Work to cure rail bottleneck moves step closer
Long awaited work to clear a major bottleneck on the region's railways has moved a step closer.
Lines from the north, south, west and east all meet at Ely North Junction.
A feasibility study two years ago found improvements would enable more frequent services to run on the King's Lynn to London and Norwich to Cambridge lines, bringing an expected £1bn annual boost to the region's economy.
Now the government has announced it has decided to develop the Ely North scheme.
That means it will plan how the work might be carried out and develop a more detailed business case.
South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss who has led the campaign to secure the upgrade of the Ely North rail junction said: "I am extremely pleased to note that Ely is viewed as a scheme to develop.
"Obviously the final costings and design work need to be completed but this is a critical junction in East Anglia serving a multiple of routes and the sooner we progress this scheme, the benefits will be substantial for all.
"Increased services on both the Thetford and Downham Market lines, improved freight connectivity, are vitally important for a thriving economy. I have been working with colleagues, local councillors and business groups to secure this upgrade and will continue to maintain the pressure to see the scheme delivered." There are three level crossings along half a mile of road at Queen Adelaide, where lines leave the junction.
Around 5,000 vehicles a day use the road through the village. But 3,000 new houses are due to be built around Ely, which will increase traffic to an estimated 8,000 a day.
Officials say a new bridge or underpass will be needed as part of the scheme, as more frequent trains will increase the amount of times the crossings are closed, causing gridlock.
Work is under way to allow longer trains to run between King's Lynn and Cambridge to ease congestion on the busy Fenline.
Platforms are being extended at Waterbeach and Littleport, while a new siding is being built at King's Lynn to store extra carriages.