Mayor James Palmer donned his hard hat and high-vis jacket at the planned new Soham railway station site to see first-hand another step forward in its delivery.
The Mayor joined Network Rail at the site, off Station Road, to see noise monitoring studies which are needed to support a future planning application. As well as the works on Friday, further vibration and light monitoring studies will be needed to support the planning application.
The timetable for delivery is summer 2021, and the Combined Authority has found additional time savings that may mean it is operational by spring 2021.
The new station will include a single platform, footbridge, car park, station forecourt, drop-off point and ticket machines. The proposed platform would be 102 metres long, and there would be associated waiting shelters, lighting, a public address system and information screens.
There will also be a built-in allowance for a future second platform in advance of any double tracking of the line between Ely and Soham. It is currently a single track. The station would also be futureproofed against the potential for increased demanded for container traffic to and from the Port of Felixstowe.
The project has been allocated funding needed to bring it to completion. At present, £3.2 million has been allocated to the delivery of the current phase. An additional £20 million has been allocated in the Combined Authority budget to deliver the station through to detailed by design, construction and final handover. As part of the overall sum requested, around £7 million will be used to ringfence monies to upgrade the station to include a second platform.
In Autumn 2019 a report is due to be put before the Combined Authority Board to approve the funding the remaining phases of work, which includes construction and handover ready to use.
The project will also support the delivery of 1,665 new homes in Soham by 2031 as well as supporting its economic growth and attracting further investment. It will better connect people to key employment areas including Ely, Bury St Edmunds and beyond. The station would also reduce pressure on the local road network, particularly the A142.
Mayor James Palmer said: “It was great to get on the safety gear and actually see the first works taking place on site.
“This follows the well attending public information event in Soham last month which saw over 550 people attend and find out more. I hope signs of progress like this give people confidence that Soham station is now very much a reality and that it will be delivered.
“I know more than most that the campaign for this station in Soham has been a long and often frustrating one. Connecting Soham back into the national rail network will be a huge boost to the town, and help facilitate planned economic and housing growth.
“What’s important now is that we continue the good work so far in getting to this stage, and ensure that the timetable of delivery by summer 2021 at the latest remains on course.”