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2 July 2012, 00:00 | Updated: 2 July 2012, 17:22
A major new plan to improve rail services in Suffolk, Norfolk and across the East of England is being launched today.
MPs and other agencies from across East Anglia are living us a first look at the plan that they are calling 'The East Anglian Rail Prospectus.'
It presents the strategic and economic case for long-term investment to improve the region’s rail network. It has been co-authored by a multi-agency group including regional MPs, Local Enterprise Partnerships, County Councils, Rail Passenger Groups and Train Operating Companies.
The launch will mark the start of a campaign to make the strongest possible case for improvements to be made to the region’s rail network.
The call for the improvements includes:
LEPs including New Anglia have commissioned detailed technical analysis of the region’s economy and rail infrastructure being for the East Anglian Rail Prospectus, which will now be put to Ministers at the Department for Transport.
The launch will be followed on Tuesday 3rd July by a Westminster Hall Debate on East Anglian rail led by Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, and will finish in a presentation of the Prospectus to the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening on Wednesday 4th July.
Chloe Smith MP for Norwich North (Norfolk) comments:
"This prospectus shows four counties working together to try to achieve something big. East Anglia's rail needs long term improvement and we make reasonable asks.
"We think we can secure improvements over the long term, starting through this united front. It is a once in a generation chance to make the case and make it big.
"We are asking for a fair deal for East Anglian rail. The items in this prospectus will help our economy and all passengers in Norwich, Norfolk and the East, over the next 20 years.
"We want the department for Transport, Network Rail and bidders for future franchises to sit up and listen to our passengers, and to give us now the framework we need for the future.
"We are passionate about gaining investment into East Anglia."
Elizabeth Truss MP for South West Norfolk said:
“‘Infrastructure is key to the future prosperity of the British economy. Investment in our rail networks will put the UK on the right tracks for growth and job creation. Projects like the Ely North Upgrade will enable a twice hourly service from King’s Lynn to King’s Cross, open up capacity on the Norwich to Cambridge line, and more frequent services from Ipswich to Peterborough. It will sustain rail freight on three local routes (Felixstowe-Nuneaton, Ipswich-Peterborough, and Norwich-Cambridge) as well as linking the high growth innovation clusters in Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich. ”
George Freeman MP for Mid-Norfolk comments:
“With Cambridge better linked to Norwich and Ipswich, at the heart of the Eastern Region economy, we have the potential for the whole region to be an innovation ‘cluster’ driving the UK’s economic recovery with a wave of high growth businesses and high quality local jobs. Our area can deliver a new model of ‘rebalanced’ economic growth led from the regions and financed by the City, rather than the other way around. But we will never build a modern 21st century economy on 19th century infrastructure; fast rail links between our cities and the City, airports like Stansted and Norwich and innovation hubs are essential to an innovation economy.”
Ben Gummer MP for Ipswich (Suffolk) said:
“This is a very important moment for the future of Ipswich and Suffolk. The investment outlined in this document is critical to our future growth. Now we need to make it happen”
Therese Coffey MP for Suffolk Coastal comments:
“Investing in East Anglia will benefit residents locally and the economy nationally. Connecting our economic hubs, moving freight onto rail and improving our branch line service alongside better ticketing, new trains and smarter stations will make a huge difference to people in Suffolk.”