Harlow residents urged to support for greater investment in rail line

Politics / Wed 1st Oct 2014 at 12:27pm

WITH just weeks to go before a crucial report is handed to Government, train passengers from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are being urged to show their support and sign up to the Great Eastern Rail Campaign.

The campaign which is led by New Anglia LEP, the region’s MPs, Abellio Greater Anglia and supported by the South East LEP and local business groups, is calling for greater investment in the London to Norwich rail line.

At the end of October the Great Eastern Rail Taskforce will be handing a detailed report into Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, outlining the strong economic and business case for investment.

The report will include signatures and comments from prominent business leaders plus the number of supporters who have signed up online. So far over 800 businesses, rail passengers and commuters have joined the campaign, but with only 20 days left to register every additional supporter is crucial.

George Kieffer, South East LEP Vice Chair said: “As we near a critical deadline for the campaign it is vital the transport secretary hears the message loud and clear that the three counties of Norfolk Suffolk and Essex are behind us and behind a better more reliable train service for this region. We want to encourage local businesses to sign up today to make sure their voice is heard, every click counts!”.

Jamie Burles, managing director of Abellio Greater Anglia said: “We have a crucial opportunity to secure major investment and further upgrades for the Great Eastern Main Line. Decisions taken over the next few months will fundamentally affect the level of improvements to both infrastructure and rolling stock over the next five to ten years.

“The significant re-fresh we will deliver for the intercity trains on the Norwich to London route in the next two years is an important first step, but it is only that. We need everyone’s support for this campaign to help build the case for major enhancements and ensure our region and railway receive the investment they deserve.”

The purpose of the report is to outline to Government, the key rail investment requirements to improve the GEML in time for the new long-term tender for rail franchises announced in 2015.

If Government agrees to the additional investment the new provider will have the responsibility to implement the improvements and deliver faster and better trains meaning passengers can travel to Norwich in 90 minutes, Ipswich in 60 and Colchester 40 minutes.

Once the report has been handed in, the work of the Great Eastern Rail Campaign will continue in ensuring that the recommendations of the report are funded and delivered.

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