Transport secretary signals support for Ely track upgrades
The transport secretary visited Ely railway station today to discuss track upgrades which could see an increase in rail capacity across East Anglia.
The busy Ely North rail junction sees five railway lines intersect, connecting East Anglia to London, and has become a bottleneck forcing trains to slow down and wait for others to pass.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said that upgrades to the junction will happen in the next rail investment period, between 2019 and 2024. Once complete they will expand capacity across East Anglia, meaning fewer delays for passengers.
"This is one of the key priority projects for the railway. It is important for Cambridgeshire, East Anglia and the whole of the country given what an important freight route it is," said the transport minister.
"I have always taken the view that you can't understand what needs to be done unless you come see for yourself. I wanted to come and see Ely station, see the track set-up and the nature of the problem.
"This is going to be a complex problem to do such a busy, busy interchange," he said.
Lucy Frazer MP, who was also at the station, backed upgrades to the junction.
Charles Roberts, Deputy Mayor of Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, said: "Clearly the rail improvements at Ely North junction needs to happen, there is no alternative. With the growth that the wider region is experiencing its critical that our rail infrastructure is upgraded and the frequency of services improved. We will not be successful in doing this unless this key bottleneck is tackled.
"I understand the concerns that have been raised by residents in Queen Adelaide and Ely and I'm determined to fight their corner. Yes, solving the rail challenge at Ely North junction is of critical importance to the wider region but its also important that this doesn't have a detremental impact on roads in Ely and the surrounding area," he said.