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Network Rail sets out need for level crossing closures and major work to a swing bridge in Norwich to increase rail speed and capacity

PUBLISHED: 14:12 05 November 2014 | UPDATED: 14:16 05 November 2014

Network Rail has set out a detailed blueprint of what needs to be done to improve speed and capacity on our rail links

Network Rail has set out a detailed blueprint of what needs to be done to improve speed and capacity on our rail links

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Network Rail has published a blueprint for what needs to be done to speed up trains and increase their frequency - including setting out the major work that would need to be carried out on a swing bridge on the outskirts of Norwich.

Network Rail’s main options

Among the potential options for the Great Eastern main line identified in the study are:

Upgrading track, signalling and overhead line equipment to increase the speed on the line.

Closing level crossings

Adding new platforms at Liverpool Street

Upgrading signals so more trains can run on the existing network

Double the Trowse swing bridge to help increase capacity from Norwich to London, as well as from Norwich to Cambridge

Building a new track at Haughley Junction and Witham to separate passenger and freight services to speed up services

Doubling the Felixstowe branch line to accommodate the forecast increase in freight services

Studies show that within a decade, demand for rail travel on the Great Eastern Main Line into Liverpool Street from stations in Suffolk and Norfolk is expected to grow by 32pc. While demand for freight trains is expected to grow at around 2.9pc each year on average over the next three decades.

Click here to read the full report

The study, published today by the rail infrastructure firm, looks at what needs to be done to provide more and faster trains.

None of the options set out in the study have been given crucial Government cash yet, but the document will help make the case for a bigger slice of the sought after pot of rail cash.

Its publication comes as the business case for an upgrade to the line has landed on the Chancellor and Transport secretary’s desks.

The Great Eastern Rail Taskforce report claims that a £467m investment in the line could reap a £4.5bn economic boost to the region’s economy.

It warned that without investment, growth would be stifled, our services would be run into the ground and passengers would be “condemed” to “at least another decade of misery”.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “The lines out of Liverpool Street are already benefitting from a significant programme of investment over the next five years, but there is more we will need to do to keep up with the continuing growth in demand for rail travel.

“Over the last twenty years the industry has been able to massively increase the frequency of services, but we’re fast approaching the point where there simply isn’t any more space for more trains on the busiest parts of the network.

“We have to look at ways of increasing the capacity of our network further, including new technology to allow more trains to run on existing tracks, and perhaps building new tracks in key locations. It is fantastic that more and more people want to travel by train and we want to provide the railway to take them where they are going.”

Consultation on the draft Anglia Route Study is open until February 3 2015.

Once complete, the final plan will be published next summer and will be used by the Department for Transport to plan funding period from 2019 to 2024.

To comment on the study please email AngliaRouteStudy@networkrail.co.uk

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