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Minister promises work will go ahead on vital rail junction for Suffolk route

PUBLISHED: 17:04 11 October 2017

MPs, inlcluding Jo Churchill from Bury St Edmunds, and other officials pressed the case for rail improvements with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Picture: JO CHURCHILL

MPs, inlcluding Jo Churchill from Bury St Edmunds, and other officials pressed the case for rail improvements with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Picture: JO CHURCHILL

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has promised a group of East Anglian MPs that a vital rail upgrade for the region will happen within the next seven years.

Replacing a rail junction north of Ely station in Cambridgeshire is vital if more cross-country freight trains are to run from Felixstowe to the midlands and north.

And it will also make it easier for Greater Anglia to increase its services between Ipswich and Peterborough – with connections to the rest of the country – to one an hour rather than one every two hours.

Mr Grayling told the group, who included Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill, that the work would take place during Network Rail’s “Control Period 6” between 2019 and 2024.

Mrs Churchill said: “That is good news that it is firmly in the programme but we have to keep up the pressure to make sure it is at the start of the programme to get it in place as soon as possible.

“I was with my colleagues from Norfolk and they stressed its importance for their trains to Norwich and Kings Lynn – but it is also very important for the cross country route which will increase the number of trains from my constituency and will also help to take lorries off the A14.”

And she was also keen to ensure that the Ely North junction was not the only issue to be looked at by the minister.

She said: “It’s good news that we have this assurance but we also need to press ahead with improving Haughley junction which is also nearing capacity.

“I shall be working with my colleagues in Suffolk to try to ensure that the government pushes Network Rail to do that work as well.

“The cross-country route is vital. We saw what an important link it is for us when the track was closed a few weeks ago because of that derailment.”

As well as the MPs, the delegation also included officials from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and from other bodies pressing for improvements to the region’s rail infrastructure.

The junction at Ely controls trains heading north out of the station splitting in three different directions – to Norwich in the east, Kings Lynn to the north and Peterborough to the west and is now busier than it has been for decades with more trains using all the lines.

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