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Suffolk and Norfolk MPs get rail bottleneck action promise

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Suffolk and Norfolk MPs meet with the secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling
Suffolk and Norfolk MPs meet with the secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling

The Secretary of State for Transport has committed his department to unblock a crucial rail bottleneck into Suffolk and Norfolk.

MPs from the two counties met secretary of state Chris Grayling today to discuss Ely North rail junction, a key railway intersection into and out of East Anglia.

The meeting secured a crucial commitment from the Department for Transport to address the blockages at this key intersection by including it in the Department’s national infrastructure projects.

MPs were joined at the meeting by members of both the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and the New Anglia LEP, as well as key local councillors and members of the freight industry.

The commitment to include it in Control Period 6 (CP6) could see plans underway as early as 2019, delivering vital upgrades of the rail junction with associated work on the roads and level crossings in the Ely area,

Speaking after the meeting, Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill said: “The purpose of this meeting with the Secretary of State was to put forward the overwhelming business case for improvements at Ely Junction.

“His response ‘we will do it’, is a job well done.”

The next stage is to ensure accurate costings are with the Department at the earliest point.

East Anglia’s representatives argue blockages at Ely North obstruct economic growth across the eastern region and create lengthy commuter delays.

Mrs Churchill added: “Having secured the green light for funding, it is now the job of myself and colleagues to fight to ensure these vital improvements at Ely Junction are delivered.”

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said: “It’s important to relieve a bottleneck for rail transport in Suffolk and the rest of East Anglia.

“Faster rail journeys and more trains make good sense and will benefit us locally. I have been campaigning to bring improvements to this problematic junction for some time. Chris Grayling met with East Anglian MPs to discuss the issue and I am pleased that the Department for Transport has taken the decision to unblock the bottleneck at Ely junction – the effects will be considerable.”

Thetford MP Liz Truss tweeted: “Delighted that Transport Sec will upgrade Ely North in CP6 (2019-2024). Vital for half hourly services to Thetford and Downham Market.”

She added that she would seek a start on the work as soon as possible.