Has MP Liz Truss paved the way for £35million upgrade of Ely North junction to be brought forward? Possibly so
PUBLISHED: 19:06 27 February 2016 | UPDATED: 19:06 27 February 2016
Â© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016
Fresh hopes have been raised that a key upgrade of the Ely North junction can be brought forward, with MPs set to meet the rail minister next week to ask for funding towards a feasibility study.
Last year the £35million upgrade to the junction – which was set to start in 2016 and would have meant half-hourly services between King’s Lynn and London and more trains between Norwich and the Midlands – were put back to at least 2019, when the next funding period starts.
MPs, councils and business leaders met on Friday to put pressure on Network Rail to bring the date forward.
Afterwards, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “We want the upgrade to happen sooner and we will be putting the case for a contribution towards the £5million cost of a feasibility study from the Department of Transport, when we meet rail minister Claire Perry.”
Sir Henry Bellingham, North West Norfolk MP, hopes the feasibility study can be completed in just a year.
He said: “This is an absolutely crucial investment as it will unlock a series of key improvements.”
Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said it was essential the study was completed as quickly as possible.
The meeting was also attended by George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, who said: “The Ely junction is now the critical bottleneck holding back the vital Norwich to Cambridge to Stansted Innovation Line which could create thousands of jobs in rural Norfolk.”
Ray Harding, chief executive of West Norfolk Council, said the meeting had “kick-started some much-needed momentum”.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We had a constructive meeting with key stakeholders to discuss options at the Ely North junction. We will work closely with stakeholders to work through options to unlock capacity on the route.”