Soham Station Gateway

The Soham Masterplan Vision identified the western gateway of the town as a huge opportunity to improve connectivity and strengthen the town centre through the reopening of the railway station. The concept was strongly backed in each stage of the Soham Masterplan Vision consultation from both residents and businesses.

The Soham Masterplan Vision identified the western gateway of the town as a huge opportunity to improve connectivity and strengthen the town centre through the reopening of the railway station. The concept was strongly backed in each stage of the Soham Masterplan Vision consultation from both residents and businesses.

Soham railway station was opened on the 1st September 1879 on the Ely to Newmarket Line. The station was destroyed on 2nd June 1944, when a munitions train caught fire and exploded. Although the line remains the station was closed down on 13th September 1965.

East Cambridgeshire District Council commissioned Network Rail to investigate the feasibility of building a new station at Soham. This study also assessed whether the current railway line running through Soham, which is covered by a two hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough, could support the additional stop at Soham and if this service could become hourly in the future.

Demand modelling work has also been undertaken over the last 18 months to assess station patronage and if the number of users would be commercially viable for a rail operator. The most recent study undertaken by Atkins suggested that a new rail station at Soham could generate up to an additional £490,000 per annum for the rail operator if an hourly service was in place with improved connection times at Ely station for onward travel to Cambridge.

Cambridgeshire County Council and  East Cambridgeshire District Council have formally commissioned Network Rail to undertake a GRIP (Governance for Rail Infrastructure Projects) 3 Options and Feasibility Study. This work will assess what is required to deliver the railway station and what is needed to make sure the station is economically viable.

The Options

Three options have been put forward for the station. Details of these three options can be seen below. Alternatively, you can find out more about these options by reading the Soham Station Feasibility GRIP 2 Report. All of the options would provide up to 18 cycle parking spaces, as well as car and motorcycle parking, bus stops and turning areas and areas for planting and landscaping

Option One

  • One platform on the existing track
  • Ely side of the original station
  • Maximum area for car parking available
  • Does not affect signals or associated equipment
  • Would require earthworks
  • Estimated cost is £2.5m (staffed station) or £2.3m (un-staffed station).

 Option Two

  • One platform
  • Avoids earthworks
  • Re-align the single line to its original alignment
  • Platform would be located at the original station location
  • 10 fewer car-parking spaces than option 1.
  • No signal positions would be affected
  • Modifications required to signal control infrastructure
  • Estimated cost is £3.6m (staffed station) or £3.4m (un-staffed station)

Option Three

  • Two platforms and a footbridge
  • Avoids earthworks
  • 10 fewer car-parking spaces than option 1
  • Modifications required for signal controls
  • No signal positions would be affected
  • Estimated cost is £5.0m (staffed station) or £4.8m (un-staffed station)

Timescales

The GRIP3 Options and Feasibility Study is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

Costs & Funding

The potential costs of re-opening the station are also part of the option selection and outline business case which will support bids for funding the station.

Next steps

The next stage is the development of a business case for the funding of the projected £6m capital cost of building the station and the provision of additional services along the route. The business case will be developed over the coming months with a view to submitting this to the Department for Transport.

For further information; please email Darren Hill, Business Development Manager darren.hill@eastcambs.gov.uk or telephone 01353 665 555