Page last updated at 11:26 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 12:26 UK

Debate on Wisbech Station plans

Leading politicians visiting the East of England as part of the 2010 general election campaign have given their views on calls to reopen Wisbech Station in Cambridgeshire.

Last year, the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) called for the reopening of a number of small stations including the station at Wisbech, which lies within the North East Cambridgeshire constituency.

It called for an hourly service from Wisbech to Peterborough via March.

The station was closed to passengers in 1968 and occasional freight services continued to run until 2000.

Much of the track itself still remains, and preservation societies have campaigned for the return of passenger services.

'Strong feelings'

One of the founder members of the Liberal Democrats Baroness Shirley Williams, on a visit to Norwich, said there was a "very strong argument" for the reopening the stations.

She said rail was a priority area for the Lib Dems.

"If you reopen stations it improves the economy of the area and the prospects for small businesses," she said.

The Labour government's Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, visiting Norwich Station, said: "It is the job of local authorities to take forward proposals for reopening stations.

"They have to demonstrate it is economically viable to reopen the station."

He said would like to see companies "coming forward with proposals" but said it is the job of local councils to take proposals for reopening stations forward.

A Conservative spokesman said: "We recognise the strong feeling that local communities have about reopening rail stations.

"However, without longer franchises, operators will not have the incentive to invest in operation of these additional stops and services."

The general election takes place on 6 May.

The candidates standing in North East Cambridgeshire are: Conservative: Steve Barclay; BNP: Susan Clapp; Independent: Debra Jordan; English Democrats: Graham Murphy; Labour: Peter Roberts; Liberal Democrat: Lorna Spenceley; United Kingdom Independence Party: Robin Talbot.

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