East Anglia: Call for service improvements

SUFFOLK and Essex MPs united during a special Parliamentary debate in support of an improved rail service for East Anglia.

Seven MPs from the East of England spoke at the House of Commons yesterday about the need for better rail links.

It followed Monday’s publication of the Once in a generation – A rail prospectus for East Anglia report which sets out a plan for major improvements to Anglian infrastructure from now until 2032.

The report was put together by a group of cross-party MPs, 28 local authorities, 19 rail user groups, businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships from across Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey, who spoke in yesterday’s debate, said: “For too long East Anglia has been the Cinderella of British Rail.

“This government has the chance to be our Prince Charming and accept our proposal so East Anglian passengers can travel happily every after.

“This is not fairytale but a tale with a moral – MPs working together with councils and businesses can achieve together.

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“Connecting our economic hubs, moving freight on to rail and improving our branch line service alongside better ticketing, new trains and smarter stations will make a huge difference to people in Suffolk.”

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock appealed for better rail services to Brandon by improving the Ely North railway junction.

He said: “Improving Brandon’s rail links to Cambridge, and Norwich, will be vital for Brandon’s prospects.

“A twice hourly train service to one of the fastest growth areas in the UK is affordable and will bring massive benefits for the town.

“It is also important to address historically lower rates of transport investment in the area.”

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said Colchester was the sixth busiest commuter rail station in the Home Counties but that his constituents were not getting value for money. He called for more direct train services linking Colchester Town with other stations.

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