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New Government plans to invest £9 billion in rail services have been given the go-ahead - and some of the money is going to be spent in East Anglia.
The money will be spent on a key junction north of Ely in Cambridgeshire and that should improve services on the London - King’s Lynn line, and between Ipswich and Norwich across to Peterborough and Cambridge.
The extra service is planned to minimise current congestion on the trains, and will help to reduce congestion in the region that will result from population growth.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening spoke out about the improvements across the country:
“Investments on this scale, in every region of the country, shows how this coalition government is focused on delivering an affordable, reliable and faster railway network that drives jobs and growth.These plans to increase capacity and shorten journey times on intercity, commuter and freight services are, alongside our plans for high speed rail, absolutely key to securing our country’s prosperity in the decades ahead.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“From Crossrail, high speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this government is committed to taking the long term decisions to deliver growth and jobs. In what is the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era this investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world class rail network.”
Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, has welcomed the announcement today saying: “I am delighted at the announcement that the Ely Bottleneck is to be unblocked. This is great news for Brandon and I am delighted that the Transport Secretary has listened to the needs of Brandon and East Anglia. This decision will help address historically low transport investment in the area. Preparation is due to start immediately, and building will start in 2014; I know this will be welcomed by my constituents in Brandon who will finally have access to the kind of rail service they deserve, that can connect the town twice an hour to the rapid growth and jobs in Cambridge, and move the town forward."
Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, who has been leading the Greater Anglia Rail Campaign and today said:
"The Ely North investment is a crucial early element of the East Anglian rail improvements which we need for the next twenty years. It opens up many lines including for business investment, freight and leisure passengers. The campaign continues to secure accompanying longer term improvements on the other key lines through East Anglia, such as the Norwich-London mainline. I led the political alliance across four counties for a full East Anglian prospectus because rail links places and rail demands long term thinking. We speak with one voice across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex for improvements in addition to Ely North, which will gain us faster journey times, better quality trains, more reliable services and decent infrastructure."