Plans to tackle railway bottleneck: Norfolk people urged to have say

Ely railway

An aerial view of the railway at Ely. - Credit: Network Rail

People across Norfolk have been urged to have their say on plans to tackle a railway bottleneck, with council leaders saying it could improve train services and boost the county's economy.

Network Rail’s second round of public consultation to increase rail capacity through Ely started this week.

Lines from north, south, east and west all meet at Ely, in Cambridgeshire, including services from Norwich and King's Lynn.

The rail infrastructure owner and operator says the system is at full capacity and has £22m in funding to draw up plans and consult on them.

Last year, there was consultation over changes at Ely North Junction, and attention has now switched to Ely South.

The six-week consultation includes changes to track and platforms at Ely station, upgrades for bridges and a level crossing closure.

Ely South Plan

Illustrative plan showing key rail infrastructure feature in the Ely south area - Credit: Network Rail

Network Rail says the programme could increase the number of off peak passenger and freight trains in each direction form 6.5 trains per hour in each direction to 10 per hour in each direction, including extra trains between King's Lynn and London.

And Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, urged people to respond to the consultation.

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Simon Parkin

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He said: “We fully support investment to help break the bottleneck at Ely which at the moment severely restricts the number of trains that can run from King’s Lynn to London, and from Norwich to the west.

"This crucial scheme has the potential to increase rail capacity, improve connectivity, provide a potential uplift in passenger services and support the rail freight industry, all of which are even more important than ever as we want Norfolk’s, and the region’s economy as a whole, to emerge as strongly as possible from the effects of the pandemic.

"We’ll be looking closely at the consultation and will be making a carefully considered response to the proposals and options that have been published this week and I’d urge others to do the same.”

Further public consultation is planned later in 2021 over the remodelling of the track layout at Ely North junction.

Due to coronavirus, Network Rail is hosting the consultation consultation at