Train operator Greater Anglia sets out 10-point plea for track upgrades

PUBLISHED: 10:36 08 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:02 08 February 2017

A Greater Anglia train

A Greater Anglia train

(C) Archant Norfolk 2016

A 10-point rail upgrade plan for East Anglia has been set out by one of the region’s rail operators with a warning cash needs to be found if the full benefits of new trains are to be enjoyed.

Despite assurances from the government that it would commit to Norwich in 90 and Ipswich in 60 at the last election, Greater Anglia is asking for support from MPs, councils and business groups to lobby the government to find the money for the key schemes.

Network Rail’s five year spending plan from 2019 has not yet been approved by the Department for Transport and representations are currently being made.

Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said his company planned to bring in new trains on the network in 2019 – but said if customers were to feel the benefits, the government-funded Network Rail needs to play its part in carrying out infrastructure work in the next 10 years.

He said: “We are looking forward to the transformation of train services in East Anglia when we bring in a complete new fleet of trains in 2019/20, but to fully realise the benefits of that £1.4 billion investment, we need to see a parallel transformation in the region’s rail infrastructure.

“The business case is strong for such investment in a region which contributes positively to national GDP and where financial premiums from operating East Anglia’s train services help finance the operation of other rail services across the rest of the UK rail network. We have set out a targeted list of priorities, which will make a major difference to reliability, connectivity, journey times and service development.

“The collective effort of ourselves and stakeholders across the region helped secure a fantastic outcome to the franchise renewal process with the biggest investment ever agreed for trains in East Anglia. We now need to maintain that sustained, collaborative, constructive approach to secure a similarly positive outcome for rail infrastructure investment over the next 10 years and thereby enable Network Rail to upgrade the network and maximise the benefits for customers, communities and wider stakeholders across the region. We will be playing our part in trying to achieve these important rail upgrades.”

The upgrades are as follows

Felixstowe – Peterborough (and Nuneaton)

• Haughley Junction upgrade (to enable more frequent and reliable services)

• Ely area upgrades (including Ely North Junction, Queen Adelaide level crossings, re-signalling and bridge strengthening, to enable more frequent and reliable services)

• Ely – Soham double tracking project (to enable more frequent freight and passenger services)

Great Eastern Main Line (Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester – Chelmsford – London)

• Haughley Junction upgrade (to enable more frequent and reliable services)

• Trowse Swing Bridge replacement (with a fixed double track bridge, instead of the current single track swing bridge to enable more frequent and reliable services)

• Long loops between Colchester and Witham (to allow fast trains to overtake slower full length freight or passenger trains, helping to improve reliability and journey times)

• Digital re-signalling Colchester to London (to enable more frequent services)

West Anglia Main Line

• Capacity upgrades to enable 4 trains an hour between Angel Road and Tottenham/Stratford

• Four-tracking of the West Anglia route from Copper Mill Junction to Broxbourne as the first stage of the Crossrail 2 scheme (to enable more frequent services, quicker journey times and better reliability)

Other key projects

• Wider level crossing upgrade programme (to improve reliability and journey times)

• London Liverpool Street capacity increases (platform and concourse upgrades to accommodate increasing passenger numbers)

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