Transport Secretary agrees with Norfolk and Suffolk MPs that Ely Rail Junction upgrade is a priority
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss today led a delegation to meet the Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon Chris Grayling to make the case for the Ely North rail junction upgrade. The delegation included Elizabeth, George Freeman MP, Sir Henry Bellingham MP, Jo Churchill MP, representatives from New Anglia and Greater Cambridge/Peterborough LEPs, freight and passenger train operators, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Fenline Users Association, presented the economic and business case of why work on upgrading the Ely Area Enhancement Programme, that includes Ely North rail junction, is so vital to the eastern region.
Elizabeth Truss MP said ‘The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling agreed with us that Ely Area Enhancement Programme is a priority and he wants to push ahead in Control Period 6 (CP6) with the upgrade. This is fantastic news, we have been campaigning for years for this and it will definitely be going ahead. One of the key aspects is to ensure the scheme is properly costed by Network Rail and the LEPs agreed to provide every assistance with this. Once the costings are finalised this will determine when in CP6 work starts. I am delighted that the Transport Secretary fully understood all the points we raised and that he has given this commitment today to see the work done in CP6 2019-2024. This will be an incredible boost to the region and the UK as a whole, investing in key infrastructure that will really transform rail travel in Norfolk.’
The project, which is the first of its kind in the UK, will see both the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and New Anglia LEP fund technical and feasibility work associated with the Ely area, including Ely North Junction. This study, carried out by Network Rail, will provide options for funders to increase rail capacity and provide improvements for both freight and passenger services from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn, Ipswich to Peterborough and Felixstowe to Nuneaton and beyond.
This investment is a true partnership endeavour to unlock a significant barrier to economic growth in the East. The LEPs were approached for funding following the decision to defer work on additional capacity through Ely in 2015.
£2.2 million will be provided by the Strategic Freight Network, and £3.3 million each from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and New Anglia LEP to fund this work. The total partnership investment of £8.8 million will be used to undertake detailed feasibility work that needs to be carried out before options for improvements to rail infrastructure within the Ely area can be considered for funding. The investment will also fund Network Rail to complete a business case, to demonstrate the value of investment by government and other potential funders.
The following rail lines are served by the Ely Area
· Norwich to Thetford, Brandon and Cambridge, currently hourly service
· Norwich to Liverpool via Peterborough, hourly
· Ipswich to Peterborough, two hourly
· King’s Lynn to London, half hourly at peak times, hourly at other times. Franchise commitment specified by government to deliver half hourly services throughout the day from May 2017.
· Wisbech to Cambridge where the track is in place and available to reopen.
· Birmingham to Stansted, hourly
· Freight services from Felixstowe and King’s Lynn
Photo: Delegation meet Transport Secretary at DFT