Network Rail announced in March 2015 that they want to widen the railway line between Ely and Soham:
As the image below shows there will be a maintenance road on the northern side of the railway track from the river to Blockmore Road (a quiet road which leads to Soham).
This would provide the missing link for a high-quality route from Ely to Soham: From Ely along the river NCN11 route, then along the maintenance track and finally along minor roads to Soham. The distance should be around 5 miles or 20 minutes, i.e. it would make a reasonable good commuter route. It would also provide an on-road and year round link for commuters to Cambridge via Upware and Stow-cum-key.
We went to Network Rail’s consultation event (March 2015), they had already looked into it and are very supportive of the idea!
The only problem seems to be a legal one because they are not allowed to change the use of the path from maintenance track to cycle route. However, Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) could take over the path after construction and then apply to change the use. A small bridge would be needed across Middle Fen Drain (1/2 mile east of the river) and possibly a tarmac surface would have to be added. All-in-all costs would be quite small and the only downside is the timescale as the building work will be finished in 2019 the earliest.
We think CCC should get behind this proposal as a medium-term solution which would especially benefit commuters from Soham to Ely until the new station in Soham will be built.