£450m Needed For Rail Improvement

A major new report says almost half a billion pounds in investment is needed on the main train line from Norfolk and Suffolk into London if the region's economy is to grow.

Campaigners from the Great Eastern Rail Campaign - which is made up of MPs, passengers and businesses in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex - are calling for upgrades to rolling stock, as well as faster and more reliable journeys.

In its report it says investment in the Great Eastern Mainline could bring more than £4 billion into the region's economy as well as creating more than 200,000 new jobs.

The line travels from Norwich to London, via Suffolk. The group says improvements could lead to more than 8,000 new jobs in Norwich and almost 10,000 in Ipswich alone.

Mike Pendleton is the chair of the group and told Heart new investment is key: "This rail line really is the golden thread that runs right through our economy and without it we're going to do ourselves out of inward investment, jobs and a lot of other opportunities our economy needs and deserves.

"There is a real momentum behind this and it's really exciting and I think if we miss this opportunity now we will be consigning this line to underinvestment for years to come."

The report is the culmination of two years of work by the group to convince the Government it should invest more in rail services in the Eastern region and it will now be given to the Chancellor.

Mr Pendleton has this message for George Osbourne: "You, Chancellor, invest more than £476 million. That can reap economic potential worth £4.5 billion - more jobs, more housing. Support growth and we will continue to be the net contributor that we have been."

It is hoped the Chancellor will make announcement about potential investment in his Autumn Statement.

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