The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP) has led a long campaign under the ‘Norwich in 90’ banner.

This headline aspiration, however, is still a long way off and depends on undertaking the perfect blend of measures on a line already operating at capacity. Stakeholder consultations are underway for both the new Greater Anglia franchise (from 2016) and Network Rail’s Anglia Route Study (informing its programme from 2019-2024). It is crucial that the DfT ‘gets it right’ in both cases.

On the franchise, Railfuture will want to see new rolling stock to inter-city (2+2 seating) standard with catering and free Wi-Fi throughout the train (we cannot allow a repeat of the class 700 fiasco!) We will also demand more and newer trains on connecting branch services, many of which are overcrowded as a result of rising demand. Whilst the premium expected from the franchise is being reduced to allow the successful bidder enough financial freedom to invest in rolling stock, this must also compensate for the over-bidding for the current short franchise, which impacted maintenance and so contributed to poor performance, and for the transfer of the income-generating West Anglia inner and GE metro services to TFL and Crossrail.

In the next control period, Railfuture will want Network Rail to provide:
  • More track between Colchester and Shenfield to path fast trains around stopping services and freight trains
  • Passing facilities at Haughley
  • Doubling of Trowse bridge outside Norwich
  • Additional platforms at both Norwich and Ipswich where the current layout creates conflicting moves which impact on performance and restrict options for connecting services.
Railfuture has submitted a full list of improvements to the DfT covering all services included in the Anglia Franchise and will be submitting evidence to the Anglia Route study in the coming weeks.

The vision for railways in the region is described in “Once in a generation – a Rail Prospectus for East Anglia” which is currently being updated.

New Anglia LEP press release welcoming Chancellor's support for the Norwich in 90 rail campaign.

DfT announcement accepting the recommendations of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce.

Photograph by Joshua Brown, reproduced under Creative Commons license.