Chamber takes steps to improve Norfolk rail services
Once again yesterday Norfolk rail commuters suffered a rotten journey to London from Norfolk with 16 Norwich to Liverpool Street services cancelled. Business passengers heading to London were hit by major disruptions. This was due to a line problem close to Liverpool Street which led to a reduced service to and from London with trains delayed or cancelled. The problem was caused by a broken rail and although Network rail started to work to fix the points at 10.30am, services did not return to normal until about 4pm.
Norfolk businesses need better infrastructure if they are to compete and run their businesses effectively. Norfolk Chamber members are playing a significant part in the Norfolk campaign to improve the rail services from Norwich and Kings Lynn as the effective movement of people and goods is key to business growth. So what is currently happening to make a difference?
As you aware, Abellio have taken over the Greater Anglia franchise which will run until summer 2014 when a new franchise will be let. In addition to lobbying government, as to what business wants to see included in the new franchise, Norfolk Chamber is also talking to the rail operators and Ruud Haket MD Greater Anglia will at presenting his thoughts about the future of our railway at the Norfolk Chamber's Norwich Networking breakfast on 22nd June and listening to what business wants. We would encourage as many businesses as possible to come to this event as the business voice needs to be seen and heard!
Norfolk Chamber is also working with Norfolk County Council on two studies they are undertaking, with other local authorities and partners, looking at the improvements needed to rail services.
One study covers the west of the County including the Norwich to Cambridge line and the King’s Lynn to London line. Consultants have considering passenger demand in the context of housing, jobs growth and improved services. The next stage of the study will be a wider economic benefits study.
The key infrastructure blockage is Ely north junction with a series of single tracks that limit its capacity. An improvement scheme is estimated to be about £25m and Network Rail is carrying out some work to define exactly the extent of the improvement scheme and how and when it might be funded.
The second study is looking into how the agreed journey time reductions and capacity enhancement can be delivered on the Norwich to London line. The Chamber is part of the ‘Norwich in 90’ campaign with partners both public and private and of course our local MPs led by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.