MPs Elizabeth Truss and Henry Bellingham meeting Transport Minister to push for rail upgrade at Ely which would have �22m economic boost for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire
Half-hourly trains from King's Lynn, Watlington and Downham Market to Cambridge on the agenda
Upgrading a railway junction to allow more frequent services into Norfolk which would have a �22m benefit to the local economy should be part of a new franchise agreement, claim county MPs.
Elizabeth Truss, who represents South West Norfolk, and Henry Bellingham, North West Norfolk, will be meeting the Minister of State for Transport, Simon Burns, on Tuesday to keep up pressure on the Ely North Junction upgrade which, they claim, would have a massive impact across the region.
Estimates by consultants MottMacdonald have put economic growth for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire at �22m over 60 years if more trains were able to service key areas and drive investment,
The two Norfolk MPs will be pressing the Minister on the Thameslink franchise and ensuring the �25m upgrade of the Ely North Junction happens as soon as possible.
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The move would see half-hourly trains connecting King's Lynn to Cambridge and on to London, instead of the current hourly service. It would also allow more capacity on the Norwich to Cambridge line.
They wrote a joint letter with Norfolk MP George Freeman and Cambridgeshire MP Stephen Barclay to the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin highlighting that in July the then Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening confirmed the junction would be upgraded.
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Earlier in the year Ms Truss met Network Rail and it had confirmed that while the work is expected to be finished in 2014/15, it would be more likely to happen once the extra services were specified in the franchise agreement, and the necessary rolling stock confirmed.
She also called for the retention of Downham Market's ticket office to be part of the new franchise agreement.
'Upgrading Ely North Junction is an infrastructure project that will generate jobs, growth and promote future prosperity for the region. I will be highlighting to the minister the importance the Thameslink franchise, which will specify the extra services and rolling stock, will have to the region and that the upgrade to Ely North Junction needs to take place as soon as possible,' said Ms Truss.
The upgrade would benefit the Kings Lynn to Cambridge, Norwich to Cambridge and Ipswich to Peterborough, lines.
Consultation on the future franchise for the King's Lynn line closed in August and both a Thameslink and East Coast option were put forward. The line is currently operated by First Capital Connect and the new franchise will be in operation from late next year.