Twice-hourly trains between King’s Lynn and London put on backburner

PUBLISHED: 08:38 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:38 26 November 2015

Elizabeth Truss MP and George Freeman MP at the Queen Adelaide level crossing close to the Ely North junction. Picture: Ian Burt

Elizabeth Truss MP and George Freeman MP at the Queen Adelaide level crossing close to the Ely North junction. Picture: Ian Burt

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Major improvements to the Ely North Junction which are key to the introduction of twice-hourly trains between London and King’s Lynn have been delayed, despite lobbying.

A review by Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, into its five-year funding programme to 2019 has concluded that the majority of the programmes can go-ahead as planned.

However, the £35m upgrade – which was set to start in 2016, meaning half-hourly services between Lynn and London –have been put back to at least 2019, when the next funding period starts.

The review states the upgrade has been delayed to allow co-ordination with safety critical level crossing works nearby.

However, it adds that, “Network Rail is aware of the strong aspirations of the DfT and local user groups and MPs to see improvements to services on the Cambridge to King’s Lynn corridor as soon as practicable”.

The review was released as the chancellor George Osborne today announced hundreds of millions of pounds of extra funding for Britain’s railways to ensure Network Rail can carry out the bulk of its five-year plan.

As reported, politicians and business leaders in the region wrote to the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin in September calling for improvements to the Ely North Junction to take place as soon as possible.

Elizabeth Truss, South West Norfolk MP, George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, and Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, who have lobbied for the improvements, are due to meet Mr McLoughlin tomorrow.

Ms Truss said: “The Hendy Review has recognised the importance of the Ely North rail junction to local MPs, councils and business.

“I want to see the upgrade as soon as possible. I will be raising this with the Secretary of State for Transport tomorrow. “The half-hourly service on the King’s Lynn to London line is scheduled to commence in 2017 and I am keen to work with the Department for Transport so that South West Norfolk can benefit from this increased service.”

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