Land owners could be forced to sell for Ely rail upgrade

A new highway, of approximately 900 metres, connecting the B1382 to Queen Adelaide Way

A new highway, of approximately 900 metres, connecting the B1382 to Queen Adelaide Way, would provide a new route for through traffic towards Ely - Credit: Network Rail

Land owners risk compulsory purchase orders if three of the four options for rail improvements at Queen Adelaide are adopted.  

Network Rail has invited comment until November 28 for proposals to re-shape the network into and out of the city.  

The three crossings within Queen Adelaide on the B1382 pose “a significant challenge” to increasing rail capacity whilst maintaining a road connection into Ely. 

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the north of Queen Adelaide.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the north of Queen Adelaide. - Credit: Network Rail

"It is recognised that any changes to the level crossings will have a significant impact on the residents and businesses that rely on the road connection to Ely,” said a Network Rail spokesperson. 

“It is also recognised that we need to tackle the challenge of potential increases in road traffic volumes over time which may result in vehicles queuing over level crossings at busy times which is a critical safety risk.” 

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide village.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide village. - Credit: Network Rail

In 2018 the county council agreed to oppose any measures that would restrict traffic flow. 

Network Rail says their options will maintain road connectivity whilst still allowing an increase to rail capacity.  

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And they have promised to undertake traffic modelling next year to “fully understand” the potential impact of the proposals on motorists.  

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide village.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide village. - Credit: Network Rail

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide. - Credit: Network Rail

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide. - Credit: Network Rail

Option 1 – a south east highway of approximately 900 metres, connecting the B1382 to Queen Adelaide Way - is the only one that avoids compulsory purchases.  

It would provide a new route for through traffic towards Ely and the southern bypass would reduce traffic driving through Queen Adelaide and across the level crossings.  

“The existing three level crossings would be upgraded to full barriers to manage the safety risk to users from the additional rail traffic,” says Network Rail.  

The following all involve “the compulsory purchase of land including residential gardens and potentially outbuildings”. 

Option 2 – a northern bypass - would provide a new road with a viaduct and a new route for traffic to the north of Queen Adelaide.  

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide. - Credit: Network Rail


The viaduct would be 1,215 metres long and at its highest point, 14.5 metres to the top of the parapet.  

The total length of the road and viaduct is 2185 metres.  

The Peterborough line level crossing would be closed with turning areas provided for refuse and emergency vehicles. 

A stepped and ramped footbridge would provide access over the Peterborough line for pedestrians and cyclists.  

The level crossings on the King’s Lynn and Norwich lines, may need to be upgraded to full barriers, and would be closed for between 5-10 minutes in each hour.  

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide.

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide. - Credit: Network Rail

Option 3 is a long southern bypass and a stepped and ramped footbridge would provide access over the Peterborough line for pedestrians and cyclists.  

The level crossings on the King’s Lynn and Norwich lines, may need to be upgraded to full barriers and would be closed for between 5-10 minutes in each hour.  

A new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide village.  

The viaduct would be 1,000 metres long and at its highest point, 15 metres to the top of the parapet.  

The total length of the road and viaduct is 2,040 metres.  

The Peterborough line level crossing would be closed with turning areas provided for refuse and emergency vehicles. 

Option 4 is a short southern bypass. 

Network Rail says a new road with a viaduct would provide a new route for traffic to the south of Queen Adelaide.  

The viaduct would be 360 metres long and at its highest point, 12 metres to the top of the parapet. The total length of the road and viaduct is 710 metres.  

The Peterborough line level crossing would be closed with turning areas provided for refuse and emergency vehicles.  

A stepped and ramped footbridge would provide access over the Peterborough line for pedestrians and cyclists.  

The Norwich line level crossing may need to be upgraded to full barriers and would be closed for 5-10 minutes in each hour.  

The spokesperson said: “Additional capacity for passenger services will improve connectivity to important destinations in the area. 

“It will provide more reliable and sustainable alternatives for business and leisure travel for long term economic growth.” 

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