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Cost of Wisbech rail re-opening rises

24 July 2020

The estimated cost of reopening the Wisbech to March railway has risen from £218.5m to £230.5m (2019 prices), without optimism bias, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has reported. The increase reflects updated utility diversion costs and adjustments to risk allowance (the latter is now £44.2m). Highway works represent £75.6m of the cost, reflecting the 22 level crossings on the line and the need for closures and road diversions. “This is based on a maximalist interpretation of the Office of Rail and Road’s approach to level crossings and therefore indicates a cost ceiling,” Paul Raynes, director of strategy and delivery, told councillors. “Our understanding, however, is that such an approach is not mandatory national policy and DfT and Network Rail may be more open to considering alternative approaches for managing the level crossings that could address the safety risk whilst reducing costs of the highways works.” The CA regards the ‘accelerating existing proposals’ stream of the DfT’s Restoring Railways Fund (RRF) as the best opportunity for national grant funding.


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