East Anglia: New bid to boost campaign for major rail improvments

Abellio Greater Anglia

Abellio Greater Anglia

The campaign to get more investment in the region’s rail network is hoping to get a major boost over the next three weeks in the run-up to a crucial meeting with the government.

Business leaders hope that many more people will sign up to show their support for moves to get better trains and further capacity on the rail line between Liverpool Street and East Anglia.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has been leading the calls for major investment, alongside local MPs Ben Gummer and Chloe Smith.

This has already led to a major investment in Greater Anglia’s InterCity carriages – refurbished rolling stock is due to come into service from next year – and if successful the campaign should see new track built to ease rail congestion in Essex and brand-new trains in service during the early years of the next decade.

That should allow the travel time from London to Ipswich to be cut to 60 minutes and bring the journey to Norwich down to 90 minutes.

A major report on the region’s rail services is to be handed to Government later this month, but the LEP is asking for rail uses to show their support for the Great Eastern Rail Campaign.

At the end of October the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce will be handing a detailed report to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, outlining the strong economic and business case for investment.

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So far more than 800 businesses, rail passengers and commuters have joined the campaign, but with only 20 days left to register every additional supporter is crucial.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “As we near a critical deadline for the campaign it is vital the transport secretary hears the message loud and clear that the three counties of Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk are behind us. Every click counts!”

Jamie Burles, managing director of Abellio Greater Anglia, said: “We have a crucial opportunity to secure major investment and further upgrades for the Great Eastern Main Line.

“Decisions taken over the next few months will fundamentally affect the level of improvements to both infrastructure and rolling stock over the next five to 10 years.

“We need everyone’s support for this campaign to help build the case for major enhancements and ensure our region and railway receive the investment they deserve.”

The purpose of the report is to outline to Government, the key rail investment requirements to improve the GEML in time for the new long-term tender for rail franchises announced in 2015.

To register your support for the campaign go to www.newanglia.co.uk and follow the link from the homepage.