Greater Anglia Welcomes Commitment to Improve Ely North Junction

Monday, 16 July 2012

Greater Anglia has welcomed today’s announcement by the Department for Transport giving the go-ahead for an upgrade to Ely North Junction - which will see the existing two single track leads onto the Kings Lynn and Norwich lines doubled, thereby helping to pave the way for future improvements to train services (which would also support economic growth in the region).

As the operator of the increasingly popular Norwich to Cambridge train services, Greater Anglia has been instrumental in working with local MPs including George Freeman and Elizabeth Truss to make the case for greater investment in the rail infrastructure, such as the necessary improvements at Ely North Junction. The Norwich to Cambridge service now carries almost 1m passengers a year between these two key regional centres and the direct service will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October.

With the announcement of the improvements to Ely North, Greater Anglia will continue to work positively with its industry and stakeholder partners in making a strong case for the further steps that are needed to help deliver a half-hourly frequency for the Norwich to Cambridge service. These include further track/signalling upgrades between Ely station and Ely North Junction, and the additional trains and resources required to operate an enhanced service to be specified in the next Greater Anglia 15 year franchise.

Ruud Haket, Managing Director Greater Anglia said: “We welcome the news that Ely North Junction is being improved helping to pave the way for more frequent train services. We’re passionate about playing our part in delivering major upgrades to train services in East Anglia and this positive news endorses our approach in working with industry partners and key stakeholders to make the case for more investment in the region’s rail network.

“We have worked to help create a region-wide alliance of stakeholders and a prospectus which provides the priorities and justification for future rail upgrades. It is important that all of us who care about the region's railways and its wider prosperity continue to make the compelling case for rail investment in East Anglia, building on the tremendous news about the improvements for Ely North Junction.”

George Freeman MP for Mid-Norfolk said: “This is great news for our region and the Norfolk economy in particular. For too long in East Anglia we have received less than our share of infrastructure spending, whilst contributing more than most to the Exchequer.  To be fair to train operators, train services can only be as good as the track and signalling allows. The Ely North junction bottleneck prevents half hourly services from both Norwich and King Lynn to Cambridge, and holds up freight links from Suffolk's coastal container ports with the rest of the UK.

“Ely junction is particularly important to unlocking the potential of the Cambridge - Norwich 'innovation corridor' and the growth of a vibrant small company economy, and ensuring the planned housing growth in Wymondham, Attleborough and other towns on the line doesn't lead to gridlock and congestion.

“This is a strong endorsement for the joint Anglian Rail campaign and 20 year Prospectus for investment we recently presented to the Secretary of State. I shall be following up to make sure we are given the right priority and to ensure the full works required for Cambridge- Norwich are properly scheduled. I look forward to continuing to work with the franchise operator Greater Anglia and Network Rail to ensure we make further progress on this key regional rail opportunity.”