Work begins on £2.2bn upgrade programme to improve East Anglia’s train services

Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to Cambridge route via Ely. (Class 170). Photo: Bill Smith Greater Anglia train on the Norwich to Cambridge route via Ely. (Class 170). Photo: Bill Smith

Mark Shields mark.shields@archant.co.uk
Monday, March 31, 2014
7:49 AM

A multi-billion-pound rail upgrade programme starts tomorrow, with passengers being promised more reliable services.

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Network Rail’s £2.2bn investment over the next five years will see the rebuilding of Ely Junction North which will relieve congestion between Norwich and Cambridge.

Other improvements on the Norwich-to-London Great Eastern Mainline include upgrading overhead cables near the capital, replacing tracks and renewing points around Colchester, and rebuilding Bow Junction to create more capacity at London Liverpool Street.

A new rail operating centre controlling the railway in East Anglia will open in Romford and level crossing safety will be improved.

The completion of the Crossrail station at London Liverpool Street could also reduce congestion on mainline services, as will work to the cross-country route for freight from Felixstowe.

The upgrades are necessary to achieve the journey time reductions sought by the task group set up by Chancellor George Osborne last year, which targets Norwich to London in 90 minutes.

Richard Schofield, route managing director for Network Rail, has previously likened the Norwich-to-London line to “driving a Morris Minor up the M1”.

He said: “By 2019, we will have a new station for Crossrail at Liverpool Street, [have] rebuilt key junctions, renewed overhead power lines and upgraded signalling. Over the next five years, we will work tirelessly to deliver real improvements and bring ageing parts of the network into the 21st century. Finally, this vital investment will support and encourage economic growth across the East of England.”

Adam Golton, Abellio Greater Anglia’s interim managing director, said work with Network Rail had delivered service improvements since taking over the franchise in February 2012. He said they would be making the case for further investment to provide “better reliability, improved journey times and more capacity for the region’s rail passengers”.

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18 comments

  • Should read full stop after 156s. The other Locos are far far superior. 153'156 bus coaches on rail axles... Even brush and English electric of 40 -50 years ago are far. Far better quality than the bus stock..I think this is a well known fact in engineering... Or are you a politician ? In which case yes a 90 minute by cycle is the answer.. Put bike on train.??? My IQ is wasted here...

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    Dave01

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Moosey, yes DRS are a Freight Co and a very good one, if they took the franchise they would not take the 156s, 37s,47s,57s, only. On govt contracts can easily pick up 2 car, 4 car, 6 car stock. Knock the socks off anything Asbillio can take from Angel stock. bTW I design the trains for 10 years time.. A we have some good ones up our sleeve, ...DRS are best Locos in EA at moment. IMO

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    Dave01

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • 'Its like driving a Morris Minor up the M1' - so let's upgrade the M1 and leave the Morris Minor to Abellio - except they won't do anything because the contract isn't long enough!! Come on folks, we need some joined up thinking here!

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    Gerg

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • err, they've been upgrading overhead wires and replacing track since early 00's as anyone who used to use the line on Sunday's will inform your useless journalists. I also don't think these improvements are enough to facilitate Norwich in 90, as the main issue is the sheer number of trains on the line preventing anything. Still why let facts stop you in publishing your article.

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • It takes nearly as long to get from Norwich to London as it does london to Liverpool. Now count the miles which certainly aren't the same.

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    KeithS

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • And another thing. A class 57 is not bothered by overhead line failures, or signal failures, they have state of art radio and eCrMtS or whatever, we are coming through... Clearly technically the best loco in EA ... No competition. Might pick up the odd class 90 when they break down regularly...

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    Dave01

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Just let DRS run the show....perfectly ...or Virgin who are the best in customer service.... 2 horse race IMO...

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    Dave01

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Meanwhile the Norwich to YarmouthLowestoft lines will be left as nostalgic nods to the last century.

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    One Horse Town

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Moosey, not having a go at you mate...if you had the choice what would you pick? 57 or 156? Given the false remit of 3p in Pound... If I were DRS I would be tempted to bid for this franchise and link to MNR and NNR, these will go micro franchise in time... Pure logic.. A very perfect opportunity to put a rail wise company in charge... Sorry just wishful thinking ...... If I had all the fares I would make it Dave01railways, probably the best railway In the world....

    Report this comment

    Dave01

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • Also One Horse Town nobody cares about Yarmouth or Lowestoft. It is far more important that Norwich - Cambridge and Liverpool St get much required work.

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Much of this report has been published before, and can we believe the forecasts made such as the 90 minute Norwich - London service? Experience shows that these forecasts are totally unreliable. Yarmouth and Lowestoft are major towns and yet plod on as they have since the 1950s, when there were regular through services to London, the Midlands and the North together with stations that looked cared for. The Lowestoft - Ipswich services are far too slow despite the vast amount of money spent at Beccles. As for the important Norwich to Liverpool route, will the Ely project really make any major difference to this poor quality slow cramped two carriage train service.

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    Port Watcher

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • It takes nearly as long to get from Norwich to London as it does london to Liverpool. Now count the miles which certainly aren't the same.

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • The work at Ely, of course, is to restore the flexibility that the track layout permitted before it was "rationalised". This was also the situation with the Beccles improvements. Strange how undoing the mistakes of earlier times now costs such huge amounts. As far as Norwich-London is concerned all the attention is on achieving the holy grail of 90 minutes, but isn't it more impoortant that the service be reliable. Electrification was hailed as wonderful because it brought the time down to under 2 hours - but any advantage was quickly lost by making more of the trains make more intermediate stops. There is also an economic argument that bringing that time down further will result in more of Norfolk becoming London commuter belt, with property becoming even more unaffordable. Yarmouth and Lowestoft certainly deserve better services, and indeed had them 50 years ago!

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    Railwatcher

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • I hope the train 'operator' A-dismal-o are not given any of this money. Foreign companies already rip off far too much money from us Brits.

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    Tractorboy

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • As a frequent train user from The East coast, I was impressed at how full the Cambridge Norwich evening train was last week, people do use trains! Norwich in 90 is only achievable if it doesn't have to keep slowing down, extra rail capacity should help... As for YH and LT the only good trains we have are the DRS ones, the others 153s, 156s are just old buses on wheels. Although on a Sunday we had a 170 with air conditioning, albeit too warm. New trains please or let DRS have the franchise. IMO.

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    Dave01

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Dave01 - DRS are a freight company have loaned Greater Anglia some coaches whilst they overhaul the 153156 fleet. They only have about half a dozen passenger coaches which they use for staff train and contracts like this. If they took the franchise they would still need the 153156 fleet!

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    User Removed

    Monday, March 31, 2014

  • Dave01 - you have no idea what you are talking about. Go back to train spotter forums and join the other disillusioned morons in fantasy land, and let someone who lives in the real world sort the mess here out. I'd pick a properly refurbished 153 or 6 any day over kanckered old mk2's ready for razor blade factory

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    User Removed

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  • 90 just isn't achievable with the current high utilisation of the tracks. They are full between colchester and liverpool st, there is no scope for more trains or faster trains, unless we replace all the stock? And that would be ALL trains, not just the Norwich - London Intercity sets but the commuter EMUs as well which share the lines.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Monday, March 31, 2014

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

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