£13.1 million funding approved for next phase of the Ely scheme to increase capacity for passenger and freight services
Ministers have approved £13.1 million of funding for the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement programme that will increase the frequency of services from King’s Lynn to King’s Cross and deliver wider benefits across the area.
This funding will be used to progress the development of an Outline Business Case for proposals to enhance capacity on the rail network in the Ely Area where five train lines converge.
Th programme will improve connectivity and reliability for passenger services and provide additional capacity to meet demand for more rail freight between the Port of Felixstowe, the West Midlands and the north to support sustainable, long-term economic growth.
The Department for Transport will now lead this work with Network Rail, ensuring that other interested parties such as the Ely Taskforce Group are consulted. The Outline Business Case will consider options for intervention and serve to provide detailed analysis of the project’s costs, benefits, and value for money, as a basis for further decisions.
Commenting on the funding announcement, James said:
“I’ve campaigned for better rail services for North West Norfolk and this is an important step in delivering improvements to unlock more regular services between Lynn, Cambridge, and London. Investing in rail connections is an important part of the government’s agenda to boost growth across the country.
Improving capacity at this bottleneck will bring benefits to existing passengers and businesses as well as attract new investment to drive long-term growth in the local area.”
Since being elected, James has been working with Liz Truss MP, along with other Norfolk MPs, to make the case for these enhancements. In February, they met the Chancellor to make the case for funding the next phase to refine the options. In May 2020, James met with the Rail Minister to review the Strategic Outline Business Case that Network Rail developed and to underline the strategic importance of these plans for West Norfolk and the wider region.
Following a meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July, the Rail Minister has written to James confirming the funding to refine the options under consideration into a preferred option and produce an Outline Business Case in order to unlock funding for design and consents work.