Video: Chancellor sets his sights on Norwich in 90

George Osborne and Chloe Smith in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith George Osborne and Chloe Smith in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Thursday, November 7, 2013
5:02 PM

Chancellor George Osborne has set his sights on getting trains to run from Norwich to London in 90 minutes.

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Construction site at the old Bethel Street fire station in Norwich. Photo: Bill SmithConstruction site at the old Bethel Street fire station in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

During a visit to the region this afternoon he said he was setting up a taskforce, which will include Whitehall transport officials, MPs and Network Rail experts - to work out the details of how journey times could be reduced between the East of England and the capital.

It is thought the project will cost around £550m and will involve putting in a loop at Chelmsford, changes to the rolling stock and incremental speed improvements along the line.

The taskforce’s job will be to identify practical and affordable options to improve services to Norwich and will include examining the potential for cutting the journey time to London by around 30 minutes and how getting to ‘Norwich in Ninety’ could be achieved under the new franchise due to start in 2016.

In the shorter term, the Department for Transport has also asked current operator Abellio to develop plans to refurbish and modernise the current fleet, update interiors and provide improved facilities, such as power sockets so commuters and business travellers can work more easily as they travel by train.

No extra money from the Treasury has been pledged for the project and some measures are expected to be included in the franchise agreement for the line from 2016 and are also expected to form part of infrastructure company Network Rail’s spending plans for 2019 to 2024.

In 2012 a coalition of MPs, politicians and business leaders joined forces in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex to launch the document Once in a generation - a Rail Prospectus for East Anglia, making the case and setting out demands for the region.

It builds on the Norwich in 90 campaign by the former partnership Shaping Norfolk’s Future, Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council and Norfolk Chamber of Commerce launched in 2010.

Addressing the Norwich Chamber this afternoon, Mr Osborne said; “East Anglia is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and is establishing itself as a world leader in science, technology and manufacturing. To support this growth we need to have modern, efficient rail services and improved connections.

“I am absolutely behind the region and that’s why I’ve set up the East Anglia Rail Taskforce to see how we can build on the excellent work by Chloe Smith, Ben Gummer and Priti Patel and set our sights on getting to ‘Norwich in Ninety’.”

Norwich MP Chloe Smith said: “Having led the East Anglian Rail Prospectus campaign, this is a great reward for the campaigners who have called for years for faster, more reliable and better trains.

“Norwich in Ninety has always been my top priority because it will bring more jobs to Norwich. I am thrilled today to have been able to help bring this investment about for my constituents.”

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership managing director Chris Starkie, who was involved in the campaign for Norwich in 90 which was launched before the 2010 election, said: “Some said we are never going to get Norwich in 90, but the minister who controls the country’s finances has endorsed it now. That is significant progress.”

Earlier in his visit to the region, the Chancellor was handed a pair of wellington boots and a hard hat for a tour of the former fire station in Bethel Street, Norwich, which is in the process of being transformed into the Sir Isaac Newton Free School sixth form.

He spoke with bosses from construction firm Willmott Dixon about their apprenticeship scheme and paused during his tour of the site to speak with young workers. He was accompanied by Chloe Smith – and he reserved special praise for the Norwich MP’s Norwich for Jobs campaign.

41 comments

  • George Osborne is going ah Chloe does suck after all

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    che bramley

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • That's right tooty frooty we are set in the past with values that are rare elsewhere in the country and with a way of life that we treasure. which is why I guess you moved up here....why would you and the other incomers try and change it you will be wanting a NDR and a motorway next !

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    norfolk bird

    Friday, November 8, 2013

  • So where is Yarmouth in the grand scheme of things, and why hasnt Brandon Lewis said anything ?, or is he scared that if he does he will be removed from his cushy post ?. He has already forgotten who voted him in.

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    "V"

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • "Norwich in 90 will bring more jobs to Norwich" says Chloe Smith. Wrong. The jobs will stay in London. The people who do the jobs will move to Norwich for cheaper housing.

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    galrita

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • More talk and no action.A "task-force" is nothing but another talking shop.If Osborne hadn't sold the Royal Mail as if he was selling twenty pound notes for a tenner there would be more than enough investment to commence work immediately.Would you trust this man to run a whelk-stall?

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    Peter Watson

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Actually this isn't such a good idea, I mean, less time spent on the train means more time for Miss Trusst at her second home, wherever that may be, and thus a vastly greater expenses burden for the masses to suffer.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • to galrita ... you are right .. I commuted in the 80's and 90's

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    woodgreener

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • brilliant...more carpet bagging Londoners can come to Norfolk concrete over our land and rent us the properties brilliant brilliant ...put a gate on the a11 with passport control and checkpoint Charlie on train line. then watch our homes become affordable for our young people and the revival of village shops instead of over priced delis !!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    norfolk bird

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • George, Chloe, talk about choo cho's. But where is Adam Weritty?Liam Fox's sidekick extraordinaire, and how come he had so much access to Government offices during and after Coullsons reign?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • The story is about Osborne and Chloe wanting a 90 min journey time for Trains running from Norwih to London, and earlier stories were about Osborne visiting Businesses in Norwich, NOT A BLOODY Construction site for a Free School . I am not going to vote a party that cannot tell the difference between the 2 different sectors !

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    che bramley

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Injun asks where the cash is. Cancel the NDR. Partial funding for an incomplete road is all the government is giving this Norfolk infrastructure project. Modern rolling stock and investment in the line is better value than the NDR. The line is busy at the London end making it difficult to path faster inter-city expresses on lines with stopping trains.

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    Capri

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Ha ha what ever next it's trouble enough trying to do it now under two hours. This government are muppets looking to get political capital out of anything and everything.

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    Propa Job

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Norwich in 90 yeah the way this City is run by the Norwich Council, I hope not to live until I am aged 90 !!!!!

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    che bramley

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • I would settle for a train every time one was timetabled to run rather than cancellations on a system run at full stretch. And a better cross country service connecting with the East Coast Line and the Midlands and Cambridge And a train out of Yarmouth early enough on a Sunday morning to allow a return same day journey of even a modest distance.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • A faster journey time can only be a good thing and would certainly make London jobs more feasible for commuters. As pointed out previously, the then Anglia Railways did an 1hr 40m service on every other train back in the 1990's and 90 minutes is perfectly possible in theory. However, I'm not holding my breath that this will happen. We have trains that are 25 years old, the infrastructure on the line is very poor from Colchester as there are always endless problem and the line is chocked up with too many trains whether passenger or commercial. Much needs to be done to make this happen and if it every does, I fear it will be the 'odd' train and not a frequent offering, but I'm hoping. Making the London line faster will not only make London a more attractive proposition for us, but it will make Norwich a more attractive proposition for Londoners, which will be good too, except for the anti London stance that has dogged the county since time began. Time to move on.

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    helpful harry

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • The sum total outcome of the massively over-hyped, vacuous, and wholly deceitful publicity-chasing gimmick that was Chloe Smith’s once in a lifetime destiny of the railways talking-shop? A vague promise of jam in seven years from now at the very soonest if we promise to be very good and keep re-electing the Tories. LOL

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • I'm not bothered about an extra 10 minutes being shaved off the time. I want to be able to sit down on the journey and not pay a prohibitive price. May last week Gideon today I've got an idea why don't all stay in London and save the taxpayer a few quid. None of them will have a job post April 2015 so the promise of jam tomorrow means very little.

    Report this comment

    LWID

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • If Osborne is announcing it this must mean another project for the elite. I wonder how much ticket prices will go up to compensate all of this? Still, as long as the men in suits get their first class experience why would George care?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Nice words, but not convincing. Where's the CASH? Are they serious about Abelio refurbishing rolling stock AGAIN? It's new rolling stock that's needed, not more recycling. What are the factual projected timescales? He needed to be much more positive in his statements on this subject.

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    Honest Injun

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Once again Chloe Smith is spouting off about what she has done for Norwich. Well, Ms Smith, the investment isn't there yet so I wouldn't be too quick to crow!

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    Bad Form

    Friday, November 8, 2013

  • .....No extra money from the Treasury has been pledged for the project ....... George Osborne should set achievable goals not travelling medicine man sights...

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    Watton Warrior

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

  • He must be planning to move to North Norfolk - thats the only reason he would be concerned about the time from Norwich to London.

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    Jim

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • George and Chloe won't be in government come 2016 so it's all pie in the sky.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Norwich in 90? The recent best he's got to beat is 7-0.

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • That's the best laugh I've had today. Just getting the trains to run would be a real improvement. 90 minutes? Not in my lifetime I doubt

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    Mrs Meldrew

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Yeah, the Norwich in 90 campaign can bring benefits and it can bring consequences. Even Clement Scott acknowledged his actions had two contradictory effects. To answer TootyFrooty and his 'immigrant' population, perhaps with Norwich in 90 it is possible to resurrect Norfolk's supremacy in things like shoes, brushes, crabs and finest linen. Yes I do hark back to a bygone era, the self same one that TootyFrooty and their like migrated to Norfolk to enjoy, thus spoiling for those who came to follow.

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    George Ezekial

    Friday, November 8, 2013

  • "and how getting to ‘Norwich in Ninety’ could be achieved under the new franchise due to start in 2016." Anglia Railways did it in 1hr40m. Since then the entire GEML has become a lot busier so it isn't possible without quadding the line. George & Chloe, you now owe me £50k.

    Report this comment

    mooseyt

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • @Norfolk bird. What an offensive comment. It also makes you look rather ignorant and insular. Norfolk needs investment - without us so called "outsiders" this county would flounder. You can live in the past but I think you'll find that Norfolk can no longer survive by selling shoes brushes crabs peat. Oh, and there is no call for large electromotors anymore either. So time to move on.....

    Report this comment

    Tootyfrooty

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • The obvious thing to do is extend the Kings Cross - Cambridge service to Norwich. With electrification and a few line speed improvements you could do Norwich - London Kings Cross in 1hr 45 mins. Personally, I'd rather go to Kings Cross (with St Pancras next door) on a reliable line than end up in Liverpool St anyway!

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    Wisbech, CAPITAL of the Fens

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Norwich in 90? The old class 90 loco's are the nearest we'll get near that pledge.

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    Greg F

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • It looks like George Osborne is sucking on a Bitter Lemon, while Chloe Smith just sucks at well, just about everything tbh......

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    che bramley

    Friday, November 8, 2013

  • to mooseyt ... I did it in 100 mins... Ihr 40 mins when it was British Rail before privatisation!

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    woodgreener

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • @ Norfolk Bird...so, you want to live in the past? You don't want the young people of this county to have opportunities? For this county to excel and to do well? Oh ok....you keep living in your bubble.. Insofar as me wanting a motorway? Well, theres no point really. Nobody will come to a county that want so stay in the 1960s..

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    Tootyfrooty

    Friday, November 8, 2013

  • Chloe nudging into the frame, again. Where's Ian Dale when you need him...

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • "What's that funny smell?", "Oh, it's the stench of the poor"...

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    Greg F

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • My my the yokel trolls are out in force again. Put up a drawbridge , lets all live in mud huts and throw spears at the moon. I for one would love to be able to get to and from the capital in 90 minutes. Not saying I don't believe this is just early electioneering, but for business it would be an advantage.

    Report this comment

    Abraham

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Why is there an obsession with the time it takes, if the trains are on time, reliable, comfortable and affordable 1 hour 50 minutes to the city centre every time should be the priority.

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    shutters

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • The railways exist for the convenience of retired train drivers, don`t you lot know anything? Seriously, helpful harry, the rolling bodyshell of a train can be refurbished and updated many times, the fact that these trains are knocking on a bit is beside the point. I know I am stating the obvious here but train companies could not care less about the long suffering passengers despite what they say, time for a bit of people power, ticket payment strike perhaps? They can`t arrest everyone.

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    John Bridge

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • I say, I can’t believe che bramley’s wicked comments are still here. You know the ones. Conjuring those twin images of repulsiveness, I mean, I don’t want to think about anyone sucking orf vile little JeffO, much as I am rendered nauseous at the thought of Chloee Smith sucking orf anything. But then again I am not one of the EDP’s Chloetoristas. Is this why her frightening attempt to draught legislation has been christened the ‘gagging’ bill?

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    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, November 8, 2013

  • When I commuted between Norwich and Liverpool Street in the 1980's and 1990;s on a daily basis I used to get the 0755hrs from Norwich arriving at Liv. St. at 0935. Returning on the 1700hrs and arriving in Norwich at 1840. Both services stopped only at Ipswich. Most of the time the trains were punctual sometimes even arriving a few minutes early. The journey can be done in 90 minutes from Norwich... my view is, it is a case of transferring the other stopping trains on the slower lines. No more excuses or silly reasons...... I am not listening! It can be done.JUST GET ON WITH IT!

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    woodgreener

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

  • Has this got anything to do with Chloe Smith being in a marginal seat?

    Report this comment

    Darren Mallett

    Friday, November 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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