Euro MPs today agreed to spend £3.8m on solving a rail bottleneck between King’s Lynn and London.

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The news came as Norfolk’s MPs waited to hear whether they have been successful in their campaign to persuade ministers to fund a £20m upgrade of Ely North Junction, which would allow half-hourly trains between Lynn and the capital.

Twin passing loops east of Ely station were among 41 rail improvement schemes to win a share of a £100m EU funding package, it was annnounced this afternoon.

The 775m loops will enable freight trains travelling between Peterborough and Ipswich to pull over as they approach a single line section track at Soham, to allow passenger services to pass them.

They will also enable the number of container services between Ipswich and Peterborough to be doubled.

East MEP Richard Howitt, who took part in yesterday’s debate in Brussels, said: “Having fought to get east-west rail services from Felixstowe via Peterborough on the priority list for European funding, this is a fantastic success which will help our businesses and improve rail services for everyone.

“This is a project ready to start straight away which the government has accepted is a critical bottleneck, and I hope they have the good grace to give credit to the European contribution.

“It is good for the environment to get freight off the road and on to rail, and even better with the region’s busy commuter services benefitting too.”

Network Rail said the Ely loops project was part of a larger bid for funding to improve the main freight corridors on the rail network, including the lines between Felixstowe and Nuneaton, and Southampton to the West Coast Main Line.

“Work to improve the freight corridors on the rail network will benefit everyone,” a spokesman said. “Not only by taking lorries off the road, but also by adding flexibilty to the network, making all trains more reliable.”

Hopes were raised last week that money may come from Westminster to fund the £20m upgrade of the Ely North Junction.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said the government was getting ready to announce a round of transport infrastructure investment during a debate in Parliament. Many expect the announcement to be made before Parliament goes into its summer recess next Wednesday.

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said news the EU had agreed to fund improvements at Soham was a last minute boost to the campaign.

“This reinforces the message that I have been making to the Department for Transport, that investment in Ely North will drive growth and generate economic prosperity to the region,” she said.

“Over the past year I have held numerous meeting with the DFT and Network rail to ensure all the freight and rail lines passing through Ely North do not miss out on future funding.

“The announcement by the European Parliament puts Ely on the right tracks for future investment and I will maintain the pressure on the government to ensure the Ely North bottle neck is removed.”

Work on the passing loops will be completed by 2014. They will enable the number of container trains running between Ipswich and Peterborough to more than double, increasing from 10 to 24.

Officials say the improvements will mean 750,000 fewer lorry journeys by 2030.

MPs unveiled a blue print for the future of the region’s rail services in Parliament last week.

The manifesto, called Once in a Generation - A Rail Prospectus for East Anglia, called for faster trains, more track, and better stations.

7 comments

  • smithrob - the delays at Tennyson Avenue could be reduced by improving the signalling system, but there's only 1 train an hour in each direction plus a couple of freight trains a day, so it's hardly Clapham Junction! And as for it being laughable that people move to Norfolk and then complain about the poor train service - the railway opened in 1846 so you could also say it's laughable that people move to Tennyson Avenue and then complain about the level crossing!

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    Norfolk and Good

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • Norfolk and Good, you need to check the timetables rather than believe what you read in the papers! The problems with traffic have been getting staedily worse, everyone seems to travel along this road now, far worse than when we moved here 25 years ago. Rail travellers think they are the only ones who have problems but seem to ignore the fact that resolutions to their problems often cause problems for other people - but thats ok I suppose?

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    smithrob

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • What a load of rubbish! This work has been planned by Network Rail for years and work has already started, so funding from the EUSSR is irrelevant. The new track is between Ely and Ipswich so nothing at all to do with the Kings Lynn to London line. The only impact on Lynn trains is likely to be a negative one - this upgrade is taking place to allow double the number of freight trains to run between Ipswich and Peterborough, which means double the number of freight trains on the line between Ely Station and Ely North Junction, which means potentially more delays to Lynn line trains and more difficulty increasing the number of train services to Lynn and Norwich! Also, the figures quoted for reducing the number of lorry journeys is rather disingenuous as the extra trains on this route are existing trains which currently run via London and are simply being diverted.

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    Norfolk and Good

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • 3.8 million from the EU ? Not a bad return for the 40 + million we give every day to be a member of such a prodigious federal sate.

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    norman hall

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • 3.8 million from the EU ? Not a bad return for the 40 + million we give every day to be a member of such a prodigious federal sate.

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    norman hall

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Well Norfolk & Good, I hope you're right and there is no increase in the frequency of trains running to King's Lynn unless the station is moved! The residents of Tennyson Avenue are already fed up with the number of times the level crossing gates go up and down and the noise from stationary traffic which results. The pollution levels also are horrendous. The number of people moving to Norfolk from London and its surrounding areas, then complaining that they are inconvenienced by poor train services to take them to their mega bucks jobs is laughable. Don't complain - live closer to your job. There! Rant over.

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    smithrob

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • Er this is our money not the EUs it has no money only what we have to give it.

    Report this comment

    Johnny Norfolk

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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