BRIEF HISTORY OF THE RAMSEY & SOMERSHAM RAILWAY
In November1859 a proposal was made to build a railway from Somersham through Ramsey to join the Great Northern Railway at Holme a distance of 13 Miles. The proposal made good progress through Parliament and by the beginning of April 1860 the Somersham – Holme Railway Bill was placed on the list of unopposed Bills. But at a meeting of shareholders of the scheme on 5th May 1860 the proposed line was abandoned because of a potential shortfall in the finances of some £3,400
The Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Committee were the first to reach Ramsey opening a branch from Holme on the Huntingdon – Peterborough line; although the GER had the majority interest the line was worked by the GNR. The GER were concerned that this branch was a GNR manoeuvre to eventually reach Ely and so in 1875 the line was vested in the GER and as a double safeguard the company also gave its support to the locally promoted Ramsey & Somersham Railway which had been authorised by an Act of 2nd June 1865 to run from a junction with the St. Ives – March line at Somersham to Ramsey High Street.
Feeling now secure the GER passed the original Ramsey branch back to the GNR on lease and did little to hasten the completion of the Somersham branch which took an inordinate time to build finally opening on 16th September 1889 with one intermediate station at Warboys. The line was incorporated into the GN&GE Joint Railway on 1st January 1897.
On the 1st January 1923 both branches came under the control of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and Ramsey High Street Station was renamed Ramsey East on 1st July that year.
The original intention was to join the Ramsey East branch to the Holme branch and although this was authorised the connection was never built. The LNER felt that two separate lines to a small town weren’t justified and given that neither of the Ramsey branches were convenient for passengers or well used, it wasn’t surprising that the Ramsey to Somersham branch closed to regular passengers on 22 September 1930 while its rival to Ramsey North closed on 6 October 1947.
Occasional passenger traffic continued in the form of annual excursions to Clacton via Cambridge and Colchester. Up to five hundred people travelled on pre-war excursions from Ramsey East, a sizeable proportion of the town population.
The section of line between Warboys and Ramsey closed to goods on 17th September 1956 with the remaining section of line between Somersham and Warboys closing to on 13th July 1964.
Sources: East Anglia Railways remembered by Leslie Oppitz - Countryside Books 1989
ISBN 1 835306 040 2 & Forgotten Railways Volume 7 - East Anglia by R S Joby - David & Charles
1985 ISBN 0 7153 7312 9
Further reading: Branch Lines around March by Vic Mitchell etc. - Middleton Press 1983
ISBN 978 1 873793 09 1
To see other stations on the Somersham - Ramsey East line click on the station name: Ramsey East & Somersham
See also the Ramsey North branch: Ramsey North, St. Mary's & Holme