cambridge but also to encourage businesses to locate to Haverhill.
“Haverhill needs to be better connected, full stop.
“We think that an economic study will not only address important questions about the case for rail, but also provide answers which will be valid for other plans for rapid mass transport links, should rail not be viable.”
The chairman of Rail Haverhill, Marcus Field-Rayner, said the group had not yet met to discuss the bid together, but added: “I would say that we would support it.
“It’s not our best option, we wanted high frequency light rail on the Metro system.
“From Rail Haverhill’s point of view I would say, quite definitely, at this present moment, we would support it because there is nothing else.”
The Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) network would extend to Haverhill. It is currently being developed by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.