Rail summit called to discuss key upgrade work

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A rail summit will take place in the new year to discuss a key upgrade to the network serving Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, it has been revealed this morning.

Last month, Network Rail announced that work on multi-million pound improvements to the Ely North junction will now not start until at least 2019 and may not be completed until 2024.

The new talks, which will take place in late February and involve MPs, council and business leaders, Network Rail and train operators, have been called following a meeting between MPs, Network Rail and Govia Thameslink, one of the main train operators which use the junction, on Friday.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who was one of the MPs at the meeting, said: “During the meeting, it became apparent that work needs to take place to the four level crossings around Ely and further surveys have to be done.

“What I am keen to ensure is that this happens as soon as possible so I have called for a round table discussion with the LEPs, council leaders and fellow MPs to see how this can be implemented sooner rather than later.

“The Transport Secretary has also confirmed that he will write to MPs by the end of this week detailing Network Rail’s plans for future works.

“East Anglia is a thriving and dynamic area of the UK and I am keen to see the rail infrastructure in place to support this growth and that residents in South West Norfolk can benefit from half hourly services on the King’s Lynn to London line and more frequent trains on the Thetford route.”

Lucy Frazer, the MP for South East Cambridgeshire, said: “The upgrade to the Ely North Junction is vital for our area.

“I am pressing to ensure that this takes place, and I am pleased to take part in this roundtable discussion to ensure that we get the investment we need for these rail improvements as soon as possible.”

Matt Reeve, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), added: “We are, of course frustrated, that vital improvements to the Ely North Junction are being delayed, we understand that safety is the ultimate priority. However, these improvements are a key part of our strategic infrastructure plan.

“We therefore look forward to a positive discussion in the new year to help move this scheme forward.”

The meeting is due to take place in Downham Market on Friday, February 26.