Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 13°C

Search

Essex: County must not be overlooked in bid to speed up rail services – MP

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 March 2014

MPs Priti Patel and Chloe Smith with other members of the taskforce at the Witham meeting.

MPs Priti Patel and Chloe Smith with other members of the taskforce at the Witham meeting.

Archant

The needs of Essex travellers must not be overlooked in any rush to speed up rail services from London to Suffolk and Norfolk.

That was the pledge from Witham MP Priti Patel at the first open meeting of the task force looking at ways of boosting the main link from Liverpool Street to the region.

Politicians and business leaders have come together in a bid to speed up services on the Great Eastern Main Line by the early 2020s.

The aim is for trains from London to reach Norwich in 90 minutes and Ipswich in 60 minutes – but yesterday’s meeting at Witham was aimed at focussing on how these improved speeds would benefit commuters from Essex.

Ms Patel said: “It was a very positive meeting, and we are making great progress. It was very important to hear from the business community and from commuters.”

She felt it was vital that the county’s needs were not forgotten in the talk about improving longer-distance trains.

“I have always emphasised this is not just about reaching Norwich in 90 or Ipswich in 60 – it is about improving the line for all the users.”

She had brought up the needs of Essex travellers in meetings with Chancellor George Osborne and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin who had supported the establishment of the task force.

There have been fears from some Essex travellers that InterCity trains could be speeded up by passing through more stations in the county without stopping.

The meeting was supported by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who is chairing the task force alongside Mark Pendlington from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Officials from Network Rail and train operator Abellio Greater Anglia were also on hand to meet business and commuter groups at the meeting.

The task force is looking at three key areas which are integral to future service upgrades – infrastructure, trains, and timetables.

It is working to build a firm case for more investment that it can take to the Department for Transport in a bid secure more investment as part of a new long-term Greater Anglia franchise which is due to start in October 2016.

Among improvements being developed are hopes of an extra track between Chelmsford and Witham to ease congestion and new faster trains with better acceleration.

Jonathan Denby of Abellio Greater Anglia said: “Today was a very helpful event which will help strengthen further the business case and support for upgrading the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML).

“Everyone involved in the Task force is fully committed to achieving both longer term major upgrades and practical shorter term improvements.

“There is strong support from the business community, MPs, local authorities, rail user groups and other stakeholders all the way along the line.

“This backing will be crucial in helping to secure the necessary future investment for upgrades to infrastructure and rolling stock.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

The 10-year-old son of a military serviceman presented Prince Harry with a teddy bear as the Royal visited RAF Honington.

Prince Harry presented a new Colour to the RAF regiment at Honington this morning in its 75th anniversary year.

A Colchester teenager who was seriously injured in a tragic car crash and placed in an induced coma is starting to show promising signs of improvement.

A 73-year-old who died suddenly after a seemingly innocuous dog bite was fit and active, a neighbour has said.

The travellers who set up camp on the popular Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds have left after a week’s stay.

Armed police have sealed off St Clement’s Church Lane in Ipswich this afternoon after reports of a man brandishing a BB gun.

A deputy headteacher retiring from a special school in Ipswich after more than 25 years had originally signed up to work just one day as a supply teacher.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24