Multi-million pound lift could boost rail link from Sudbury to Colchester
PUBLISHED: 13:08 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:08 14 August 2018
MPs and rail bosses have come together to press the case for a major boost to one of the region's busiest rail junctions.
Greater Anglia is seeking millions of pounds from the government to build new lifts and an extension to the footbridge at Marks Tey.
That is the junction for the Sudbury branch – and it has also become increasingly busy for commuters living on the southern side of Colchester.
There are currently two car parks for the station. The access for one is across a pedestrian crossing over the Sudbury branch.
Network Rail is currently trying to close as many pedestrian crossings as possible for safety reasons. At present there are only two trains a day over this crossing – at about 12.30am and about 4.30am – but the number is due to increase significantly.
When the new trains are introduced by Greater Anglia it hopes extend the service to run from Sudbury to Colchester Town – however Network Rail has said the crossing would have to be upgraded or replaced before that could happen.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, whose constituency includes Sudbury, and Witham MP Priti Patel who represents Marks Tey met Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles at the station to discuss the proposed new lifts and footbridge.
Mr Cartlidge said: “The line to Sudbury is getting very busy, and people have to get across the bridge if they are heading to London. If you’re in a wheelchair or have a pram, or are just a bit slow on stairs that can be a real problem.”
The national fund has £300m available – and Mr Burles said he estimated that the cost of the work at Marks Tey would be between £4m and £5m. It is at the top of Greater Anglia’s “wish list,” but political support would be necessary if the money was to be released.
Ms Patel said that as well as being a busy junction, the station was also becoming more popular for commuters as the number of homes in the area increased: “I’ve been working with James and other colleagues. I hope that we can make a strong case for this improvement.”
Other MPs are also being asked to support the bid. The Sudbury branch line is less than 12 miles long, but its four stations are represented by four different MPs. Chappel station is in Bernard Jenkin’s North Essex seat while Bures is in James Cleverly’s Braintree constituency.