1. ITV Report

"Regional stakeholders" asked to push for better rail

Greater Anglia says there is a "window of opportunity" to secure rail improvements Photo: ITV Anglia

Greater Anglia is asking MPs, businesspeople and rail groups to help push for major improvements to the region's rail network.

The train operator has asked 200 "regional stakeholders" to write to the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to highlight three priority areas for upgrades on the Norwich to London and Cambridge to London routes. They specifically want reduced journey times, additional track capacity just north of Chelmsford, and an extended third track from Stratford to Enfield.

The ORR is currently consulting on Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan for 2014 to 2019. Submissions are due in by 19 February, before the plans are finalised and approved in the autumn. Greater Anglia says there is a window of opportunity to secure a commitment to improvements in the East before the business plan is agreed.

“We are already doing what we can in the short term to upgrade services… but this is a vital chance for us all to try and secure the additional infrastructure enhancements on the GEML and West Anglia routes we all wish to see, sooner rather than later - to the benefit of customers, communities and the economy across our region.”

– Ruud Haket - Managing Director, Greater Anglia

It comes ahead of the East Anglia Rail Summit on Thursday. Politicians, commuters, train operators, and business and rail groups from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire will meet in Westminster to discuss how they can take forward the region's rail campaign.

Tom Barton reports...