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Boost for Norwich rail campaign

PUBLISHED: 11:06 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:09 02 July 2010

A train

A train

Kim Briscoe

The fight for better rail services has taken a positive step forward this week with the government saying it supports the idea of giving cities like Norwich more say and influence over how they are run.

The fight for better rail services has taken a positive step forward this week with the government saying it supports the idea of giving cities like Norwich more say and influence over how they are run.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, met this week with Chris Mole MP, the parliamentary under secretary of state for transport.

Mr Morphew arranged the meeting in his capacity as chairman of Regional Cities East (RCE); an alliance of six cities in the East of England which are collaborating to improve infrastructure and skill levels, as well as deliver economic growth in a sustainable way.

He said Mr Mole indicated there was broad support for the cities that make up RCE to have influence over rail franchises and play a part in the next rail utilisation strategy.

Mr Morphew believes this strengthens the case for investment by Network Rail into the wider economic benefits and not just rail improvements for their own sake, especially as the eastern region contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of the UK.

He said: “Winning this kind of influence for RCE cities will help build the investment case and help secure the long-term health of our rail services and the economies that rely on them and drive both freight and passenger traffic.”

RCE, which comprises Peterborough, Luton, Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester and Southend-on-Sea, is one of the organisations behind the Norwich in 90 campaign, which seeks to cut journey times between Norwich and London to 90 minutes, as well as secure a range of improvements as part of the new Greater Anglia rail franchise.

The Norwich in 90 campaign petition can be signed online at www.gopetition.com/petitions/norwich-in-ninety.html.

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