Contact us: Andy Tyler (Secretary)
Tel: 07803 459 043, e-mail: fluasecretary [at] flua.org.uk
67, Goodwins Road, KING'S LYNN, Norfolk, PE30 5PE

Friday 5 February 2016 - The Cambridge News reports that Cambridge City Deal chiefs consider the re-building of the former line to Haverhill to be "too pricey," though a public consultation on transport plans will follow later in the year. City Deal board chairman Councillor Lewis Herbert tells the paper: "While we don't currently have the resources to fund major rail projects, we are determined to see rail take a bigger share of the travel to work journeys in Greater Cambridge. For example, we met Network Rail and our two MPs recently to press the case for an Addenbrooke's station as an essential addition and alternative to more car journeys. The Greater Cambridge City Deal is determined to support further radical and innovative rail improvements as part of devolution discussions. This will ensure we use rail as one of the quickest, efficient ways to travel and develop more projects with Network Rail and the train operating companies where railways can make a real difference." The paper reveals that a report to the Greater Cambridge City Deal Executive Board by Graham Hughes (Cambridgeshire County Council's Executive Director, Economy, Transport and Environment) states [paragraph 20]: "While there is considerable public interest in re-opening the [Haverhill] railway line, even at its higher value the benefit to cost ratio is significantly lower than that for other rail projects being pursued such as Cambridge North station, the Wisbech line re-opening, Soham station, and East-West Rail." [These projects have likely potential linkages to the delayed Ely North Junction scheme].

Tuesday 2 February 2016 - Today the Ely News reports that a Councils' Soham Station Project Group has been set up, saying "The Soham Railway Station Joint East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC)/Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) Project Group will 'receive and share updates on the progress of Soham railway station as the scheme progresses' and revealing that "he county and district councils have reaffirmed their commitment to developing the business case to bring a railway station back to the town – despite the fact plans to upgrade the Ely North Junction have been postponed." The newspaper adds: "It was in December [2015] that Network Rail announced that the Ely North Junction will not be upgraded until at least 2019. The upgrades were due to be finished in the current spending round, which runs until 2019, however Network Rail announced that the work will take place in the next spending period, which runs from 2019 until 2024." [Soham is situated on the line between Ely and Bury St Edmunds, not on the Fen Line itself; the new station proposal is linked to Network Rail's Ely to Soham doubling scheme, which, in turn, is closely linked to the delayed Ely North Junction project.]

Tuesday 2 February 2016 - Concluding his speech to the Annual Conference of the Rail Delivery Group today, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin speaks about the Government's aims for rail: "For an industry that was in decline for so long, our objective is to make Britain’s railway the equal of any in the world. It will take several Parliaments to achieve. But it will be this Parliament. And this period of opportunity. When the future course of the railway is irreversibly set." The Transport Minister continues "So now is the time to show the industry is changing. ... Putting customers first." [These words are from Mr McLoughlin's published notes. We cannot imagine he would have omitted "putting customers first"! Though there are many layers of customers in the current rail industry (including freight train operators) when it comes to the passenger railway, along with the taxpayer, it is the fare-paying passenger, using the railway to get to and from work or for business journeys or for leisure trips, who is the ultimate customer.]

Tuesday 2 February 2016 - Govia Thameslink Railway has today issued a statement 'Modernising our stations' which states: "At Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink, we want to modernise the way we operate approximately 80 of our busier stations for the benefit of passengers, many of whom now buy their tickets online, or use Oyster, contactless and smartcards." [Regular travellers will have seen the smartcard readers now installed at GTR Fen Line stations and due to go live later this year]. The proposals, which are at an early stage, would affect King's Lynn station, which is listed as one of those stations which "still rely heavily on ticket offices as well as the ticket machines ... At these stations we propose to relocate the ticket selling equipment to a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse, but still able to sell the full range of tickets from the first to the last train; we will also staff the ticket office window at peak times to manage the demand; at these stations we propose to move people out onto the concourse as ‘Station Hosts’ ... [who] will be: visible and available from first service until the last, which is longer than current ticket office hours in many cases; trained in customer service; able to sell tickets and provide information using a new handheld device; helping passengers use the ticket machines." GTR has confirmed to us that Downham Market, the only other staffed station on the Fen Line, is not affected by these proposed changes. Ely and Cambridge stations are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, not GTR.

Tuesday 2 February 2016 - News Editor Allister Webb headlines his article on page 5 of today's print edition of the Lynn News "Newer trains but fewer seats to Lynn." He writes: "Managers of Great Northern have ... admitted the units will have fewer seats for passengers, partly to accommodate improved facilities for disabled travellers. [They] admit there will be around 60 fewer seats available for travellers, particularly due to the installation of accessible toilets." Great Northern also told the Lynn News that "it has also submitted proposals to the Department for Transport to have Wi-Fi technology installed on all its trains." Reporting on a survey which shows passenger levels with Great Northern services had risen by two percentage points to 84 per cent over the past year, the newspaper article points out "But many remain unhappy both with the cost of tickets and insufficient room for passengers on services, with satisfaction rates in those areas of only 40 and 56 per cent respectively." [Great Northern is part of Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Kings Lynn to Kings Cross "Cambridge Express" and other services on the Fen Line, currently operates class 365 trains on the route and intends to replace these with newer class 377 units. Formed with 8 cars, the newer trains have approximately 482 seats, compared to the 542 on an 8-car train formed of two unmodified Class 365s, i.e. 30 fewer seats per 4-car unit].

Monday 1 February 2016 - "Newer, seven-year-old, trains to come into service on West Norfolk line" reports the Lynn News today. The paper says: "Managers of Great Northern, the company which runs most passenger services between West Norfolk and London, say the move will replace trains which have been in service for more than two decades and will improve services to the public. The announcement has also been welcomed by political leaders and transport campaigners in the borough." The class 377 trains will run on King's Lynn-King's Cross services. The Lynn News continues: "The move also follows renewed focus on the standard of rail services to and from West Norfolk in recent months, following Network Rail’s announcement that it was delaying improvement works on the Ely north junction until at least 2019."

Sunday 31 January 2016 - Govia Thameslink Railway starts a demand management trial on "The Key" smartcard, whereby season ticket holders on selected routes will receive a £2 credit for every journey made in the off-peak. The purpose of the trial is to encourage season ticket holders to travel at less busy times of the day. The trial will end on 31 October and the results presented to the Department of Transport. Please note that the trial is being run on Southern and on Thameslink routes and, although it may turn out to be a foretaste of things to come (with "The Key" smartcards being introduced to the Fen Line shortly), Great Northern services are not included in these tests.

Wednesday 27 January 2016 - Great Northern has announced "modern trains from the summer. Class 377 Electrostars with air conditioning, automatic service announcements and the latest in accessibility features for disabled passengers will run on the Cambridge/King's Lynn and Peterborough services to and from King’s Cross. They are being released from the Thameslink route which is getting brand new Class 700 trains and, by the end of the year, will have replaced all the older Class 317 and 321 trains." Great Northern have confirmed to us that the air-conditioned class 377 trains will be running from King's Cross to King's Lynn. Passenger Service Director for Great Northern, Keith Jipps, said: "“We know we need to do more, in particular to improve punctuality, which is why we are working with Network Rail to improve track and signalling and recruiting many more train drivers. We’re also bringing in more reliable, modern trains this summer with air conditioning ....”

Wednesday 27 January 2016 - The "Project 2016: Network Rail delivering improvements across Britain’s railway this year" webpage is issued by Network Rail today. The company launches its a preview of some of the Network Rail improvements taking place across Network Rail’s routes (how Britain’s railway is divided geographically) in 2016: "Anglia - On the Anglia route, which includes the eastern counties, from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to north London and Essex … new stations being built at the north and south ends of the West Anglia Main Line. Cambridge North will provide greater connectivity in Cambridgeshire and relieve the traffic congestion in Cambridge, where nearly 80 per cent of car traffic to the station originates in the north of the city and crosses the central area. The project is due to open in May 2017 [the other new station is at Lea Bridge in Walthamstow]." Kings Lynn-Kings Cross Fen Line trains run along the East Coast Coast Main Line south of Hitchin and (from Royston southwards) their journeys use infrastructure which falls within Network Rail's 'London North East and East Midlands' route.

Wednesday 27 January 2016 - Network Rail has responded to the Freedom of Information request made on Thursday 24 December 2015 by Rupert Moss-Eccardt and asking for an Internal Review into the handing of his earlier request for information about Ely North Junction. NR has released a small number of emails, which are relevant to the delayed project.

Tuesday 26 January 2016 - "Station spur for longer train bid. Work sought before Cambridge opening" reads the headline on page 8 of today's Lynn News. The article, by News Editor Allister Webb, continues "Pressure is building on ministers and industry bosses to find ways of increasing capacity after a key upgrade [that for Ely North Junction] was delayed in November. ... A feasibility study into whether eight-carriage trains can run to and from Lynn, instead of the current four, is being undertaken." [A few 8-car Kings Lynn to Kings Cross trains do run already, the 0610 King's Lynn-King's Cross and the 1814 King's Cross-King's Lynn being examples on Mondays to Fridays, but these services can only stop at Downham Market and Ely stations north of Cambridge, the platforms at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach being too short to accommodate them]. "But, with a new Cambridge North station [also known as Cambridge Science Park station and under construction] due to open next spring, campaigners are calling for a solution to be finalised before then." Andy Tyler, secretary of the Fen Line Users Association, told the Lynn News: “That should be the spur so we can have eight-car trains that stop there. ... If we have longer trains it will relieve the current overcrowding.” The newspaper reports: "Figures last month showed more than 1.6 million passengers used the stations in Lynn, Downham and Watlington during the year to the end of March 2015, up almost seven per cent on the previous year" and points out that "FLUA officials have also backed calls for a new station on the southern edge of Lynn to accommodate demand." The article concludes: "A summit will take place in Downham next month following Network Rail’s decision to halt work on an upgrade to the Ely North junction until 2019. But ministers insist there is money available to expand services by enabling longer trains to run before work on the junction is carried out."

Monday 25 January 2016 - Wisbech could become a 'Garden Town' with 8,000-10,000 new homes - "Garden Town Vision for Wisbech" is the front page story in today's Eastern Daily Press, with pages 18 and 19 devoted to the full story. The Ely Standard also covers the story of the possible major expansion of Wisbech, adding "guarantees of rail and road improvements if Government agrees." Both newspapers report "Behind the scenes negotiations – that have included a visit to the town by a top Government adviser- could lead to the setting up of the Wisbech Development Corporation to deliver the project. Subject to detailed negotiations and ministers agreeing up to £800,000 to fund the corporation, building work could start as early as 2019." A major part of the rationale behind the scheme is easing housing pressure in and around Cambridge - house prices in Wisbech and reportedly around a third of those in Cambridge. Fenland District Council (which, along with Cambridgeshire County Council, the Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and Anglian Water- has commissioned a viability study) believes "the Government’s commitment to provide 'nationally significant infrastructure projects' to support new housing on the scale envisaged could lead to a commitment to re-open the Wisbech to March rail line. The papers reveal that "Fenland Council also believes postponed rail improvements at Ely [the delayed Ely North Junction upgrade] need to be carried out as soon as possible to offer certainty of possible commuting times."

Monday 25 January 2016 - "More progress on Addenbrooke’s station as Heidi Allen pledges to raise it with transport minister" reveals the Cambridge News today. South Cambridgeshire MP Mrs Allen "was among the local leaders to hold a meeting with Network Rail last week, as efforts continue to try and speed up what is unanimously viewed as a key move for Cambridge's transport network" says the newspaper. Mrs Allen told the Cambridge News that following the meeting, "she was left with the impression that a station could be delivered quicker if it could be accommodated on the existing two track infrastructure ... 'Officers at the county council are working with Network Rail at the moment to identify whether the timetable requirements could work on these two tracks, and I understand this work will be completed in a matter of weeks.'" The Cambridge News points out that "More than 10,000 new jobs are due to be created at the Biomedical Campus next to Addenbrooke's over the next 15 years" and reports a spokeswoman from Network Rail as saying "We have been asked by the local MPs and council to look at the possibility of a station in south Cambridge, but we need to assess capacity along the line as it is a busy two-track section, and also consider what infrastructure will be required ... It is early days and we don't yet have a timescale for when these decisions will be made."

Monday 25 January 2016 - "Contractor sought for Ely bypass" announces the Construction Index today. The Ely Southern Bypass road will bridge the King's Lynn-King's Cross line and the Ely-Bury St. Edmunds-Ipswich line to the south of the city, permitting closure of Ely Station (Stuntney Road) Level Crossing. The local government procurement portal site gives further details, estimating a start date for the design and build contract of 31 July 2016 and an estimated contract end date of 30 June 2018.

Sunday 24 January 2016 - "Could Transport for London take over Cambridge's trains into the capital?" asks the Cambridge News. "The Thameslink franchise between Cambridge and London is up for renewal in 2021, with the importance of rail to Cambridge specifically mentioned in the new prospectus [‘A new approach to passenger rail services in London and the south east’]. The DfT also told the News on Friday it had not decided on the boundaries for how far out of the capital this new initiative would go." Rail Future East Anglia chairman Peter Wakefield told the Cambridge News he only expected the new scheme to go as far as Welwyn Garden City and Hertford on the Thameslink line. "The Thameslink long distance services that are being developed, to operate between Cambridge via Gatwick Airport to Brighton and the Kings Lynn to Cambridge and fast to London Kings Cross, will remain with the Govia Thameslink Railway franchise," he added, further saying that "The announcement did mention Cambridge and other fast developing towns and the importance of the railway network to that development."

Saturday 23 January 2016 - "West Norfolk campaigners call for longer trains solution before new Cambridge station opens" reports the Lynn News today. The paper continues: "The opening of a new railway station in Cambridge should be the spur for longer trains to run from West Norfolk to the city and beyond ... A feasibility study into whether eight-carriage trains can run to and from Lynn, instead of the current four, is being undertaken." The new Cambridge North station (also known as Cambridge Science Park station) is due to open on Sunday 21 May 2017 and is currently under construction, and the Lynn News reports: "campaigners are calling for a solution to be finalised before then. Andy Tyler, secretary of the Fen Line Users Association, said: 'That should be the spur so we can have eight-car trains that stop there.'” The newspaper's website points out: "while the impact of the additional stop on timetables is still being assessed, politicians and campaigners are keen to keep up the pressure for service improvements, amid continuing growth in passenger numbers. ... more than 1.6 million passengers used the stations in Lynn, Downham and Watlington during the year to the end of March 2015, up almost seven per cent on the previous year." A summit will take place in Downham next month following Network Rail’s decision to halt work on an upgrade to the Ely North junction until 2019. The Lynn News item concludes: "... ministers insist there is money available to expand services by enabling longer trains to run before work on the junction is carried out."

Friday 22 January 2016 - "£83,000: what you must earn to buy home in city" reports Jon Vane, Politics Corespondent of the Cambridge News, today [page 4]. The paper reveals that the Hometrack report says "a household income of £83,500 is now needed to be able to a secure a mortgage on even an average priced property in Cambridge. MP Daniel Zeichner called the city's housing market 'a nightmare', adding: 'The Government fail to see that what has happened in London is now happening in Cambridge, but we don't have the transport systems to allow people to live further away.' [Passenger growth from the six Fen Line stations north of Cambridge - Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market, Watlington, and King's Lynn - was up by an average 6% in 2014/5 according to official ORR figures - see news item for Tuesday 15 December 2015. We have said before that the massive growth on King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services is greatly down to house prices and we are greatly concerned about intense overcrowding on Fen Line trains both south of and, increasingly, north of Cambridge, as places such as Ely and Downham Market become very popular commuter towns, both for Cambridge and for London.]

Friday 22 January 2016 - written by Jon Vale, "City's new rail station is delayed once more" is the main story on the front page of today's Cambridge News. "Disappointment and frustration has greeted the news that long-awaited plans for a new city railway station have been de-railed again. Network Rail has now confirmed the much anticipated Cambridge North station near the Science Park will not open until May 2017." The newspaper reports that Project Sponsor Rob Fairhead confirmed the news to residents and councillors at a meeting this week. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner told the Cambridge News: "I am extremely disappointed at this further delay to the opening of the new Cambridge North station". The paper's main leader in its opinion column [page 6] remarks: "... the latest hold-up pushes the completion date back more than another year, to May 2017. That is simply not acceptable." Mr Vale's full article continues on page 6, outlining a range of disappointed comments, including those from Cambridge City Council leader and Cambridge City Deal board chairman Councillor Lewis Herbert, who told the Cambridge News: "This latest timetable change was all the more of a surprise because the City Deal councils had a productive meeting with Network Rail and our two city MPs only this Monday about the feasibility of an Addenbrooke's station, and this further slippage wasn't mentioned at all." Councillor Herbert also said: "The sooner we can get Cambridge North delivered, the sooner we can also get progress on a new station south of the city too. The city needs both, and we have further evidence why Network Rail should be fully integrated by government into City Deal transport delivery including Greater Cambridge." Cambridgeshire County Council Executive Director for Economy, Transport and Environment Graham Hughes, told the Cambridge News: "The station will provide a huge boost to the Greater Cambridge area, transforming access to the rail network for much of the city and South Cambridgeshire and providing new links to the many existing and planned jobs in the Cambridge northern fringe." [The current planning situation can be found in the news item below dated Saturday 2 January 2016. Trackside works are under construction - a link to the latest published photograph can be found in one of the news items dated Saturday 16 January 2016 and found below.] ITV coverage of the delays can be found here.

Thursday 21 January 2016 - In conjunction with today's DfT consultation - see news item immediately below - Network Rail Publishes its draft updated Enhancements Delivery Plan (EDP). We are analysing this draft document and will report shortly on those contents which we consider are of particular relevance to Members.

Thursday 21 January 2016 - The Department for Transport publishes today "Network Rail's Investment Programme - The Hendy Report Consultation" [which outlines the background to Sir Peter Hendy's previously published review of rail investment plans for CP5 (2014-2019) - see news item dated Wednesday 9 December 2015] and initiates a consultation on Sir Peter's recommendations, made in his earlier report. The consultation document asks the questions: "Do you have any comments on the projects which have been selected for completion in CP5? Do you consider that other projects, originally scheduled for completion in CP5 but not now planned to be completed in this Control Period, should have been prioritised ahead of the projects identified by the Hendy Report? Do you have any comments on the re-planning process generally? In all cases, please give reasons for the opinions that you express." The document also states: "In formulating their response to the consultation question consultees may find it helpful to consider the following themes: Impact on users: Does the re-plan take appropriate account of passenger needs and passenger experience? Is the approach to freight appropriate in light of the current and projected demand? ... Commitments: In so far as the re-plan may have an impact on any local economic development proposals or the delivery of other dependent schemes, please indicate your views on this and any suggested mitigations." Details of the consultation arrangements are available here; the consultation closes at 2359 on Friday 18 March 2016. Members are invited to send any comments they may have, along with supporting reasons, to Andy Tyler, Secretary before Friday 4 March; the next FLUA Committee Meeting is to be held on Saturday 6 February and any comments received before then will be discussed at that meeting. Individual members may, of course, comment to the Department for Transport directly, using the links posted in this news item.

Thursday 21 January 2016 - The Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) today have jointly published ‘A new approach to passenger rail services in London and the south east’. Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, write in the consultation document: “London’s population is set to rise from 8.6 million today to 10 million by 2030, while the population in the adjacent travel-to-work areas of southeast and eastern England is expected to increase too from 15 to 17 million over the same period. ... our rail network is a shared resource – it carries huge flows of people in and out of the capital to the surrounding region, and it also caters for local journeys to and from regional centres outside of London such as Cambridge, ... For them [centres such as Cambridge] to thrive, access to jobs and housing has to improve." They continue: “Under the published national franchising programme, all the major franchises in the region are due to be re-tendered and specified over the next five years. ... The opportunity presented by this sequence of franchise renewals is vast. The need to support local growth through better rail services is a high priority for all. ... We propose to form a partnership between TfL and the DfT to provide strategic direction for the specification and management of future train operator contracts."

The consultation document also includes the following:

“With growth across London and the South East set to continue, our rail network is essential to providing extra housing and jobs, as well as enhancing people’s quality of life. ... Journeys on rail-based transport in London have almost doubled in the last 25 years. Growth has been particularly strong outside traditional peak hours, as London’s wealth of leisure, retail and cultural attractions draws visitors from across the UK and overseas. Major towns and cities outside London such as Cambridge … have seen similar trends. The railways need to enable people to move easily to, from and within the Capital, and to and from key regional economic centres [such as Cambridge] as well. ...Our railways play a critical role in joining the region together – commuters coming in and out of London are vital for London’s economy, but also critical in the local economies in the areas where they live, supporting town centres and regional services.

“… we propose to establish a partnership between the DfT and TfL that will provide joined-up strategic direction for the specification and management of rail passenger services across London and the South East” - based on three key principles: more frequent services, greater reliability, and high standards of customer service. “This proposal includes the transfer of responsibility from the DfT to TfL for inner suburban rail services that operate mostly or wholly within Greater London, as current franchises fall due for renewal. The DfT will continue to be responsible for outer suburban services [the King’s Cross-King’s Lynn ‘Cambridge Express’ services are part of GTR’s Great Northern ‘outer suburban’ group and would remain responsibility of the DfT].”

Views are now being sought on the proposals, the consultation, which includes a series of questions, closing at 11.45 pm on Friday 18 March 2016.

Thursday 21 January 2016 - Network Rail has confirmed that the new "Cambridge North station won't open until May 2017" reports the Cambridge News today. The newspaper reveals (in an article published on its website) about a meeting held yesterday [Wednesday] and attended by councillors and residents, that "first services are now due to run from the station on May 21, 2017." The North Area meeting also heard that progress had been made on much of the infrastructure on site, and "a decision was due on a new layout for the car park at a planning meeting in March."

Wednesday 20 January 2016 - "Cambridge house prices now outstripping London, says report" quoted in Chris Elliott's article for the Cambridge News today. "House prices in Cambridge shot up at a higher rate than in London last year, a report revealed today. The astonishing leap, reported by land value experts Hometrack in a survey of 20 cities, makes Cambridge the UK's top property hotspot." The paper says that Hometrack spokesman Richard Donnell said: "In the past 12 months, Cambridge has seen the highest annual rate of growth, followed by London, then Bristol." Mr Donnell told the Cambridge News "There's also been a lot of employment growth, in the life sciences and technology sectors, and that is fuelling housing demand. It's also true to say Cambridge is a kind of extension of London, just an hour up the railway line, so house prices are going to reflect that." [We have said before that the massive growth on King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services is greatly down to house prices and we are greatly concerned about intense overcrowding on Fen Line trains both south of and, increasingly, north of Cambridge, as places such as Ely and Downham Market become very popular commuter towns, both for Cambridge and for London].

Monday 18 January 2016 - "Vital Ely North Junction upgrade postponed until at least 2019" reports the journal of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, 'Connected'. The February issue reports [page 9] that the Ely scheme is being delayed "to allow co-ordination with safety critical level crossing works nearby." 'Connected' points out that "Despite this, Network Rail is aware of the strong aspiration of the Department for Transport and local user groups and MPs to see improvements to services on the Cambridge to King's Lynn corridor as soon as practicable." The business magazine continues: "However the news is still a major blow to campaigners' battle for improved services on lines including that from King's Lynn to Cambridge and London and cross-country services through March and Thetford."

Saturday 16 January 2016 - "Extra stop will put more pressure on full trains" is the headline of an article on page 15 of today's Eastern Daily Press, written by the paper's Political Editor Annabelle Dickson. The paper reports on the letter sent this week from Rail Minister Claire Perry to North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham. Ms Perry is reported by the EDP as saying in her letter to Sir Henry: “Passenger numbers between Cambridge and London have grown quickly and faster than forecast. Peak trains are heavily loaded and we are very conscious of the crowding that occurs. King’s Lynn services are already full and adding calls at Cambridge North means we need to explore with GTR how King’s Lynn peak trains can be extended from four cars to eight cars to provide extra capacity.” The article continues: "Sir Henry said that while it was still bad news that the capital improvements to Ely North Junction had been pushed back beyond 2019, there was some good news regarding the introduction of a half-hourly service, and the longer trains."

Saturday 16 January 2016 - Bob Menzies has posted a photograph of construction work at the new Cambridge North station (also known as Cambridge Science Park station) here.

Friday 15 January 2016 - "Cash is available for West Norfolk rail improvements, says minister" reports the Lynn News today [Page 16]. The article, by News Editor Allister Webb, continues: "Money has been put aside to fund improvements to West Norfolk’s rail services, despite delays to a key upgrade of the line, the government says. The claim has been made in a letter from rail minister Claire Perry to North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, which was published yesterday." Rail Minister Claire Perry has written to Sir Henry, who told the Lynn News:“Improving our rail service is one of my key priorities over the course of this Parliament. I will definitely be keeping up the pressure.” Ms Perry has stressed, the Lynn News reveals, that "the [Ely North Junction] upgrade had not been cancelled but would be carried out in the spending period from 2019 to 2024." The Rail Minister writes to Sir Henry, “Because this is later than previously expected, we have set aside funding for Network Rail to look at other ways to provide the infrastructure for increased train capacity and passenger benefits sooner than this.” Her letter is reported by the paper as also stating: "the first phase is for the company to develop plans to lengthen platforms to enable stations to accommodate eight-coach trains, rather than the existing four." Govia Thameslink Railway is committed to introducing half-hourly King's Lynn-King's Cross services from May 2017, and Ms Perry points out: "that depends on Network Rail granting the right to operate it and appropriate infrastructure being in place." The Lynn News article concludes: "Politicians, rail industry bosses and business leaders are due to meet at a summit to be held in Downham next month." [The rail summit meeting, called by South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss to discuss the Ely North Junction works, is being held at Downham Market on 26 February 2016.]

Thursday 14 January 2016 - Reporting on the Ely Southern Bypass road project, "Cambridgeshire County Council are still to submit Business Plan/Study for the construction to the Department of Transport. The original timetable did state the plan would be sent in December 2015" says the Spotted in Ely website today. Mark Cooney, Editor of Spotted in Ely, writes: "Tony Taylorson, PR & Comms for Cambridgeshire County Council told us 'I can confirm that we have been having discussions regarding the business case with the DfT but nothing has changed in terms of the timetable. We are still looking to begin work in the late summer of 2016 and the project should be completed by the end of 2017 subject to weather conditions.'"

Thursday 14 January 2016 - "Cash is available for West Norfolk rail improvements, says minister" reports the Lynn News website today. See item under Friday 15 January 2016 for the article in the printed edition of the Lynn News.

Friday 8 January 2016 - "'We can't afford new rail station' says council" reports today's Lynn News [page 19]. The paper goes on to say that "there are growing calls for a second station to be built on the southern edge of [Kings Lynn] town in a bid to meet the growing demand for travel." Commuter Andrew Ellison had previously proposed a new station in the Hardwick Narrows location [see item dated 1 January 2016]. "Last week Network Rail bosses warned it is likely to take many years to properly assess whether a second station is needed or not. And they suggested that local authorities could help fund the initiative" says the Lynn News, adding that Borough Council Deputy Leader "Alistair Beales said: 'it is difficult to see how a small local authority like the borough council could ever afford the massive investment needed.'" The Lynn News quotes FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson as saying: "Personally, if we're going to develop the NORA site with all the things that are meant to be there and West Winch and North Runcton get all their houses [including the Hardwick Green proposal], then infrastructure to get to the King's Lynn station isn't going to cope. A good out-of-town railhead could save the roads of King's Lynn." [The King's Lynn & West Norfolk Local Plan, adopted in November 1998, envisaged a Lynn South station as well as an additional halt at Hardwick (paragraphs 5.56 and 5.64, Policies 5/31 and 5/36 refer)].

Friday 8 January 2016 - "Proposal to provide an hour's free car parking has been revealed as one of the more favoured options to alleviate parking issues in Downham Market" reports today's Eastern Daily Press [page 52]. Downham Market Town Council is to hold a public consultation event at the Town Hall between 3pm and 8pm on Monday 18 January. The EDP highlights the growing commuter numbers from Downham Market [now Norfolk's fourth most-used station after Norwich, King's Lynn and Diss] saying: "Increasing concerns about car parking in the town has been fuelled by population growth and an increase in commuters parking in car parks to use the direct train line to Cambridge and London." [For those seeking "a home within reach of London" The Commuter Guide website gives train service - "peak trains 2 per hour to King's Cross (plus 1 per hour to Liverpool Street)" - and locality details; season ticket prices from all Fen Line stations can be calculated on the Great Northern and Thameslink website here].

Thursday 7 January 2016 - "Ely railway station upgrade should mean it is now better for passengers" reports the Ely Standard today, "Improvements at Ely rail station should mean the ticket office, waiting room and toilet facilities are now much easier to use for those with mobility issues." Train company Abellio Greater Anglia (AGA) has completed work to create "a better waiting environment for passengers." Paul Stannard, AGA's Area Customer Service Manager, told the newspaper, "Investing in upgrades to stations across the network is extremely important to Abellio Greater Anglia, demonstrating our commitment to providing excellent facilities and service to our customers," adding: "I would like to thank customers for their patience while the work was carried out.”

Tuesday 5 January 2016 - "Second Cambridge railway station 'delayed until May 2017'" says the BBC News today, reporting on the new Cambridge North/Cambridge Science Park station, currently under construction and which will "provide direct services to London, King's Lynn and Norwich." The BBC's website states: "Cambridgeshire county councillor Ian Manning believes the opening will be delayed by another six months, after Network Rail submitted a revised planning application. The company said it was 'reviewing timescales for the project'". A Network Rail spokesman told the BBC: "We have submitted a planning application to the council to make changes to the car park and access road, which is due to be considered by the local authority. We are reviewing timescales for this project and will confirm dates in due course." Supplied by Network Rail to the planning authorities in December 2015, a project timeline can be viewed by clicking on Network Rail's planning application to Cambridge City Council made in May 2015, reference "15/0994/FUL" then on the 'Documents' tab, then on 'Project Timeline' which is listed there as received on 10 December 2015.

Tuesday 5 January 2016 - "Protest staged over rail-fares increases" headlines today's Eastern Daily Press, a full-page article on page 18 stating "Commuters using Norwich, King’s Lynn [Norfolk's two most-used stations] and stations along the Bittern Line [Norwich to Sheringham] were met by Labour activists highlighting ticket prices rises on the first major day back to work [i.e. yesterday]." The EDP spread reports [shadow transport secretary] "Lilian Greenwood highlighted delays to upgrades, including the Ely North junction, which had been due to take place before 2019." The newspaper's first leader [page 30] concludes: "They [commuters] need to see the investment that the government and operators hail so loudly first hand. Until the delays, both to journeys and investment, come to a halt, any acceptance of a fare increase will remain elusive." The full page 18 article continues: "Jo Rust, secretary of the North West Norfolk constituency Labour Party, was among protesters gathering outside King’s Lynn station" - Mrs Rust telling the Eastern Daily Press, "It [the fares increase] is also not reflected in the travel; there are still not enough carriages, the service is infrequent, the trains are dirty, overcrowded and there’s no wifi."

Monday 4 January 2016 - Today's Cambridge News [pages 1 and 6] reveals "A long-awaited railway station at Addenbrooke's will soon be taking major steps forward as the public and private sector look to speed up delivery of a crucial project for tackling Cambridge congestion." Cambridgeshire County Council transport chief Graham Hughes tells the newspaper that, although "any station at Addenbrooke's was "still probably quite a long way away", the County Council and business group 'Cambridge First' are looking at ways in which the station could be brought forward without relying on projects to provide additional track and how it might be funded through the private sector. Already a major employment area, more than 10,000 new jobs are due to be created at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus over the next 15 years. Mr Hughes suggests to the Cambridge News that the station "would likely have to be positioned between two existing road bridges over the railway line near Francis Crick Avenue. It is also likely to be a much smaller station, without the parking and other facilities being built at the new Cambridge North station near the Science Park." Today's paper reports "A new station in the south of the city is not in Network Rail's latest investment plan until 2019, but a spokeswoman said it [Network Rail] was aware of the aspiration for a new station in this location." The Cambridge News' opinion column [page 6] sums up with "Strong case for hospital station."

The new Cambridge North station, currently under construction, is situated on the Fen Line; most Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains currently run non-stop between Cambridge and Kings Cross, past the site of the Addenbrokes/Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the potential "Cambridge South" station. We therefore restate here the Association's primary objectives:

1 replacement of fragile connections at Cambridge to/from Kings Cross in the AM and PM peaks with through King's Lynn trains to/from Kings Cross;

2 relief of the increasing crowding, both south and north of Cambridge, especially between Ely and Cambridge;

3 improved accessibility to emerging clusters of economic and social activity located on or close to the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route;

the third of these being particularly relevant to the Cambridge North station, currently in build, and to the potential "Cambridge South" station.

Monday 4 January 2016 - "Rail passengers in West Norfolk are not seeing improved services in return for increases in their fares, campaigners have claimed" reports the Lynn News today. Representatives from the Lynn and District Trades Council and the North West Norfolk Constituency Labour Party (CLP) staged a protest this morning outside Kings Lynn and Downham Market rail stations, "to urge commuters to contact their MPs to demand changes." The newspaper reports that a King's Lynn-King's Cross annual season ticket now costs £5,524 (up by around £60) and a similar ticket for Kings Lynn to Cambridge costs £2,208, around £25 more than in 2015. CLP Secretary Jo Rust is quoted as saying: “We haven’t seen more carriages, more frequent services or better services. People have to travel further afield to get employment. Rail travel is not a luxury” and the paper reports Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group which represents train operators and Network Rail, as saying "... we are working closer together to deliver better stations, more trains and improved services, and to get more out of every pound we spend.” The Lynn News points out that "Network Rail has also revealed it is examining the possibility of introducing longer trains to the line from Lynn to Cambridge during the coming year." Mrs Rust tells the Lynn News, "We’ve heard it all before. It’s the same noises that we’ve been hearing for a long time. We’re funding their profits.” A similar protest held at Kings Cross this morning was joined by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - he told the BBC that "the increase in rail fares is 'outrageous and unjustifiable'." The protest was nationwide and the Cambridge News reports today that campaigners were also protesting at Ely and Cambridge stations.

Sunday 3 January 2016 - Added today to the Ely News website is a letter from Graham Jones of Ely which covers several points and which states: "It is ... interesting to note that the much vaunted meeting following the delay in the upgrading of Ely North Junction is to be held in Downham Market of all places. Now, with all due respect to that lovely Norfolk town I would have hoped it might have been held here or in Cambridge thus attracting more attention. Maybe that’s the plan folks - keep the objectors away."

Saturday 2 January 2016 - The Cambridge News today unveils changes to the new Cambridge North project. The new station, also known as Cambridge Science Park station, on the Fen Line is currently under construction and the work can be readily seen from passing trains; the revised proposals do not concern that part of the work]. The paper reports that developers of the associated 'CB4' business/shopping/housing project, "Network Rail and Brookgate are bidding to redesign much of the entrance to the proposed Cambridge North station ... Their fresh plans would see the 450-space car park moved next to the railway line, with this move set to make it easier to turn the car park into a multi-storey if residents' fears over a lack of parking materialise." This alteration has become possible following the recent relocation of the aggregates terminal sidings.

[The new planning application can be found under Cambridge City Council reference no. 15/2317/FUL and under South Cambridgeshire Council reference no. S/3102/15/FL. A copy of the associated Planning and Consultation Statement can be found here. The associated Design and Access Statement (four parts) can be found here [part 1], here [Part 2], here [Part 3] and here [Part 4]]. The associated Socio-economic Impact Statement, which can be found here, states on page 11: "Cambridge Science Park Interchange [i.e. Cambridge North station] will significantly enhance public transport accessibility to an area of key private sector enterprise. The interchange will provide opportunity to link the area more closely to both rail services from London and Kings Lynn and bus services from Cambridge City, surrounding market towns and the Cambridge Guided Busway. More specifically, it will link the high tech cluster around the science park with that at the Cambridge Biomedical Research Park at Addenbrooke’s via rail and guided bus services." Please note: the Network Rail 'mirror' application, submitted in May 2015 and approved on 19 August 2015, subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement, can be found here. The original application made by Cambridgeshire County Council and granted in July 2014, can be found here.]

Today's Cambridge News article also shows broad layout plans for both the existing proposal and that which is now being put forward and goes on to say: "A source involved with the project told the 'News' this week that the new station would be finished and open in December or in May 2017." Today's paper also says: "In a further development, city MP Daniel Zeichner has written to both Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire district councils to express concern over the fact the Section 106 agreement for the £44 million new station has not been signed ... [he] warns in his letter dated 21 December 2015 that a hold-up in signing the Section 106 agreement could delay construction of the station."

Friday 1 January 2016 - Today's print edition of the Lynn News headlines as its front page story: "Call for South Lynn to get own rail station." The page 1 article continues: "A new station should be built on the edge of Lynn to help combat road and rail congestion, a West Norfolk commuter has claimed." The paper reports on the ideas put forward by Andrew Ellison, who uses the railway to get to work in Cambridge [see entry for Thursday 31 December 2015 below]. The full story, by News Editor Allister Webb, is on page 9 and contains an aerial photograph showing Mr Ellison's vision for an additional station of the southern edge of King's Lynn. Commenting on the continuing growth at the three West Norfolk stations of Kings Lynn, Watlington and Downham Market, the regular rail commuter "believes the time has come for radical action to meet growing demand and fears it will only get worse if nothing is done, particularly if new housing schemes are given the go-ahead. ... "Something needs to be done before it gets really bad.'" The newspaper quotes Network Rail as saying "it would take several years to fully assess whether a new station was needed." The company, which maintains and upgrades rail infrastructure, reports the paper, is putting the emphasis on longer trains - "Longer trains will make greater impact, say industry bosses."

Elsewhere in today's newspaper [page 53] in a look back at the past year, the article for December records: "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was a visitor to Lynn in early December ... he spoke exclusively to the Lynn News that he would make improvement of the King's Cross line a priority as he thought it was abysmal." Surging Fen Line annual growth of +6% (+5.5% at the two stations south of Ely North Junction and +6.6% at the four stations north of Ely North Junction) meant that 2015 was the year in which Downham Market overtook Great Yarmouth to become Norfolk's fourth busiest station (after Norwich, King's Lynn and Diss). In comparison to the outperforming Fen Line's +6% annual growth, the national average growth over the last year was +4.5%, according to the Office of Rail and Road's estimates.

Thursday 31 December 2015 - "Andrew Ellison, who regularly travels by train from Lynn to work in Cambridge, believes a new interchange is needed in the south of the town to combat congestion" reports the Lynn News. Mr Ellison was speaking after figures showed the number of people using King's Lynn, Watlington and Downham Market station had risen by almost seven per cent in just one year. The paper states: "More than 1.6 million passengers used the three stations in total during the year to the end of March 2015, making West Norfolk one of the fastest growing areas in the country for rail passenger growth. But Mr Ellison said passengers who have to drive to those stations from other parts of the borough are already finding it difficult to use them because of traffic congestion and limited parking." The Lynn News item reveals that Mr Ellison believes a parkway station should be built in the south of the town near the Hardwick Narrows estate, with large car parks and links from all the major roads, and the article shows an aerial photographic view of how such a second Kings Lynn station might be located. A spokesman for Network Rail is quoted as saying: “Our current analysis is that increasing demand can best be met by the introduction of longer trains rather than new stations” and the newspaper points out that "The company [Network Rail] is looking at introducing longer trains to the line during 2016. A report will be presented to the government in the spring."

Tuesday 29 December 2015 - In today's Eastern Daily Press Annabelle Dickson "looks back at the eventful and often unexpected political news of 2015 " [pages 14 and 15]. Under the headline "Infrastructure in the slow lane" she notes "an upgrade to the junction vital to twice-hourly trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge and Norwich and Cambridge was delayed."

Given its strategic significance, not only for the committed half-hourly Kings Lynn-Kings Cross services, but for many other passenger routes and for heavy freight flows, we consider that the junction is question, Ely North Junction, is likely to remain a hot topic on the regional political agenda and we will continue to report media and other coverage on this website, as well as continuing to supply more analytical and in-depth coverage to FLUA members via our newsletter, The Fenman. Click here for membership information.

Monday 28 December 2015 - Train company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has "apologised for cancelling services on one of the busiest post-Christmas shopping days" reports the BBC today. A shortage of drivers on Sunday meant many services were cancelled and the news item reveals a GTR spokesman as saying, ""We rely on drivers working rest days but on this occasion, it has not been possible and for that we apologise ...." GTR also said, ""Currently we have 190 drivers being trained - 96 on Thameslink and 94 on Great Northern - and it takes more than 12 months for them to become proficient on their dedicated routes." King's Lynn-King's Cross services are operated by GTR under the "Great Northern" name.

Monday 28 December 2015 - We refer interested parties to the Freedom of Information Act responses of both the Department for Transport and Network Rail to Mr Moss-Eccardt regarding level crossings at Queen Adelaide and the proposed Ely North Junction upgrade scheme. Below we quote from Network Rail's letter to the Department for Transport dated 22 September 2015.

Writing to the Department for Transport on 22 September 2015, Network Rail states: “... we do recognise the importance DfT and Ministers have consistently placed on improving services on this route and recognise the urgency of these improvements. ... there are a few items of scope within [the] potential scheme that may have significant lead times, for example the possible need for new safe access across the railway at Littleport once 8 car trains are in operation [i.e. those calling at Littleport – 8-car trains operate non-stop through Littleport already], some signalling operations, some platform extensions (in some cases to avoid train trailing back over level crossings) and the need to check through the power supply implications of the longer trains. We will work with yourselves [DfT], ORR and GTR to take this development work forward as quickly as possible. We have already met with GTR for initial discussions with regard to 8 car operation ....”

In the same letter, NR goes on to say “... noting the importance of moving forward with visible improvements for passengers on the route we would propose the following way forward to seek to unlock benefits as soon as possible:

" * Focus initial effort on improved peak services where crowding currently exists and need is greatest – as there are already 2 tph in the peaks today – this effectively means prioritise the peak 8 car scheme.

" * Work together with yourselves [DfT] and local authorities to review the level crossing situation and agree a short, medium, and long term approach to running additional services in the area.

" * In the meantime NR to work with DfT and GTR to review if any options do exist for any additional services within the risk parameters of the crossings in question. This could best be achieved by GTR making a revised proposal that could be tested through our normal TCRAG (Timetable Change Risk Assurance Group) process.”

The NR letter of 22 September 2015 concludes: “The Department [for Transport] have recently established an Anglia Portfolio Board with Network Rail and potentially with operators to further co-ordinate planning, project development and franchising across the different parties in Anglia. The next meeting is in October [2015] and we propose that we cover next steps on all the above at that session.”

Thursday 24 December 2015 - Network Rail replies today to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information Act request regarding level crossings associated with the Ely North Junction upgrade [Ref. FOI2015/01105. See also entries for Wednesday 2 December 2015 and Thursday 26 November 2015]. Network Rail states: "... there is a general public interest in the Ely North Junction scheme, particularly regarding the possible options proposed by Network Rail to resolve the issues relating to the three level crossings immediately north of the Junction. ... It is a matter of public record, following publication of the review by Sir Peter Hendy on the planning of Network Rail’s Investment Programme that safety critical works at the level crossings described in this request, are to be incorporated into the Ely North Junction scheme, which has been postponed from control period 5 to control period 6. Any potential work on the level crossings in question would be considered at pre-development and pre-funding stages, therefore, by disclosing any sensitive related information at this very early stage would be likely to cause harm in terms of unnecessary and unhelpful added pressure to Network Rail and a variety of stakeholders including the Department for Transport. As with lots of other development work, there is a legitimate and valid order of events regarding the important process of community engagement and public consultation. ... Furthermore, in this case, following discussions with colleagues, I understand that there would be public consultation carried out in due course as appropriate. ... If Network Rail were to disclose the requested information it could cause prejudice to third parties in terms of perceived “planning blight”, before such a time that there is any certainty over any given option or, even that once a given option is chosen, a decision has been reached as to how any given option might be funded. Consequently, Network Rail could then experience prejudice to their economic interests in the form of compensatory payments to the aforementioned third parties. Furthermore, disclosure of the information described in the request, at such an early stage would be likely to mislead the public into thinking that decisions have been made, regarding potential options for work on the three level crossings immediately north of Ely North Junction, before any such conclusions have been made. ... After careful consideration of the public interest, on this occasion, we believe that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in favour of disclosure and for this reason we have withheld some of the information requested." Network Rail further states: "Notwithstanding the above, I can confirm that we are able to release some of the information requested. Please find attached the following documents in answer to your request: Letter from Network Rail to DfT dated 31st [sic] August 2015 re: improvements to Cambridge – Kings Lynn Services [and] Letter from Network Rail to DfT dated 22nd September 2015 re: improvements to Cambridge – Kings Lynn services."

Mr Moss-Eccardt replies to Network Rail today, saying "I am writing to request an internal review of Network Rail Limited's handling of my FOI request ... You asked for an extension to respond as there was so much information to consider. Clearly this is at odds with the decision to apply exemptions. I can only assume that, given the political fall out from the slip into CP6, disclosure has become potentially damaging to NR. If that is the reason, please say so. All that notwithstanding I can't believe there aren't statements of facts that were used in briefing the LEP, the local councillors and MPs that are still exempt. Note that the DfT response to a similar query was much more voluble. Clearly they judge the exemptions differently. So again this is grounds to ask you to think again."

Wednesday 23 December 2015 - South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss writes in her December 2015 report to constituents, "Elizabeth convened a meeting of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire MPs and the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to discuss the upgrade of the Ely North rail Junction. The Secretary of State was presented with the details of why the half hourly services on the Kings Lynn line, the Norwich to Cambridge route and cross country passenger and freight services are so important to the region. In addition, Elizabeth held a further meeting with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway in Ely to discuss improvements to the junction. Elizabeth will be holding a further meeting with MPs and business leaders in the new year to explore the options for the upgrade work."

Wednesday 23 December 2015 - The now-available January 2016 issue of Modern Railways magazine devotes much space to analysis of the Hendy Report and its implications. An item on page 17, headed "Ely Delay. Following the pausing of the [Ely to] Soham doubling project, the campaign to upgrade the Felixstowe to Nuneaton (F2N) route has suffered another blow as a result of a decision by Network Rail to postpone a proposed improvement at Ely North Junction until Control Period 6 (2019-2024). The company said the project would be delayed so that it could be run in tandem with level crossing upgrades in the area. Possibly representing a downscaling in ambition, the project is now dubbed 'Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement' rather than the previous 'Ely Area Capacity Enhancement." Pointing out the impacts on container flows from Felixstowe to the Midlands and North, Modern Railways adds "the delay is expected to affect the passenger business, holding up frequency improvements on the [London to] Cambridge to King's Lynn route." Award winning transport journalist Roger Ford discusses the Hendy Report on pages 22-25 of the magazine and points out that in the Hendy Report's 'Table of Projects to be Delivered and Delivered in CP6' - "an earlier copy of the table had come my way" - the Ely projects had been described as 'Ely Area Capacity Improvements' whereas the published version of the Hendy Report lists them [on page 37] as 'Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement' and 'Ely to Soham doubling.'

Wednesday 23 December 2015 - "The Ely remodelling has been put back, and, when one looks in detail, very little new infrastructure has been provided in the East" writes Christopher Milnes in the latest issue of Rail magazine [page 36], out today. [In fairness, we would point out that on the Fen Line the Cambridge North/Cambridge Science Park station is currently under construction and is due to open in December 2016]. Mr Milnes goes on to write "Many routes are bedevilled with single-line sections, mostly the result of 1980s cost-cutting measures, introduced in an effort to stave off more closures. At the time these cutbacks were seen as the only option, but today they are seen as a big mistake. Who would have singled Downham Market to Littleport , and Cambridge to Newmarket, if we had known then that the region would become a fast-growing population and economy? Other parts of the UK have seen much track put back, so why not here?"

Tuesday 22 December 2015 - The Government has today established the Hereward Line Community Rail Partnership for the passenger rail service between Ely and Peterborough. The designation excludes Ely and Peterborough stations; the track and signalling are also excluded as the Felixstowe-Bury St. Edmunds-Ely-Peterborough-Midlands route (on which the Ely-Peterborough section lies and which also includes Ely North Junction) is part of the Trans European Network Route (TEN-T) North Sea-Mediterranean Core Network Corridor. All nine priority TEN-T corridors can be seen mapped here. The technical studies and maps for the North Sea-Mediterranean Core Network Corridor can be accessed here. A further EU map shows that all five routes meeting at Ely North Junction are part of the Trans European Network (TEN-T) rail network - the lines from King's Lynn, Norwich and Cambridge have the lower TEN-T status, being included in the "Comprehensive Network." Much of the various national rail systems are excluded from this, it being "comprehensive" from an European perspective. Taken together, the "Core Network" and the "Comprehensive Network" form the wider strategic European TEN-T rail system and it is on five links of this that Ely North Junction is located.

Tuesday 22 December 2015 - The East Anglia branch of national rail campaigning organisation Railfuture has tweeted photographs of the platforms under construction at the newest Fen Line station: Cambridge North (also known as Cambridge Science Park station) is under construction and due to open in December 2016.

Monday 21 December 2015 - "Cambridge is unique in that it is a net contributor to the Treasury" says Lucy Fraser MP in today's Cambridge News [page 12]. "It is vital that Cambridgeshire gets the infrastructure it needs to continue thriving. ... To be able to continue delivering economic jobs, growth and investment, we need improvements to our rail services." Today's newspaper reports that at the recent House of Commons debate the South East Cambridgeshire MP 'raised the need for the Ely North Junction upgrade to go ahead as soon as possible, as well as the doubling of track between Ely and Soham'. Lucy Frazer MP told the Cambridge News: "It is vital that Cambridgeshire gets the infrastructure it needs to continue thriving."

Monday 21 December 2015 - The Ely News reports today on actions being taken by Cambridgeshire County Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council, following network Rail's postponement of rail upgrade schemes in the Ely area. The article opens with the words "Upgrading the Ely North Junction might have been postponed ..." before mainly discussing the proposed Soham station (on the Ely-Bury St Edmunds-Ipswich line). However, the paper also reminds readers that "Network Rail announced that the Ely North Junction will not be upgraded until at least 2019 earlier this month. South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman have met Patrick McLoughlin in the House of Commons to discuss the project and stress the importance of the upgrades. The upgrades were due to be finished in the current spending round, which runs until 2019, however Network Rail announced that the work will take place in the next spending period, which runs from 2019 until 2024." Network Rail bosses are then quoted as saying the delays are "to allow co-ordination with safety critical level crossing works nearby." The Ely News points out that "By doubling the junction, which is located at Queen Adelaide, it would allow trains to run every half hour from Cambridge to King's Lynn and Norwich."

Sunday 20 December 2015 - The letter "Maybe Waterbeach is a case where it [infrastructure investment] should take higher priority" from Gareth Wright of Waterbeach, is carried by the Ely Standard today. Mr Wright writes: "Improvements to the rail service have been put on hold due to the indefinite postponement of the Ely North junction scheme and questions raised about the inadequate parking facilities [at Waterbeach] are deflected from one agency to another in a never ending loop. ... The area is likely to see massive development in the coming years with an 8,500 home new town planned for the area north of the village putting untold strain on a system that is already at breaking point. Infrastructure seems to come last on the list when it comes to development with promises made often broken by the developers once profits have been made. Maybe Waterbeach is a case where it should take a higher priority?"

Friday 18 December 2015 - "Borough rail travel soaring, report shows" reports the Lynn News today [page 4]. The newspaper states: "More than 1.6 million passengers used West Norfolk's three railway stations in the past year, according to new figures. The report by the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) showed the number of people using the stations in Lynn, Downham and Watlington was up nearly seven per cent compared with the previous year. ... In Lynn, 970,890 people passed through the station ... up more than six per cent and cementing its position as Norfolk's second busiest station, behind Norwich. Meanwhile, Downham's total was up nearly seven per cent to 491,744, making it the county's fourth busiest station, moving ahead of Yarmouth. But the borough's biggest climber was at Watlington, where 143,904 were estimated to have entered or exited the station, an increase of more than nine per cent. The report also suggests that passenger numbers are falling at many stations across Norfolk, including Norwich, where numbers fell by over 60,000 to around 4.07 million. ... The announcement three weeks ago [that the Ely North Junction upgrade had been postponed] also cast major doubt on the long-awaited launch of half-hourly trains between West Norfolk and London, which had been scheduled to start in May 2017. But the company [Network Rail] has signalled its intention to introduce eight carriage trains between Lynn and Cambridge [where most trains attach additional carriages for the normally non-stop run on to Kings Cross] instead of the current four coach services, during 2016."

Friday 18 December 2015 - "Date is set for round table meeting to discuss upgrades to Ely North Junction" reports the Ely News today. ... MPs from across the region, LEPs, local councils, Network Rail representatives and train operators will be attending the meeting, it has been confirmed. It comes following the "frustrating" announcement that the Ely North Junction will not be upgraded until at least 2019." South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer says, "The upgrade to the Ely North Junction is vital for our area. I am pressing to ensure that this takes place and I am pleased to take part in this round table discussion to ensure that we get the investment we need for these rail improvements as soon as possible." The Ely News adds, "Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail, said: "Network Rail is aware of the strong aspiration of the Department for Transport, and local user groups and MPs to see improvements to services on the Cambridge to King's Lynn corridor as soon as practicable."

Friday 18 December 2015 - Caroline Williams, Chief Executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, writes in today's Lynn News, that she traditionally comments on the past year's events "or perhaps I should say 'non-events'. The delay to the proposed upgrade of the Ely rail junction has been unwelcome news. It goes to the heart of the issues surrounding investment, infrastructure and support that West Norfolk needs, and will come as an end-of-the year blow to businesses and commuters in our region." In her article [page 63], she goes on to review more positive developments and comments that "this isn't the end of the line. It's full steam ahead!"

Friday 18 December 2015 - "Strong royal links" says the Eastern Daily Press in today's Leader column {page 40]. "The Queen's wonderfully low-key arrival at King's Lynn station has fast become one of the signals that Christmas is well and truly here." The EDP's article on page 3 pictures the Queen arriving by train in King's Lynn.

Thursday 17 December 2015 - Today's Cambridge News' leader column [page 6] is quoted here in full:

"Urgent need for railway funding. The growth in the number of passengers using Cambridge railway station is remarkable. More than 10 million people used the station over the past 12 months, a figure that has doubled in just 13 years. And it is important to remember that it is not just Cambridge that has seen such a surge, with other stations around the city also becoming increasingly popular. Projects like the new Cambridge North station [under construction], improvements to Thameslink services and East-West rail are welcome upgrades in the pipeline - but more is clearly needed to cope with this boom. A new station at Addenbrooke's is surely worth investigation."

In the light of this clear-sighted newspaper opinion, which, in our view, realistically reflects the fast-changing railway geography of East Anglia, we restate the Association's primary objectives:

1 replacement of fragile connections at Cambridge to/from Kings Cross in the AM and PM peaks with through King's Lynn trains to/from Kings Cross;

2 relief of the increasing crowding, both south and north of Cambridge, especially between Ely and Cambridge;

3 improved accessibility to emerging clusters of economic and social activity located on or close to the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route.

Since adopting these objectives in January 2015, the new station at Cambridge North/Cambridge Science Park is now under construction, development of major office developments adjacent to Cambridge and King's Cross stations has proceeded apace, and standing on key PM peak services as far north as Littleport/Downham Market has become fairly routine. There is a specific need for a second King’s Lynn train to leave Cambridge during the afternoon high peak there, i.e. departing Cambridge about 1710-1715.

The introduction of cross-London Thameslink services from 2018, both from Cambridge and, with metro-style frequency, readily accessible from St Pancras International (immediately adjacent to King's Cross) is likely to further emphasize the importance of the King's Cross route to Fen Line passengers.

Thursday 17 December 2015 - The Cambridge News website has a table showing the ORR estimates of passenger usage at all stations in East Anglia, permitting comparison of official figures for 2010, 2014, and 2015 (all to 31 March of the relevant year). The six Fen Line stations on the Kings Lynn-Cambridge-Kings Cross route are shown as growing by the following percentages over the period 2010 to 2015: King's Lynn +29.3%, Watlington + 33.3%, Downham Market +36.6%, Littleport +59.3%, Ely (all routes) +30.9% and Waterbeach +43.3%. Cambridge, now with over 10 million users and East Anglia's busiest railway station, has grown by 36% over the same five year period

Thursday 17 December 2015 - "More than 10m people use Cambridge station in a year as campaigners call for more and bigger trains" reports the Cambridge News today. The paper says that ORR figures say "10.4 million people used Cambridge station in 2014/15 – an increase of 600,000 or 6 per cent on the previous 12 months, making Cambridge once again the busiest station in East Anglia." [The six Fen Line stations north of Cambridge as far as King's Lynn have mirrored that 6% growth this year: Waterbeach is up 10.6%, Ely up 5.8%, and the four north of Ely - Littleport, Downham Market, Watlington and Kings Lynn weigh in with a combined 6.6.% surge]. "What we really want is what we're hoping to get in 2017/18 – more trains and longer ones," said Peter Wakefield, the chairman of campaign group Rail Future East Anglia, quoted in the Cambridge News today. Mr Wakefield continues, "We want longer trains north of Cambridge as soon as that's [the new Cambridge North/Cambridge Science Park station, currently under construction] built, because the real pressure point is north of Cambridge at the moment because the trains are too short."

Wednesday 16 December 2015 - A House of Commons Debate took place this evening, the subject being the East Anglia Rail Franchise (King's Lynn-King's Cross trains are run by Govia Thameslink Railway under a direct management contract from the Department for Transport, but some other services are run under the Anglia franchise). During the debate, Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said, "We have to align the work of Network Rail in the next 10 years with a nine-year franchise to get infrastructure improvements and new trains," to which Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill, who had called the debate replied, "There needs to be that connected thought—that is the important thing—to allow works at the Ely North junction, for example, where there is a real need. That has been the demand by my colleagues in Cambridgeshire, but this issue also affects users in Norfolk and Suffolk. The work has already slipped from period 5 to period 6." Lucy Frazer, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, asked, "Does she agree that, given the growth in our region and the fact that Cambridge is one of the few net contributors to the Treasury, it is essential we get the infrastructure we need? Ely is often a pinch point in infrastructure development, including the Ely North junction and the Soham-Ely doubling" to which Jo Churchill MP replied " I could not agree more, because those pinch points affect such a broad area and affect the delivery of services into all our towns across the region. That is hugely important, and it was highlighted in the Hendy report." Rail Minister Claire Perry MP stated: "... the Ely North junction, [to] which several Members have referenced. The disappointing news on that is that the original project cost of about £30 million to £40 million has escalated to more than £130 million in the current analysis. Given that we are in the business of delivering infrastructure against the very tight Hendy review, with a known amount of funding, that is simply not acceptable. The team has been sent away to look at how that work could be delivered more cost-effectively." Lucy Frazer MP said, "it is concerning that the cost of improvements to the Ely North junction have gone up. If the improvements come in early in control period 6 — we very much hope they will — it might still be possible to have finished in the franchise period, which we all want, so we ask her [the Rail Minister] not to rule that out" to which Claire Perry MP replied, "I rule nothing out on that point. I am very keen that what is funded and delivered will be delivered by Network Rail in this period."

Wednesday 16 December 2015 - Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which runs King's Lynn-King's Cross Fen Line services, announces that it has now extended its 'the key' smartcard system north of Royston (the previous limit) to cover Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton stations. These stations are immediately south of Cambridge on the Great Northern route. GTR's Commercial Director David Innis says, "We extended our smartcard 'the key' from Southern and Gatwick Express to Thameslink and much of Great Northern in September to give our passengers a smarter, easier way to travel." Looking ahead, Mr Innis adds, "Next year, we hope to extend it even further - to Cambridge, Ely and King's Lynn."

Wednesday 16 December 2015 - "Campaigners demand service improvements as Fen Line passenger numbers soar" reports the Lynn News today: "A report showing the continuing growth in passengers using the rail line between Cambridge and King’s Lynn shows the urgent need for service improvements, campaigners say." Reporting on the ORR passenger estimates for 2014/5 published yesterday, the newspaper states: "In King’s Lynn, 970,890 people passed through the station during that period, up more than six per cent on the previous year and cementing its position as Norfolk’s second busiest station, behind Norwich. Meanwhile, Downham Market’s total was up nearly seven per cent to 491,744, making it the county’s fourth busiest station, moving ahead of Yarmouth." The Lynn News goes on to say that Network Rail's recent announcement of delays to the Ely North Junction "cast major doubt on the long-awaited launch of half-hourly trains between West Norfolk and London, which had been scheduled to start in May 2017. But the company has signalled its intention to introduce eight carriage trains between Lynn and Cambridge, instead of the current four coach services, during 2016." The newspaper adds "And the association [that's us, FLUA], which is calling for planning work on Ely North to start immediately despite the delay, says the figures strengthen their case for major investment in the borough’s rail links." The Fenland Citizen covers the story here and the Newmarket Journal article is here. It is also featured by the Peterborough Telegraph here.

Tuesday 15 December 2015 - "Stressed to breaking point" - a letter from Gareth Wright of Waterbeach and published in today's Cambridge News [page 16] is quoted here in full to illustrate further the amount of capacity pressure that the massively successful King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross Fen Line is now under. The letter reads: "Passenger numbers at Waterbeach station have almost doubled in the past 10 years with nearly 350,000 using the facility last year." [Official estimates, also published today, show this number has increased to 381,202 users for 2014/5 - see item immediately below]. Mr Wright's letter continues "Unfortunately this surge in usage has not been met with any improvements in the infrastructure. Trains are frequently full, as highlighted recently by the story of a local school child being pushed off an overcrowded train, and the village is choked with parked cars. Improvements to the rail service have been put on hold due to the indefinite postponement of the Ely North Junction scheme and questions asked about the inadequate parking facilities are deflected from one agency to another in a never ending loop. Lack of funds is often cited as a reason for the lack of investment in the service, although Abellio greater Anglia received £187m in government subsidies last year, it still paid out £36m in dividends to shareholders!" [In fairness to Abellio, we would point out that Waterbeach is served mainly by Govia Thameslink Railway 'Great Northern' trains, operating on the King's Lynn-King's Cross route and run for the Government under a direct management contract, but 3 southbound and 5 northbound Abellio trains do stop at Waterbeach, Mondays-Fridays]. The letter in today's Cambridge News concludes "This area is likely to see massive development in the coming years with an 8,500-home new town planned for the area north of the village putting untold strain on a system that is already at breaking point. Infrastructure seems to come last on the list when it comes to development with promises made often broken by the developers once profits have been made. Maybe Waterbeach is a case where it should take a higher priority?"

Tuesday 15 December 2015 - The Association has issued a Statement which reads:

Official figures show thriving Fen Line outperforming once more: The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has issued its 2014/5 station usage estimates today. Fen Line growth of 6% outperforms the national average of 4.5% over the 2013/4 to 2014/5 period.

Ely remains the busiest station, but the biggest percentage increase is at Waterbeach: 11%.“Explosive Fen Line growth, especially at my home station at Waterbeach, comes as no surprise,” says FLUA Vice-Chairman Robert Stripe, “when you try to board an already packed train from an even more packed platform – we desperately need more and longer trains and the longer platforms to accommodate them.”

Up by 7%, Downham Market has overtaken Great Yarmouth to become Norfolk’s 4th busiest station. “The successful Fen Line has bucked trends again – the phenomenal upsurge at my home station of Downham Market is particularly pleasing to see. I’m looking forward to seeing it break the half-million barrier in the coming year!” says FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson. “If anything makes the case for 8-car trains, a half-hourly service and the Ely North Junction upgrade, surely this latest ORR information is it.”

King’s Lynn continues to be Norfolk’s 2nd busiest station. “With over 970,000 users this last year,” says FLUA Secretary, Andy Tyler, “King’s Lynn is firmly knocking on the door of the million users club. Our three Fen Line stations in Norfolk have increased by a 100,000 users when added together, yet rail use in the whole county only increased by 44,000!” He adds, “Norfolk’s railway geography is changing fast and the big growth is over here in the west.“ Andy Tyler continues, “We welcome Network Rail’s recently-announced ‘Kings Lynn to Cambridge 8-car’ project, we await the promised half-hourly King’s Lynn-King’s Cross service and, given the long lead times, we continue to press for the planning work for the Ely North Junction project to be started straightaway!”

1 The 2014/5 figures for the six Fen Line stations are:

King’s Lynn 970,890 +6%; Watlington 143,904 +9%; Downham Market 491,744 +7%; Littleport 238,062 +6%; Ely (all routes) 2,068,240 +5%; Waterbeach 381,202 +11%; All six stations 4,294,042 +6%.

2 Norfolk’s top 6 stations 2014/5:

Norwich 4,071,502; King’s Lynn 970,890; Diss 682,142; Downham Market 491,744; Great Yarmouth 436,834; Thetford 295,044.

Friday 11 December 2015 - King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council Leader Nick Daubney writes in today's YourLocalPaper "We were dismayed by the news that the £35m upgrade to the Ely North Junction, which will enable half-hourly trains between King's Lynn and London, would be delayed until at least 2019. This is simply unacceptable given growth plans for the area. It is essential that we have the transport infrastructure to support that growth and that includes a half-hourly train connection with London." Councillor Daubney's opinion column in today's YourLocalPaper also goes on to say "We will be working with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, our local MPs and other agencies to press for the necessary upgrade works to be brought forward and for everything possible to be done to enable an interim half-hourly service to operate on that line."

Friday 11 December 2015 - Today's print edition of the Lynn News reports "Last month, Network Rail announced that work on multi-million pound improvements to the Ely North Junction will not now start until at least 2019 and may not be completed until 2024.... new discussions, which will also include council and business leaders, are scheduled to take place in Downham on February 26 ." The Lynn News states that Elizabeth Truss MP says "the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, had confirmed he would set out details of the planned works by the end of the week."

Thursday 10 December 2015 - "Downham set to host key rail upgrade talks" reports the Lynn News today. The article covers the rail summit meeting to be held at Downham Market on 26 February 2016 to discuss Ely North Junction works, "a key upgrade to the line linking West Norfolk with Cambridge and London." South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss says: "I have called for a round table discussion with the LEPs, council leaders and fellow MPs to see how this can be implemented sooner rather than later." The Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Matt Reeve adds: “We are, of course frustrated, that vital improvements to the Ely North Junction are being delayed.... We therefore look forward to a positive discussion in the new year to help move this scheme forward." The Lynn News concludes "Network Rail has previously indicated that it plans to introduce eight carriage trains between Cambridge and Lynn during 2016, instead of the current four coach services."

Thursday 10 December 2015 - "During the last parliament there were some big promises made about our rail links. ... In the west [of the region] a great play was made by MPs when the Ely North junction was given the green light." Today's Eastern Daily Press first Leader [page 30] continues "The rhetoric has by no means matched the reality. Communities minister Greg Clark spoke this week about creating an 'eastern motor', and the potential for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to work together." The EDP adds "Yet a key rail link [Ely North Junction] to kick-start his eastern motor has been delayed - with no indication of exactly when the vital work will be done. A government rethink is needed." Page 14 of today's Eastern Daily Press is given over to current railway matters, particularly the decision of Stagecoach Group to pull out of bidding for the East Anglia Rail Franchise [King's Lynn-King's Cross trains are not part of this franchise but are operated by Govia Thameslink Railway]. It also covers the Round-table summit to be held in February at Downham Market to discuss Ely North Junction. The EDP says "South-West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has called a round-table discussion which she said would explore the options for upgrading Ely North Junction - which is key to twice hourly train services between King's Lynn and Cambridge and Norwich and Cambridge as well as freight services."

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - "Talks for two trains happening next year" headlines radio station KLFM 96.7 in reporting the forthcoming Rail Summit to be held in Downham Market on 26 February 2016. Interviewed by the radio station, FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler says "The scheme that we're talking about to get these two trains an hour from King's Lynn is what they call a 'named scheme.'" He goes on to point that, as a 'named scheme' [in the Government's High Level Output Statement for CP5] Ely North Junction is "one of the few in the country" and makes the point that "it's just a case of the timing. I think the powers that be have found issues and problems to achieve that service, that outcome ... [but] they know that at the end of the day it's got to be completed and done as soon as possible... make no mistake about it, we at the Fen Line Users Association aren't so interested in that [the unforeseen problems], what we're interested in is achieving the better service for the passengers that we represent."

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - "The vital work [at Ely North Junction] to pave the way for twice-hourly trains between King’s Lynn and London and more services between Norwich and the Midlands were delayed by Network Rail last month. The £35m upgrade to Ely North Junction – which was set to start in 2016 and would have meant half-hourly services between Lynn and London and more trains between Norwich and the Midlands – were put back to at least 2019, when the next funding period starts" reports the Norwich Evening News. "Members of Parliament and business leaders from across the eastern region will attend the roundtable discussions in Downham Market on February 26 to explore the options for upgrading the junction. South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister says "“The Transport Secretary has also confirmed that he will write to MPs by the end of this week detailing Network Rail’s plans for future works." The Norwich Evening News also reports Mark Pendlington, Chairman of the New Anglia LEP as saying "“investment to upgrade the line is essential to unlock the growth potential of our key towns and cities and development of the important freight corridor" [the key East Anglia junction at Ely carries major Felixstowe-Midlands freight flows, as well as Kings Lynn-Kings Cross, Norwich to Cambridge, Cambridge/Norwich to Midlands/North, and Ipswich-Peterborough passenger services]. The New Anglia LEP Chairman tells the Norwich Evening News: "We are keen to see the improvements happen as soon as possible ...."

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - Transport giant Stagecoach has pulled out of its joint venture bid for the East Anglia Rail Franchise, which would have been made with Abellio, reports the East Anglian Daily Times today. The EADT states "Abellio Greater Anglia is understood to be planning to continue with the bid without the equity partner after it emerged today that Stagecoach was going to pull out of the process. A Stagecoach Group spokesman said: 'We have been unable to reach an agreement with Abellio on elements of the proposed bid.'" [The East Anglia Rail Franchise, bids for which have to be submitted to the Government by Thursday 17 December, includes the two King's Lynn-Liverpool Street and three return trips, Mondays to Fridays, as well as many of the other services in East Anglia, including the Cambridge-Norwich service. Norwich-Peterborough-North, Stansted Airport-Cambridge-Ely-Midlands, and King's Lynn-King's Cross services are not part of the East Anglia Rail Franchise]. The EADT says "First East Anglia Limited and National Express East Anglia Trains Limited are also poised to submit bids to run the [East Anglia Rail Franchise] services."

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, reports the Lynn News today, says: “I am keen to ensure ... that this [the Ely North Junction upgrade] happens as soon as possible so I have called for a round table discussion with the LEPs, council leaders and fellow MPs to see how this can be implemented sooner rather than later.... East Anglia is a thriving and dynamic area of the UK and I am keen to see the rail infrastructure in place to support this growth and that residents in South West Norfolk can benefit from half hourly services on the King’s Lynn to London line and more frequent trains on the Thetford route.” South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer says “The upgrade to the Ely North Junction is vital for our area. I am pressing to ensure that this takes place, and I am pleased to take part in this roundtable discussion to ensure that we get the investment we need for these rail improvements as soon as possible.” Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman Matt Reeve, the Lynn News confirms, is "frustrated that the vital improvements to the Ely North Junction are being delayed ...We therefore look forward to a positive discussion in the new year to help move this scheme forward.” The roundtable meeting is to take place on 26 February 2016 at Downham Market.

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - "Rail summit called to discuss key upgrade work" is the headline about the forthcoming roundtable meeting of MPs and business and council leaders to be held "to see how this [the Ely North Junction upgrade] can be implemented sooner rather than later". The story is now being carried by the Bury Free Press, the Newmarket Journal and the Peterborough Telegraph. Further coverage is given by the Ely Standard.

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - "Date set for roundtable discussions to discuss delay to Ely North junction upgrade" reports the Eastern Daily Press: "The vital work to pave the way for twice-hourly trains between King’s Lynn and London and more services between Norwich and the Midlands were delayed by Network Rail last month. ... Members of Parliament and business leaders from across the eastern region will attend the roundtable discussions in Downham Market on February 26 to explore the options for upgrading the junction." The EDP also reports Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, as saying the Ely junction was a critical crossroads for connections to and from the east to the rest of the UK: "We are keen to see the improvements happen as soon as possible, as are the hundreds of businesses and commuters who travel through this vital junction every day.”

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - The Fenland Citizen reports today that "A rail summit will take place in the new year to discuss a key upgrade to the network serving Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, it has been revealed this morning. The new talks, which will take place in late February and involve MPs, council and business leaders, Network Rail and train operators, have been called following a meeting between MPs, Network Rail and Govia Thameslink, one of the main train operators which uses the junction, on Friday." South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer says "I am pleased to take part in this roundtable discussion to ensure that we get the investment we need for these rail improvements [Ely North Junction] as soon as possible.” Matt Reeve, chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), adds: “We are, of course frustrated, that vital improvements to the Ely North Junction are being delayed, we understand that safety is the ultimate priority. However, these improvements are a key part of our strategic infrastructure plan." The Ely North Junction roundtable meeting will be held at Downham Market on Friday 26 February 2016.

Wednesday 9 December 2015 - South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss today confirms that MPs and business leaders are to hold a round table meeting on Ely North rail junction upgrade. This comes "after Elizabeth met Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Trains in Ely [on 4 December] to investigate the reasons why the planned upgrade of the Ely North junction will now take place in Control Period CP6 (2019 -2024) rather than CP5." Sir Peter Hendy, Chairman of Network Rail, has commented in his recent review of rail investment plans for CP5 that ‘Network Rail is aware of the strong aspiration of the Department for Transport and local user groups and MPs to see improvements to services on the Cambridge to Kings Lynn corridor as soon as practicable' and Elizabeth Truss adds "During the meeting with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink it became apparent that work needs to take place to the four level crossings around Ely and further surveys have to be done. What I am keen to ensure is that this happens as soon as possible so I have called for a round table discussion with the LEPs, council leaders and fellow MPs to see how this can be implemented sooner rather than later. The Transport Secretary has also confirmed that he will write to MPs by the end of this week detailing Network Rail’s plans for future works."

Tuesday 8 December 2015 - Today's Lynn News shows Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn's photo immediately under the paper's masthead, with the words "Visitor Jeremy Corbyn's verdict on rail service: 'ridiculous.'" The paper's article [covering most of page 3] reports "Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid a flying visit to Norfolk on Saturday ... "using the train from London to Lynn for his visit." The Lynn News states Mr Corbyn "immediately said his journey had shown how desperately rail services in this area needed investment." Mr Corbyn told the newspaper that the King’s Lynn line passed through his Islington constituency at Finsbury Park [one station north of Kings Cross]: “I am very interested in railways and I know it is frequently overcrowded on this line. This journey was an example what needs to be done to make it better. They all pile on at Cambridge and it was absolutely packed. It is ridiculous. It is a crucial artery for people’s lives."

Monday 7 December 2015 - "Every day, " says Govia Thameslink Railway [GTR], "we run over 3,200 services across the South East of England into and through central London and on to Luton, Bedford, Peterborough and Kings Lynn." Launching its 2015 Sustainability Report today, GTR emphasizes "we're a family of local brands [of which Great Northern, which operates King's Cross-King's Lynn services, is one] that have come together to make the UK's largest train operating company. We pride ourselves on the way we work in partnership with our local communities and are committed to building on this into the future." As well as linking Downham Market and Kings Lynn with Cambridge and London, GTR's operating area map on the report's page 1 shows the Norfolk coverage of the associated Konect bus company - the full Sustainability Report can be found here.

Saturday 5 December 2015 - Another full page on railway issues in today's Eastern Daily Press [page 34]. Half the page is headed "Infrastructure has not been up to scratch, admits minister" and covers the visit of Rail Minister Claire Perry to Norwich yesterday. The other half is headlined "MP continues to press for rail upgrade" and covers South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss' meeting, also yesterday, with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway about the Ely North Junction upgrade and "introduction of half hourly services on the King's Lynn to London line." The EDP reports Elizabeth Truss as saying "I had a meeting with Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, last week, to make it clear this upgrade [Ely North Junction] is vital to the Fen Line. Half-hourly services are important to the overall growth of Norfolk. I am expecting a response form the transport secret5ary by December 10." Today's EDP confirms Elizabeth Truss' commitment to the Ely North Junction upgrade: "I am going to keep coming back until it is done."

Friday 4 December 2015 - ITV Anglia News tonight covers Cabinet Minister and MP Elizabeth Truss' meeting today with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway about Ely North Junction. Reporting from Ely station and from Littleport, Emily Knight says "improvements to the junction, which will see more frequent trains to cope with demand, has been delayed by Network Rail until at least 2019 and even then a new feasibility study needs to be carried out before work can actually start." In the ITV interview, Elizabeth Truss says "it is absolutely urgent - and we are talking about moving towards 8-car carriages along the line, which is positive - but it needs to happen soon because we're having new development in place. There's a big plan at Downham Market for a computer science park and those businesses need a really good train service." Emily Knight reports "the Ely North Junction is at the heart of East Anglia's rail network ... Network Rail says part of the reason for the delay is to make sure that changes can be made to existing level crossings in the Ely area, to make sure ones like this one here at Littleport, which crosses the A10, is able to cope with increased frequency in the future." Also interviewed by ITV, East Cambridgeshire Council Leader James Palmer says the news is disappointing for the whole region: "we're under pressure from Government to grow and to create more houses and more jobs, which we are doing and we're quite happy to do that, but, on the other side of the coin, Government of course must come to the table with the infrastructure that's necessary ... let's not confine it to an Ely issue - it's an East Anglia issue." ITV Anglia News concludes "Elizabeth Truss says her aim now is to get the feasibility study done as soon as possible, so the work could begin nearer 2019, rather than 2024."

Friday 4 December 2015 - "MP Liz Truss vows ’I’ll keep coming back’ as she meets rail chiefs at Ely in her fight for improved services and junction improvements ... The South West Norfolk MP was speaking as she went into a meeting [this morning] with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink to discuss the upgrade and introduction of half hourly train services on the King’s Lynn to London line." That's the Wisbech Standard's story reported today. The paper continues "The junction is vital to the East Anglian rail network serving a number of lines including the King’s Lynn/Downham Market to London line and the Thetford route." MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss is reported as saying: “Half hourly services are important to the overall growth of Norfolk. I am expecting a response from the transport secretary by December 10... Today’s meeting will allow me to ask exactly what it is going to cost to upgrade Ely North Junction, previously the budget was £35 million, but I want to know what money is required now. I also want to talk about the level crossings; I thought these had been sorted out." In response to the news that "Network Rail is undertaking development on a scheme to allow the lengthening of peak time services on the Cambridge to King’s Lynn corridor from four to eight car length trains to tackle overcrowding," Ms Truss adds: “The introduction of eight car trains will be welcomed by regular commuters and I also want to see improved services on the Thetford line.” The Wisbech Standard takes its headline from Elizabeth Truss' words: I need to know this information so we can push the transport department to get this important upgrade carried out as soon as possible. I am going to keep coming back until it is done.”

Friday 4 December 2015 - "MPs want answers following ‘frustrating’ Ely North Junction upgrade delays" reports the Ely News about this morning's meeting of MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway officials at Ely station. The paper states "She said: "I want passengers and businesses to have certainty as soon as possible about when the half hourly service on the King's Lynn to London line will be in place and when the junction will be upgraded. The Ely North is such a key junction in East Anglia as once upgraded it will increase the capacity on a number of rail links." The Cambridge News also covers the story today.

Friday 4 December 2015 - Radio station KLFM96.7 reports "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has met with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway to discuss the Ely North Junction and the half hourly train service on the Kings Lynn to London line." Prior to the meeting, Elizabeth Truss said: "Local residents and business in South West Norfolk need to be able to plan for the future and the half hourly service on the Fenline is a key driver in supporting future growth in the region."

Friday 4 December 2015 - "After a bad few weeks for our rail service, crunch meetings are being held on either side of the region" - that's the message in today's Eastern Daily Press article [page 6]. "Minister must act" opines the paper's Leader column: "As MP Henry Bellingham points out, in the grand scale of the rail spending, it [the Ely North Junction scheme] is a drop in the ocean." [page 38]. Headed by half a page of full colour infographics showing rail enhancement spending region by region across Great Britain, the EDP's main article is headlined "MPs ready to tell Network Rail and minister about their train concerns" - Rail Minister Claire Perry is visiting Norwich today. It also contains a call for longer Fen Line trains from retired Watlington signaller Keith Leedell, who argues for longer platforms at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach; Mr Leedell is quoted as saying "passenger numbers [have] shot up over the past 10 years."

Today's full-page EDP article quotes North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham as saying the Ely North Junction upgrade would "unlock permanent improvements across the region". Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman told the EDP: “Despite huge extra investments in rail infrastructure by the government, Network Rail has said it needs to delay Ely works because of cost inflation on other major projects. That’s why we met the Secretary of State [Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin] last week to urge the DfT to look again to see if Ely can be sorted sooner." The newspaper continues "South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss is due to meet Network Rail and the train operator Govia, which operates the trains between King’s Lynn and London King’s Cross to press them on when passengers will get half-hourly services off-peak after the upgrade setback. ... Ms Truss said the meeting today was an opportunity for Network Rail to present the programme of works and to obtain clarity on the implementation of the half-hourly service on the King’s Lynn to London line."

Friday 4 December 2015 - "West Norfolk MP to press rail bosses on line upgrade" reports today's Lynn News. South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss will meet officials from Network Rail and Govia Thameslink, the parent company of the line's main operator, Great Northern, at Ely this morning. Elizabeth Truss says "“Today’s meeting is an opportunity for Network Rail to present the programme of works and to obtain clarity on the implementation of the half hourly service on the Kings Lynn to London line." The Lynn News states "Ms Truss has praised plans to introduce longer trains to the line, which officials hope to start next year. She said: “The introduction of eight car trains will be welcomed by regular commuters.”

Friday 4 December 2015 - Cambridge radio station Heart 103 reports at 0630 "Local MPs are meeting with rail bosses this morning, pushing for the Ely North Junction to be upgraded. Last month, the Department for Transport confirmed work's been pushed back - and will take place between 2019 and 2024. MPs say work needs to start as soon as possible."

Friday 4 December 2015 - South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss issues a statement about her meeting with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink, to take place at 10 a.m. at Ely today, and being held to discuss Ely North Junction and the half hourly train service on the Kings Lynn to London line.

Wednesday 2 December 2015 - Network Rail has today replied to Rupert Moss-Eccardt, whose initial Freedom of Information Act request to Network Rail regarding level crossings associated with the Ely North Junction upgrade was made on 31 October 2015 [current request NR Ref: FOI2015/01105]. The potential volume of the information request is such that Network Rail considers it necessary to extend the time allowed to reply [EIR Regulation 7(1)] and now aim to reply to Mr Moss-Eccardt by no later than Thursday 30 December 2015. We will await the substantive reply to Mr Moss-Eccardt before reporting any significant findings on this website (see also entry for Thursday 26 November 2015).

Tuesday 1 December 2015 - Today's Lynn News contains two articles about Ely North Junction, the first, headlined "Council Leader's fury at rail delay" also covers the MPs' meeting with Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin last week and reports South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss as saying "I want passengers and business to have certainty as soon as possible about when the half-hourly service on the King's Lynn to London line will be in place ..." and North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham saying "The pressure will be kept up, I can assure you." The second article is headline "Infrastructure improvements vital to RAF Downham project [proposed Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering, CfAKE]" and quotes King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council leader Nick Daubney: "Part of the attraction of Downham Market is the links to Cambridge and London. We need more regular trains." Councillor Daubney was among politicians who attended a presentation of the plans for CfAKE at Westminster last week.

The Lynn News today also contains an opinion column from Darren Taylor, Managing Director of radio station KL.FM 96.7 and Chairman of King's Lynn Town Centre Partnership in which he writes "Along with our local MPs, Borough Council and other business groups, we have lobbied hard for the [Ely North Junction] improvements and for half-hourly trains to run throughout the day. ... West Norfolk is within touching distance of the huge and booming high-tech and science-based industries around Cambridge ... an improved rail service is vital if we're to truly capitalise on the opportunities that the 'Cambridge effect' could bring."

Tuesday 1 December 2015 - "East Cambs Council leader James Palmer says the decision to postpone rail improvements in Ely is 'very disappointing'" reports the Ely Standard today. Councillor Palmer is quoted as saying "While I can understand the pressures they [Network Rail] face, I do find it very frustrating given the rapid growth we are experiencing it is always our area which is affected by their decision to reschedule their plans. If we are to continue to grow in the future we need the infrastructure which was promised to help us to succeed. ... I would like to assure residents, I will writing to Network Rail seeking assurances that they will progress this project [Ely North Junction] with no further delay." The paper goes on to note "Network Rail is aware of the strong aspirations of the DfT and local user groups and MPs to see improvements to services on the Cambridge to King’s Lynn corridor as soon as practicable". South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer, and Norfolk MPs George Freeman and Elizabeth Truss met Transport Secretary Patrick MacLoughlin last week; the Ely Standard records Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss as saying “The half-hourly service on the King’s Lynn to London line is scheduled to commence in 2017 and I am keen to work with the Department for Transport so that South West Norfolk can benefit from this increased service.”

Tuesday 1 December 2015 - South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council begin their consultation tomorrow (Wednesday 2 December 2015) on proposed modifications to Local Plans for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. The main changes being suggested include removing the restrictions on when the new town [immediately] north of Waterbeach could begin [8000 to 9000 homes envisaged]. The two Local Plans submitted to Government in March last year also include proposals for redevelopment following the joint area action plan being developed between the two Councils for the Cambridge Northern Fringe East/proposed Cambridge Science Park Station [also known as Cambridge North station, and under construction] area. The Local Plan proposals also require the layout of any future development around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus ["Addenbrookes Hospital and surrounding area, including the Astra Zeneca HQ under construction] to make provision to accommodate a potential railway station there [best described as "Cambridge South"].

Tuesday 1 December 2015 - The owners of the trains normally used on Kings Lynn-Kings Cross Fen Line trains, Eversholt Rail, has placed a contract with Alstom's signalling business SSL to fit European Train Control System (ETCS) in-cab signalling to the '365' class. Trains from King's Lynn to King's Cross run over the East Coast Main Line (ECML) and in-cab signalling will be required as the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is introduced to ECML operations from 2018.

Monday 30 November 2015 - East Cambridgeshire District Council issues a statement: "East Cambridgeshire District Council is to write to Network Rail expressing its disappointment that further work in the district is being put on hold. Last week’s announcement from Network Rail’s new chairman, Sir Peter Hendy that following his review of the enhancement and investment programme in railway control period 5 (2014-19), plans to upgrade the Ely North Junction have been delayed. The news follows a previous announcement earlier this year putting on hold plans to double a section of rail track Ely and Soham."

Saturday 28 November 2015 - "Outrage over possible delay to twice-hourly train service" is the headline in today's Eastern Daily Press. West Norfolk Cabinet Member for the Environment is quoted as saying "For the growth we want in King’s Lynn, we need the infrastructure. And the half-hourly service between Lynn and London is critical for it.” Borough Council leader Nick Daubney says "“I think we need to be really angry. There is a lot of pressure to grow and develop. We want more opportunity for our young people, we want better jobs." In today's full report, the 'EDP' continues "However, MPs from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire met the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin [on Thursday 26 November 2015], who told them he thought extra services could still be brought in without the upgrade to Ely, and he would let them know by December 10 when the services were likely to start."

Friday 27 November 2015 - Today's edition of yourlocalpaper is headlined "Rail Upgrade Plan to Be Delayed/" and continues "A massive economic boom to West Norfolk looks to have been held-up with a review into rail services. Elizabeth Truss MP is quoted on the front page of the print edition as saying "The half-hourly service on the King's Lynn to London line is scheduled to start in 2017." Henry Bellingham MP is reported as saying "We are surprised and disappointed with this news. ... In the context of the wider investment in the rail system this is a relatively small sum." The paper continues "The news came days after assurances from an investment company that Downham Market would be at the centre of a £350m project creating 4,500 new hi-tech jobs. Rail links were cited as among reasons for the choice of location ..."

Today's Lynn News print edition carries the story "Key rail upgrade work 'may not finish until 2024.' The paper's business section reports "West Norfolk Council leader slams rail upgrade delay" - "addressing the Borough Council’s meeting this evening, leader Nick Daubney said the Borough should be “really angry” about the decision." The Lynn News writes "He said: 'There’s a lot of pressure to grow and develop. I certainly encourage that. We want better paid jobs, high-tech jobs. This requires better infrastructure and I don't think it’s acceptable this keeps getting shoved down the line.'" The Lynn News web edition has been updated today to reflect fast moving events and reports "MPs call for ‘certainty’ over rail upgrade plan."

Friday 27 November 2015 - Today's Eastern Daily Press reports "Passengers will find out next month if twice-hourly train services between King's Lynn and London will still be brought in despite a major junction upgrade in Ely being delayed ... MPs have met Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who told them that he thought the extra services could still be brought in without the upgrade to Ely, and he would let them know by December 10 when the services were likely to start. ... The Department for Transport said it was committed to bringing improvements to services on the Cambridge to King's Lynn corridor and was working with Network Rail to achieve this." Today's 'EDP' also reports "The £35m project is also crucial if there are to be more services between Norwich and Cambridge." The newspaper's main Leader column says "A new operator [Govia Thameslink Railway, now running King's Lynn-King's Cross services] and an announcement that Ely North Junction would be upgraded, complete with MPs and ministers enjoying a photo opportunity, provide hope the half-hourly trains in King's Lynn might just happen." The Leader column is headed "Just think what rail improvements could do for the region" and the item stresses "Improvements on the key rail arteries in both the east and the west of the region are much needed."

Friday 27 November 2015 - Commenting on yesterday's meeting of MPs Elizabeth Truss, George Freeman and Lucy Frazer with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, fellow Cabinet Member and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss says "I stressed the importance of the junction for jobs and growth in Norfolk. I want passengers and business to have certainty as soon as possible about when the half hourly service on the Kings Lynn to London line will be in place and when the junction will be upgraded. I am also keen to see the Thetford route benefit from more frequent services. That is why Ely North is such a key junction in East Anglian as once upgraded it will increase the capacity on a number of rail links. The Transport Secretary confirmed that he will write to us by the 10th December with this information." MP George Freeman says "The Ely North junction bottleneck is stopping half hourly services between Cambridge, Kings Lynn and Norwich, and faster freight links to Peterborough. Stations like Wymondham in Mid Norfolk could be part of the artery linking rural Norfolk with Norwich and Cambridge, attracting investment and new jobs to the area as well as easing pressure on our roads". Elizabeth Truss MP has further commented "The estimated direct benefit the upgrade for the junction will bring is £220 million [Atkins Report for Norfolk County Council]. There will be even further benefits in terms of housing growth, new business attracted to the area, more jobs that have not been included in the figure of £220 million. ... [Atkins' study concluded] an additional 2 million passengers were expected to use the service by 2026 from stations north of Cambridge."

Thursday 26 November 2015 - the Department for Transport has released certain papers concerning Ely North Junction today in response to a successful Freedom of Information Act request [Ref. F0012971] by Rupert Moss-Eccardt. We will be analysing these papers and reporting any significant findings on this website. The papers consist of (i) Email exchanges in regards of Ely North Junction and level crossings [see in particular Appendix A of this document]; (ii) Ministerial correspondence in regards of Ely North Junction; (iii) Network Rail and DfT Correspondence [Draft Letter from Principal Strategic Planner, London and South East Network Rail to DfT dated 21 August 2015 AND Draft response Letter to Principal Route Planner, Network Rail from DfT dated 25th August 2015 AND Letter from Principal Strategic Planner, London and South East Network Rail to DfT dated 22nd September 2015]; (iv) A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement February 2015; and (v) Ely CP5 Control Delivery Request change form dated February 2015.

Thursday 26 November 2015 - "Anger as rail improvements which would bring millions to our economy are delayed" - BBC Look East's top story at 6.30 p.m. tonight. Political Correspondent Andrew Sinclair was interviewing passengers at Ely tonight - "Ely is probably the most important interchange in the East and the most congested." Footage of trains at Ely North Junction accompanied the news that Network Rail envisaged delays of "at least another three years" before the junction would be upgraded to support more frequent train services. Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia LEP, affirmed the campaign to secure the upgrade would go on, George Freeman MP pointed out that a "relatively small amount" of money was involved and FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler spoke of the overcrowding on the line. The delay hangs around level crossings in the vicinity of Ely North Junction itself. Passengers spoke of the "shocking" and "completely unbelievable" levels of overcrowding: "people have to ram each other in." Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will be consulting on the proposed programme over the next few weeks before making a final decision.

Andrew Sinclair concludes his BBC report:[04:01] One bit of good news from tonight's meeting - the Transport Secretary said it should still be possible to provide half-hourly services from King's Lynn to Cambridge without waiting for the junction to improve. The Government's stressing tonight this scheme has only been delayed, it's not been scrapped, but this news is a blow to campaigners, it's also a bit embarrassing for local MPs."

Thursday 26 November 2015 - "Twice-hourly trains between King’s Lynn and London put on backburner" is the headline of today's Eastern Daily Press story. "MPs vow to keep up pressure for key upgrade to West Norfolk rail line after work delayed" reports the Lynn News. The BBC news page quotes managing director of New Anglia LEP, Chris Starkie, as saying: "Hopefully overcrowding will be solved in the short term but what we want to see in the Ely North junction improvements is the increase in frequency". Under the heading "Rail project on hold for at least three years", Political Correspondent Andrew Sinclair explains the background here [see clip at 15:37]. ITV News coverage can be found here.

Thursday 26 November 2015 - KLFM96.7 carries the story "Half hourly train service delayed until at least 2019." "We desperately need the half-hourly service, which was promised from 2017, it's part of the franchise commitment" says King's Lynn & West Norfolk Council Deputy Leader Brian Long in an interview with the local radio station. He goes on to say, "we're going to have to get a group of all the parties ... and we're going to have to apply further pressure to Government..." "I'm having a meeting today with the Transport Secretary ... I want to find out exactly what's happened and when the work is scheduled for" Elizabeth Truss MP tells KLFM96.7 in another interview. "The first thing for me is securing the half-hourly service as soon as possible ... we know that demand on the line is growing hugely ... my plea to the Transport Secretary today is 'can we get this done as soon as possible ...' A number of other local MPs are joining me at the meeting ... Henry Bellingham ... Lucy Frazer ... [I will be asking] when is the half-hourly service going to happen, when is that upgrade going to happen ... we don't want to see any more delays... what we now need is certainty ... "

Thursday 26 November 2015 - The Transport Secretary makes a Written Statement to Parliament titled "Future of Rail".

Wednesday 25 November 2015 - Dame Colette Bowe was asked by the Transport Secretary to look at lessons learned from the planning processes used for the 2014 to 2019 enhancements programme and to make recommendations for better investment planning in future. Her report is published today as Command Paper Cm 9147. In his response to Dame Colette's report, the Secretary of State for Transport has accepted all her recommendations. He writes that he is "making changes within my Department. The planning and delivery of enhancements will be brought together under a single Director of Network Services, who will be responsible for approving the scope of all current and future enhancements and be the single point through which any change of scope is authorised. This will mirror similar arrangements being introduced in Network Rail. Where appropriate, the type of contractual arrangements that have successfully been adopted in the Department's oversight of Crossrail and Thameslink will also be used in respect of the larger and more complex enhancement programmes. This includes senior cross-industry route programme boards [King's Cross to King's Lynn 'Cambridge Express' services operate over two Network Rail "Routes" - 'London North Eastern and East Midlands' and 'Anglia'] and internal integration groups to improve co-ordination between franchises, rolling stock and infrastructure."

Wednesday 25 November 2015 - Network Rail publishes Sir Peter Hendy's review of its investment plans for CP5 [2014-2019]. His report states [page 24] "Network Rail is undertaking development on a scheme to allow the lengthening of peak time services on the Cambridge to Kings Lynn corridor from 4 to 8 car length to tackle overcrowding and will report back to DfT on costs and programme for delivery in spring of 2016." The Ely North Junction upgrade is to be completed in CP6 [2019-2024]. Sir Peter's report states [also page 24]: "Ely North Junction. This scheme will be delivered now in CP6 to allow co-ordination with safety critical level crossing works nearby. Despite this Network Rail is aware of the strong aspiration of the DfT and local user groups and MPs to see improvements to services on the Cambridge to Kings Lynn corridor as soon as practicable." Page 38 of the report lists the following schemes "to be delivered in CP5 - King's Lynn to Cambridge 8-car, Cambridge North station [also known as Cambridge Science Park station]" and, under projects now "to be developed and delivered in CP6 - Ely North Junction Capacity improvement." The Ely to Soham Doubling scheme (which is relevant to the Fen Line but not part of it) is also listed on page 38 as a project now "to be developed and delivered in CP6." Network Rail's announcement is here. The Secretary of State for Transport has accepted Sir Peter's recommendations, subject to a short period of consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Tuesday 24 November 2015 - Downham Market makes the front page of the Eastern Daily Press for the second consecutive day. "Flying In!" by Annabelle Dickson is the front page story today and covers the Government's announcement that nearby RAF Marham is to be the base for an additional squadron of RAF fighter jets. Today's 'EDP' also reports further on yesterday's Westminster launch of the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering, saying "Along with new investment at RAF Marham, it is expected to bring a total of 1bn to west Norfolk."

The RAF Marham expansion is the second major development (alluded to by FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson at Saturday's AGM) which underpins our expectation of significant future increases in passenger numbers at Downham Market station.

Monday 23 November 2015 - "£300M Vision for old airbase" is the front page story of today's Eastern Daily Press. Details of the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering (CfAKE) at Downham Market are to be unveiled today to MPs and Lords today in the Houses of Parliament, at a reception hosted by South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss. The campus is anticipated to create more than 4,500 permanent jobs and, if work goes according to plan, "the first part is expected to be complete by early 2017, with the first intake of students in September that year."

Elizabeth Truss MP is quoted in today's Eastern Daily Press supporting full page article [Page 4]: "Along with the upgrade of the A11, the half-hourly rail service on the King's Lynn to London line due in 2017 ... means south west Norfolk is very much the place to do business." Those attending Saturday's AGM will have heard FLUA's Chairman Colin Sampson allude to the CfAKE development and express our expectation that rail passenger traffic at Downham Market would increase significantly.

The BBC report has the headline "Downham Market's former air base earmarked for 4,500 jobs" and stresses that "the 70-acre (28 hectare) site at Downham Market was chosen because it had rail and road access to Cambridge and London."

Monday 23 November 2015 - Network Rail has responded to Christine Taylor's Freedom of Information Act request [Ref. FOI2015/01066] for costs of extending platforms at Waterbeach station etc. Some of the information requested cannot be released on grounds of commercial confidentiality, but Network Rail has supplied the following information: "... a feasibility study was undertaken in 2009, investigating the extension of the platforms at Waterbeach to accommodate 5-car Intercity Express Programme trains. Whilst this report refers to platform extensions, along with an estimated cost, it is no longer valid. The extensions it describes would be inadequate to those required today (i.e. too short and the then cost estimate is now out of date) ... we are currently undertaking development work to determine the feasibility of extending the platforms at Waterbeach, among other interventions, to enable the running of 8-car trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge. This is in Governance for Rail Investment Projects (GRIP) stages 1-2 and currently scheduled for completion in May 2016. Therefore we do not have any cost estimate to share at this stage."

Saturday 21 November 2015 - Our thanks to all those members who attended the 30th Annual General Meeting and to our speakers and other members of railway management who also joined us this afternoon. From Govia Thameslink Railway these were: Keith Jipps, Passenger Service Director, GN, and Jon Hills, Service Development Manager, GN (who together made the main presentation), Angie Palmer, Head of Customer Services, GN, and King's Lynn Station Manager Graeme Pratt. Additionally, Alan Neville, Regional Customer Services Manager, Abellio Greater Anglia, and Helen Warnock, Area Director, West Anglia & North London Line, Network Rail, also attended the meeting.

There is general agreement that the existing overcrowding north of Cambridge, as well as the extra journeys likely to be generated by people living on the Fen Line travelling to and from the new Cambridge North station (Cambridge Science Park station) now under construction, requires more and longer trains; at this stage the timing and order of improvements to accommodate them is uncertain.

We intend to place a copy of the GTR presentation in the Members' section as soon as possible.

Saturday 21 November 2015 - The Association's 30th Annual General Meeting will take place today, starting at 2p.m. and held at St. John's Church (adjacent to King's Lynn railway station). Keith Jipps, Passenger Service Director, Great Northern, Govia Thameslink Railway, will address the meeting and other members of rail management will also be present to answer questions. Non-members are welcome - please join on the day (click here for a membership application form, print it, and bring it along with your payment; or ask for a form at the door). The meeting should be an excellent opportunity to hear about the Fen Line's future - first-hand.

Friday 20 November 2015 - The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts publishes its report on Network Rail's CP5 (2014-2019) investment programme, highlighting what it says are "severe planning and budgeting failures." More details of the Inquiry and evidence given during it are here.

Friday 20 November 2015 - The Department for Transport Rail Executive publishes an updated Rail Franchising Programme Prior Information Notice today. Page 7 contains the updated Rail Franchising Schedule, which shows the new East Anglia franchise is due to start in October 2016. The East Midlands direct award is due to end in March 2018; the Cross Country direct award is due to end in October 2019; the Thameslink Southern & Great Northern TSGN franchise (which includes King's Cross-King's Lynn Fen Line services) is due to end in September 2021; and the East Coast franchise is due to end in March 2023. The Invitation for Tender for the new East Midlands franchise is due to be issued in December 2016; the Invitation for Tender for the new Cross Country franchise is due to be issued in September 2018. Proposed dates for issuing Invitations to Tender for the 'next round' of rail franchises are: TSGN - July 2020; East Coast - January 2022; and East Anglia - August 2024. Passenger trains operated by TSGN [Govia Thameslink Railway, 'Great Northern' services] operate over Ely North Junction, as do (or will) those operated by the East Anglia, East Midlands and Cross Country franchises; East Coast trains are not normally routed via Ely, except when diverted (in addition, freight trains also pass over the junction).

Thursday 19 November 2015 - Today's Cambridge News reports Plans for 27,600 jobs and 630 homes near Cambridge Science Park station scrapped over sewage row." The paper covers Cambridge City Council's Development Scrutiny Sub-Committee meeting of 17 November 2015, [Item 7] which has recommended adoption of lesser-scale proposals (15,000 jobs and 440 homes) for the land around the Cambridge North station (Cambridge Science Park station) currently under construction and due to open in December 2016. The issue is whether the sewage works can or cannot be viably relocated; Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council's joint consultation of December 2014 and the report to the Sub-Committee give more background information. Meanwhile, developers of 'CB4' Brookgate have indicated that they expect to submit in December an application for revised details of the layout of the land around the new station. Construction works for the new station are visible from passing Fen Line trains and the new station would open up walking access to the existing jobs and education opportunities located nearby for users from Fen Line stations, particularly relevant in the light of house prices in Cambridge itself.

Tuesday 17 November 2015 - The Office of Rail and Road today writes to interested parties, setting out its next steps concerning its work resulting from train operators' applications for access to the East Coast Main Line. There are several competing applications, from both franchised train operators and from Open Access operators. These applications are for 'Long Distance High Speed' (LDHS) services and cannot all be granted as insufficient capacity exists to accommodate all the services being sought. Capacity on the East Coast Main Line for Great Northern Outer Suburban services, such as Kings Cross-Kings Lynn, and for future Thameslink services, such as Brighton-Cambridge, is not in dispute; we continue to maintain our monitoring of the on-going ORR work. The ORR's East Coast Main Line webpage, which "contains information on our consideration of capacity, performance and current applications for access on the East Coast Main Line (ECML)" collects the relevant documentation together, for example the ECML Capacity Options Report by Network Rail dated 11 September 2014.

Friday 13 November 2015 - "How much do you need to earn in Cambridge to buy a home?" asks Jenny Chapman in today's Cambridge News. With Cambridge the third most expensive place to buy (after London and Oxford) the answers are £178k earnings for a detached property, £128k for a semi, £109k for a terraced, and £79k for a flat. The median salary in Cambridge is just over £25k. We have said before that the massive growth on King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services is greatly down to house prices, we are greatly concerned about intense overcrowding on Fen Line trains both south of and, increasingly, north of Cambridge, as places such as Ely and Downham Market become very popular commuter towns. We invite you to come to our AGM at 2p.m. on Saturday 21 November at St. John's Church, King's Lynn (adjacent to railway station). Great Northern's Passenger Service Director, Keith Jipps, will be speaking about the Fen Line's future and other railway managers will also be there to answer members' questions. If not already a FLUA member, you can join on the day.

Friday 5 November 2015 - Details of key Great Northern timetable changes from Sunday 13 December 2015 are listed here. Included in the forthcoming changes are: on Mondays to Fridays, the 2144 King's Cross-Ely will be strengthened to run with 8-cars as far as Cambridge; on Saturdays, the 0654 King's Lynn-King's Cross will be strengthened to run with 8-cars south of Cambridge; on Saturdays; the 1944 King's Cross-Ely will be extended to King's Lynn, also calling at Downham Market; the 2044 King's Cross-Ely will be strengthened to run with 8-cars as far as Cambridge; on Sundays, the 1757 King's Lynn-King's Cross will be strengthened to run with 8-cars south of Cambridge.

Tuesday 3 November 2015 - Network Rail has responded to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information request regarding level crossings associated with the Ely North Junction upgrade, asking Mr Moss-Eccardt to supply more detail as to the information he is seeking. They have 20 working days from receiving the clarification they seek to respond. Mr Moss-Eccardt's reply to Network Rail, dated today, includes the following:

"In terms of time frame, anything from the beginning of this year (2015) will probably suffice.

"The following news articles may be of assistance: http://edp24.co.uk/1.4166910 (where a Network Rail spokesman is said to mention closure) and http://www.elizabethtruss.com/news/candi... where SoS for DEFRA says Network Rail told her there were issues with the road crossing.

"The Ely North upgrade is still in CP5 so the paperwork for that should mention the crossings.

"The three road/rail crossings in question are the three on the B1382 in Queen Adelaide. The middle one has featured in your safety campaign for university students and all three have enforcement cameras as they are in the top 20 most dangerous crossings, apparently. They are the three called 'Queen Adelaide' as a result of this search: with postcode CB7 4UQ and a radius of one mile. I think they are Crossing 2529, Crossing 2530 and Crossing 2531."

Monday 2 November 2015 - Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman calls for the upgrading of Cambridge-Norwich services in today's Eastern Daily Press, including "Faster delivery of the doubling of the Ely North Junction – work that would be crucial for enhanced services on the line" and "Faster delivery of the upgrades at Ely station to Ely North Junction".

Saturday 31 October 2015 - Rupert Moss-Eccardt has submitted the following Freedom of Information request to Network Rail:
"Dear Network Rail Limited,
"There has been a lot of coverage for several years about the upgrade of Ely North Junction.
"In the last year there has been mention by local politicians and MPs of challenges around level crossings in the area, particularly those in Queen Adelaide (there are three in the village itself).
"Please could you provide any correspondence, plans and emails that mention these crossings any, particularly what the problems are and any proposals being considered. Note you do not need to send the 'improving connectivity' paper from last year."
Currently waiting for a response from Network Rail Limited, they must respond promptly and normally no later than 27 November 2015.

Friday 30 October 2015 - Keith Jipps, Passenger Services Director, Great Northern, Govia Thameslink Railway, will be the guest speaker at the 30th Annual General Meeting of the Association to be held on Saturday 21 November 2015. The meeting will be held at St. John's Church (adjacent to King's Lynn railway station) starting at 2 p.m. As usual, we have invited rail management to answer members' questions.

Members have now been sent formal notice of the AGM as well as The Fenman 2015 no 3 (via post or via email, as appropriate). A copy of this issue is also available in the Members' section. Non members are welcome - there will be the opportunity to join on the day. We invite you to come and find out the Fen Line future - first-hand!

Friday 30 October 2015 - "New talks promised in rail upgrade bid" reports the Eastern Daily Press in its print edition today. In an article mainly about the Norwich-London line, the 'EDP' makes it clear that "Local MPs have been lobbying hard to make sure the promises made ahead of the election are honoured, including on the Norwich London line and upgrades to the Ely [North] junction on the King's Lynn to London line." Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin told Chloe Smith MP that he would be discussing these matters with NR Chairman Sir Peter Hendy "later today" [i.e. yesterday].

Monday 26 October 2015 - Waterbeach resident Christine Taylor has submitted the following Freedom of Information request to Network Rail:
"Dear Network Rail
"It has been acknowledged that the Waterbeach to Kings Cross line is at capacity and the busiest in the Eastern Region. The village is also seeing expansions in housing as are the neighbouring villages with more and more commuters accessing Waterbeach Station. The rapid increase in passengers is set to continue.
"The recent incidents of people not being able to get on commuter trains and young school girls getting pushed off full carriages has been reported in the Cambridge News but I understand from the article it is too expensive to extend the platform.
http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Teen-pushed-crowded-train-Cambridge-angry-mother/story-28050495-detail/story.html
"Please can you confirm how much it costs to extend the platform please?
"Secondly, I also understand that a business case has been done which rules out extending the good yards next to Waterbeach station as extra much needed parking on grounds of cost.
"I would like to have a copy of that business case please together with the costs and anticipated annual revenues for the car park extension.
"Thank you."
Currently waiting for a response from Network Rail Limited, they must respond promptly and normally no later than 23 November 2015.

Monday 26 October 2015 - An important part of the legislation necessary for the Ely Southern Bypass scheme (itself necessary for the closure of Ely station level crossing) has been published today: The Cambridgeshire County Council (A142 Ely Southern Bypass) Bridge Scheme 2015 Confirmation Instrument 2015. The Order was made on 8 October 2015.

Monday 26 October 2015 - Teen elbowed off crowded train to Cambridge as angry mother demands 'urgent action' headlines the Cambridge News on its front page today. Guinevere Glasfurd-Brown tells the Cambridge News how her daughter, was "roughly manhandled" as the 7.32am train to Cambridge [0651 King's Lynn-King's Cross service] arrived at Waterbeach, causing her to miss it and be 30 minutes late at University Technical College, Cambridge (located next to Addenbrooke's) which she attends. Mrs Glasfurd-Brown adds that her daughter "usually has to run up and down the platform when the train arrives looking for a space and almost always has to stand." The paper points out that "In just over 10 years – from 2002/2003 to 2013/2014 – the number of people using Waterbeach has increased from 176,639 users a year to 344,722, according to figures from the Office of Rail and Road. Over the same period the footfall at Cambridge railway station has gone from 5,478,112 users to 9,824,859."

Monday 26 October 2015 - Passenger comments and feedback are summarised in today's Rail Investigation featured in the Eastern Daily Press.

Saturday 24 October 2015 - "Travelling from KL to KX, the Fen Line that's a real royal favourite" is the title of the double-page feature in today's Eastern Daily Press. It's headed "In the latest in his series exploring East Anglian rail journeys, Mark Nicholls boards the busy train from 'KL' to 'KX' ... from King's Lynn to London King's Cross." The author writes "I board the 9.54 a.m. Great Northern departure for King's Cross, via intermediate stations to Ely and Cambridge, then fast to the capital." The feature is in the Weekend section of the paper.

Friday 23 October 2015 - Today's Eastern Daily Press Rail Investigation concentrates on the way forward for the East Anglia Rail Franchise (this franchise excludes GTR's King's Lynn-King's Cross services and those of Cross-Country Trains and East Midlands Trains which also operate across parts of the Fen Line).

Thursday 22 October 2015 - "Why do people in Norfolk and Suffolk pay more for their train fares?" is the question posed today in the week-long Eastern Daily Press Rail Investigation series.

Wednesday 21 October 2015 - The Lynn News reports "Last month, politicians and business leaders joined forces to urge the Department for Transport to commit to an early upgrade of the Ely North junction. The work is seen as crucial to enable half-hourly services to operate between King’s Lynn and London King’s Cross ...". The paper then refers to the letter sent to Elizabeth Truss MP by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin in which he says: “I do not want to pre-empt his [Sir Peter Hendy's] findings [in his forthcoming report on Network Rail's enhancements programme], but I do recognise the extent of your support and the concern you have expressed to ensure the upgrade continues. The growth in rail demand in East Anglia is substantial and our franchise plans recognise this. I am strongly supportive of the efforts being made to generate economic growth through new and enhanced rail services. I have asked my officials to continue to work with you on this, once Sir Peter has reported back to me.” Elizabeth Truss MP is reported as saying “I will continue to ensure the upgrade remains on track and will work with the DFT, MPs, councils and the business community in order that local residents and visitors can benefit from half hourly trains on the Kings Lynn to London line and increased services on the Thetford route.” Referring to the group of MPs, council and business leaders, FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson said "said: “We are encouraged by all that we hear from that pressure group.”

Wednesday 21 October 2015 - "Encouragement, but no start date, for Norfolk rail line upgrade campaign" is the headline in the Bury Free Press today, reporting on the letter sent by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to Elizabeth Truss MP concerning Ely North Junction. The paper reports "Ministers have insisted they support efforts to improve the rail links between Norfolk and London, but can’t yet say when a key upgrade of the line will be carried out. But campaigners say they are encouraged by the latest comments to emerge from the Department for Transport this week. ... The work is seen as crucial to enable half-hourly services to operate between King’s Lynn and London King’s Cross, as well as improvements to other services using the link. ... And Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users Association praised the “terrific fight” being put up by MPs, council and business leaders on the issue."

Wednesday 21 October 2015 - The Ely News reports today, "MPs welcome letter from Transport Secretary in response to fears over Ely North Junction upgrade delays. But they say there is still a lot of work to be done until the major project is delivered. ... South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer said: "I welcome the Secretary of State's response, recognising the importance of rail infrastructure to Cambridgeshire. There is still more to be done to ensure that the Ely North Junction upgrade is delivered, and I will continue working with my parliamentary colleagues to keep progress on track ..."

Wednesday 21 October 2015 - Elizabeth Truss MP has today published a letter sent from the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP (in response to the letter sent on 18 September 2015 by Elizabeth Truss and fellow MPs Henry Bellingham, Lucy Frazer, and Steven Barclay) concerning Ely North Junction. In a statement issued today, she "welcomes the letter from the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin in which the Transport Secretary recognises the growth in East Anglia’s rail network. Responding to the letter sent to his office on the 18th September by MPs, council leaders and the Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP where concerns had been raised about a delay in upgrading the Ely North Rail Junction, the Transport Secretary has asked Department For Transport (DFT) officials to work with Elizabeth to maximise the potential of rail services in the region." This is a link to Secretary of State for Transport's letter to Elizabeth Truss.

Wednesday 21 October 2015 - Passenger satisfaction, including with GTR Great Northern King's Lynn to King's Cross services, is the topic of today's article in this week's Eastern Daily Press East Anglia rail investigation.

Tuesday 20 October 2015 - "Just who is to blame for the failure of your train to arrive on time?" is the question posed in today's instalment of the Eastern Daily Press East Anglia rail investigation.

Monday 19 October 2015 - ITV News covers the problems station users are having during the major re-development work at Cambridge station, under the title : "No pain, no gain for commuters hit by station building work."

Monday 19 October 2015 - The Eastern Daily Press launches today a week-long series on rail in Norfolk and Suffolk. Concentrating on time-keeping performance, today's article states, "The King’s Lynn to King’s Cross service also scored poorly, with 84pc, a fall of 1.5pc since 2011/12. However, a closer look at the figures shows that since Govia Thameslink Railway Limited took on the franchise last year, the PPM has improved by 4.4pc. It has also got even better in the first few months of 2015/16. A spokesman said it had been “focusing hard” on improving the punctuality and reliability of services for passengers."

Friday 16 October 2015 - The Office of Rail and Road, ORR, has concluded today that Network Rail is taking action to improve planning and delivery of rail enhancements, this conclusion arising from ORR's investigation into NR's delivery of the CP5 (2014-2019) enhancement programme. Included in ORR's enforcement documentation related to enhancements, is the "ORR evidence report - Network Rail's overall planning, management and delivery of its enhancements programme", which shows [Annex C, page 57] that development work on Project A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement has been running 11 months late.

Wednesday 14 October 2015 - The Department for Transport, Siemens, and Thameslink have produced an informative leaflet about the forthcoming class 700 trains, which will be used on trains from Cambridge to Brighton and to Tattenham Corner from 2018. Please note that these trains will not be used on King's Lynn-King's Cross services; a fleet of air-conditioned class 377 trains is scheduled to be employed on Fen Line services.

Sunday 11 October 2015 - Foxton Parish Council has published an update from Network Rail on Foxton Level Crossing. Foxton level crossing has a long history of incidents. The Royston Crow has previously reported "a total of 34 offences have been committed at Foxton Level Crossing in the last year, with incidents ranging from trespassing to failing to stop at signals." Earlier in the year, the Cambridge News reported "Safety work scrapped at ‘dangerous’ Foxton level crossing as Network Rail cites spiralling costs." Foxton Parish Council's history of NR's longer-term proposals to close the level crossing and replace it with a bridge is here.

Friday 8 October 2015 - Reported by The Comet, the 1454 King's Lynn to King's Cross "struck and killed" a 73 year-old woman at Foxton Level Crossing yesterday (7 October). No trains were running between Royston and Cambridge for several hours. The affected train, carrying some 100 passengers who were reassured by the driver and another GTR staff member, was able to be driven into Royston at 1736 and passengers were transferred to a waiting train. Otherwise, buses were shuttling between Royston and Cambridge and trains were running between King's Cross and Letchworth/Royston and between Cambridge and King's Lynn. The first homeward-bound train to be able to run beyond Royston was the delayed 1714 King's Cross-Ely, which also carried hundreds of passengers from trains (such as the 1644 King's Cross-King's Lynn) which had had to have been terminated at Royston. The 1714 train was met at Cambridge by a GTR train calling at all-stations to King's Lynn. There was significant disruption following the line's reopening, as drivers and trains were widely displaced, but GTR ran all last services as published (albeit with delays) in order to get people home.

Thursday 1 October 2015 - 'The Key' smart ticketing is introduced on Great Northern stations from Royston to King's Cross. Speaking today, GTR Commercial Director David Innis said, "from next year The Key will be extended to the remaining Great Northern stations north of Royston, to Cambridge and King's Lynn, and at Peterborough."

Saturday 26 September 2015 - "Politicians and business leaders in the region have written to the transport minister calling for improvements to the Ely North Junction to take place as soon as possible" is the Eastern Daily Press story today.

Friday 25 September 2015 - The Lynn News reports that "MPs and business chiefs call for early work on key Ely rail link." The ITV coverage of the pressure from MPs, Councils and business leaders for the Ely North Junction upgrade is here.

Friday 25 September 2015 - MPs Elizabeth Truss, Henry Bellingham, Steven Barclay and Lucy Frazer, along with the Leaders of West Norfolk and East Cambridgeshire councils, and Cambridgeshire County Council, as well as the Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, have today written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport pressing for the implementation of the Ely North Junction upgrade as soon as possible. The letter highlights the importance of the contracted half-hourly King's Lynn-King's Cross service from May 2017 and stresses that the Ely upgrade is one of the LEP's "top priorities."

Thursday 17 September 2015 - The Department for Transport has issued the Invitation to Tender and associated documentation for the East Anglia Rail Franchise. The franchise is planned to start in October 2016 and last until October 2025 (with a possible extension of a further year). The Train Service Requirement (part of the associated documentation) includes the Mondays to Fridays peak only King's Lynn/Ely-Cambridge to Liverpool Street trains. The hourly Norwich to Cambridge via Ely trains will continue, with most extended to and from Stansted Airport. Both these routes will also serve the new Cambridge North station (Cambridge Science Park station) [which is now under construction and which is expected to open in December 2016]. The existing Ipswich-Ely-Peterborough services, which run every two hours, will also continue to operate. More details concerning the franchise are contained in the Stakeholder Briefing document.

Wednesday 16 September 2015 - The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has launched an Inquiry into Network Rail's CP5 2014-2019 rail investment programme. To assist the Inquiry, the National Audit Office has published a Memorandum which sets out the background to NR's CP5 funding and programme, how issues have come to light, and how the government is responding. The Memorandum states, "Additionally, the Office of Road and Rail has been investigating whether Network Rail is doing everything 'reasonably practicable' to meet its obligations relating to delivery of enhancement projects....' The [ORR's] final conclusion is expected in September 2015."

Wednesday 16 September 2015 - The existing East Midlands franchise, which operates Norwich to Liverpool services, has been extended by the Government until March 2018.

Thursday 10 September 2015 - The Department for Transport has published the Control Period 5 enhancements re-planning exercise: draft terms of reference. This exercise is also known as the 'Hendy Review' - see news item for Thursday 27 August 2015 below. The DfT has also published a letter from the Secretary of State to the Chair of the House of Commons Transport Committee, which includes links to the related Shaw Report and Bowe Review.

Wednesday 9 September 2015 - The presentations given at Govia Thameslink Railway's (GTR) first annual Stakeholders' Conference are available in the Members' section. The presentations contain a large amount of information on a wide variety of topics.

Tuesday 8 September 2015 - The Ely Standard reports that the double track scheme for the Ely to Soham line will not now progress as planned. This section is on the Midlands-Peterborough-Felixstowe route and should not be confused with the separate Ely North Junction project. "Survey work has shown that the complexity of the project is greater than originally thought and therefore the cost estimate has increased significantly." The on-going consultation has been "put on hold" and "will recommence when a revised date for this submission has been set." Network Rail's statement is here.

Thursday 3 September 2015 - The Ely News reports today that the Ely Southern Bypass is on track for completion by the end of 2017. The bypass will permit the closure of Ely Station level crossing. Cambridgeshire County Council's Executive Director for Economy, Transport and Environment, Graham Hughes, says he is "not worried" that the final approval for the new road will fall on Ministers. He says the aim is for "building work to start next spring/summer and for the bypass to be completed by the end of 2017." Neal Darwin, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough LEP (in whose area the whole of the Fen Line falls) is reported as saying the bypass "remained one of the LEP's top priorities."

Thursday 27 August 2015 - Network Rail has published its CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan for June 2015. This states [Page 9] "The Secretary of State has asked Sir Peter Hendy to set out how Network Rail will deliver the CP5 Enhancement Programme in light of deliverability and cost challenges. As announced by the Secretary of Sate, Midland Main Line Electrification (ES0001) and North Trans Pennine Electrification East (LNE001) are now paused and will be re-planned as part of this proposal. The remainder of the projects in this plan are continuing but all are in [the] scope of the re-planning exercise. The re-planning proposals will be presented to the Secretary of Sate in the autumn. It is expected that the impact of the re-planning exercise will be reflected in an updated plan to be published in March 2016."

Saturday 22 August 2015 - "All change at Cambridge train station as ticket office shuts on Tuesday" reports the Cambridge News today. There will be a temporary ticket office opened just to the left of the station doors, whilst the work by Abellio Greater Anglia, which is expected to last about six months, takes place to improve the booking hall and ticket office. When finished, the work will mean more space and less congestion in the station buildings.

Thursday 20 August 2015 - Abellio Greater Anglia has started £500,000 works to upgrade the buildings on the island platform at Ely, reports today's Ely Standard. Work is expected to be completed this Autumn. There will be a new waiting room, shop, toilets and customer service office. Abellio is reported as saying "this investment will transform customer service for rail passengers."

Thursday 20 August 2015 - Today's Cambridge News reports on the green light for the new Cambridge station at Chesterton, reporting that "Network Rail has said it plans on submitting a totally overhauled planning application for the station's car park in the coming weeks." It has been previously reported that permission may be sought to relocate the car park to achieve a better fit in with wider development proposals around the new station. The Cambridge News further reports that there will be "an anticipated 3,000 journeys ... from the station every day."

Wednesday 19 August 2015 - The proposed new £44m Cambridge station has been given the green light by planning authorities today. Network Rail says "building work is set to start this autumn and the new station is anticipated to open in December 2016." It also reports that a decision on the name of the new station, which is located in Chesterton, will be announced later this year. Radio Cambridgeshire coverage is here.

Friday 14 August 2015 - The Cambridge News reports that the planning application for the proposed Cambridge Science Park (Cambridge North) station have been recommended for approval ahead of next Wednesday's Joint Development Control Committee meeting (the site lies partially in the Cambridge City Council area and partially in that administered by South Cambridgeshire District Council). In their report, planning officers have said that the proposals covered by the applications [Cambridge City Council reference number15/0994/FUL and South Cambridgeshire District Council reference number S/1236/15/FL] will contribute to the economy "by acting as a catalyst for redevelopment."

Wednesday 12 August 2015 - Great Northern and Thameslink are creating a Customer Cabinet board to help passengers shape the future of their services. Owning company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is looking for passengers to share their knowledge and views to help deliver tangible benefits to both Thameslink and Great Northern services. Anyone interested in joining the Customer Cabinet should apply by 25 August either online or call Angela Okello, Customer Engagement Manager, on 020 8929 8600 for a postal application form.

Monday 10 August 2015 - Under the headline "New trains will bring 'big improvement' to Cambridge line", today's Cambridge News reports "New trains which are set to revolutionise services on the mainlines through Cambridge and Huntingdon from 2018 are about to undergo a testing programme before going into operation. The first of the Siemens-built Class 700 Desiro City trains has just arrived in the UK." The paper continues "They will create a direct link to St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, London Bridge and East Croydon, with two trains an hour from Cambridge to Brighton via Gatwick and will take around 1 hour 40 minutes to Gatwick, half an hour faster than at present, with 2 hours 10 minute to Brighton." We understand that these new trains will not run north of Cambridge and that King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services are due to receive air-conditioned class 377 trains.

Thursday 6 August 2015 – The Ely Standard reports today that the planning application [reference 15/00427/FUM] by Pelco Distribution LLP for a rail-served straw pellet production plant located adjacent to the former container siding at Queen Adelaide (next to Ely North Junction) was approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council on 5 August 2015. Paragraphs 3.34 and 3.35 (page 15) of the Planning Application Supporting Statement state “It is proposed that the pellets would be removed from site by three trains each week anticipated to be on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday). ... Each train can accommodate 1,1 80 tonnes of pellets (in 20 wagons).”

Monday 3 August 2015 - BBC Look East reports on the two shortlisted options for the central section of the Cambridge-Oxford East West Rail scheme and interviews Railfuture's Peter Wakefield. The East West Rail Consortium's statement contains an article which reports "The study shows that the corridors connecting Bedford and Cambridge via Sandy or Hitchin offer the best value for money at this stage of development. Network Rail will evaluate these corridors further in order to identify a single preferred corridor and then consider routes within that corridor."

Wednesday 29 July 2015 - The Department for Transport is consulting on plans to designate passenger services on the Ely-March-Peterborough line [which runs through Ely North Junction] as a community rail service. This designation would include Manea, March and Whittlesea stations, but would exclude Ely and Peterborough stations; it would also exclude other infrastructure on the route, including track and signalling, and would not apply to freight trains [the line is part of an EU Trans European Network "TENT-T" investment priority corridor]. The Peterborough to Ely community rail service consultation runs until Friday 25 September 2015.

Wednesday 29 July 2015 - Cambridgeshire County Council has today published two studies concerning the case for re-opening the railway between March and Wisbech. The County Council states "For a preferred option of two trains per hour from Wisbech to Cambridge [via March and Ely], the Outline Business Case and GRIP 2 documents show a Benefit to Cost ratio (BCR) of 2.27 to 1, representing high value for money. ... However, without additional work in the Ely area, it is unlikely that this service pattern could be achieved. A fallback option of one train an hour to Cambridge and one train and hour to March would be possible without further work at Ely. This option has a BCR of 1.37 to 1 (representing low value for money) rising to 3.37 to 1 when wider economic benefits are taken into account." Paragraph 5.5.1 of the GRIP 2 report points out that "the main constraint is likely to be at Ely North Junction, where the current layout is heavily utilised by existing services. Network Rail are planning a capacity enhancement of the junction (recently deferred) but it is predicted that most of the new additional capacity will be used by enhanced Great Northern [GTR] Services from King's Lynn via Cambridge, with only one additional path per hour available for new services via March." Paragraph 5.5.1 of the GRIP 2 report continues "This will need further clarification; for this service option [2 tph Wisbech-March-Cambridge] we are assuming that the extra capacity at Ely North is available." Paragraph 10.1 (Summary of Conclusions) of the GRIP 2 report notes that "Pathing constraints at Ely North mean that, under current conditions, only one Wisbech-March-Cambridge service is possible per hour." Table 5.2 (Programme Dependencies) in the Outline Business Case reads "Ely North Junction Timetabling, likely 2015-2016: the redoubling of single leads at Ely North Junction will involve changes to the timetable and associated passenger and freight paths. If appropriate, aspirations of this scheme [i.e. for Wisbech-March-Cambridge services] need to be fed into the timetable modelling." Page ix of the Outline Business Case states "Ely North Junction represents the principal constraint, and has capacity enhancements scheduled during Network Rail Control Period 5 (CP5), covering 2014 to 2019, although this scheme is under review alongside the remainder of the CP5 programme. Even should this scheme [i.e. Ely North Junction upgrade] go ahead, it is unlikely that sufficient capacity would exist to deliver the preferred option (2 tph Wisbech-Cambridge). There are a number of other service enhancement proposals for the area which would, in effect, be competing with the preferred option from this study for the paths which do, or which will, exist on the network. These include two trains per hour (tph) between Norwich and Cambridge, one tph between Ipswich and Peterborough, the committed two tph beyond Ely to King's Lynn [i.e. the contractually committed GTR 2 tph King's Cross-King's Lynn service], freight services between Felixstowe and Nuneaton, and improvements to Birmingham-Stansted Airport frequency."

Tuesday 28 July 2015 - The Lynn News reports on the new hurdles to the introduction of King's Lynn-King's Cross half-hourly services, revealed by Network Rail. The paper says, "Network Rail officials have again said they are committed to completing the Ely project ... during the current spending round, which will be completed in 2019." It continues "the Government's contract with Great Northern, the current franchise operator, requires half-hourly services to run from the Spring of 2017, subject to the completion of the necessary infrastructure works." Referring to a recent meeting with Network Rail, Councillor Brian Long is reported as saying "this work alone [at Ely North] will not be sufficient to allow a half-hourly service ... in addition, level crossings will need upgrading along the line, not just at Ely North, but along the line to Lynn." The Lynn News says "Rail chiefs say they are currently assessing what needs to be done to enable the upgraded service from Lynn to the capital to operate."

Monday 27 July 2015 - Network Rail is leading development work for the East West Rail Consortium, which has today announced that NR studies have identified two most viable potential route corridors for the Central section of East West Rail. These two corridors are: Bedford (South or Central) to Cambridge via Hitchin and Bedford (South or Central) to Cambridge via Sandy. Not part of the announcement, but we consider both of these corridors could offer the potential for a faster, less congested connection between Cambridge and the East Coast Main Line and that there might be the opportunity for quicker King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross journey times in future.

Friday 24 July 2015 - Front page story of today's Eastern Daily Press reports King's Lynn Council Cabinet Member Brian Long speaking about a Councils/LEPs meeting with Network Rail. NR now says Ely North Junction upgrade will not be complete until Autumn 2018. It has also revealed another "hurdle" - an unspecified number of level crossings will need work to allow the half-hourly service as required by the Department for Transport to run. Councillor Long says this is "something that wasn't previously made clear to us." The Council is looking for an early introduction of 8-car trains at peak times and is lobbying for a study "to ascertain what work is needed on the level crossings." Network Rail said the upgrade of Ely North Junction remained "one of its commitments before 2019."

Saturday 18 July 2015 - In its lead Editorial, and referring to Norfolk and Suffolk, today's Eastern Daily Press says, "We applaud the prime minister's warm words for the tourism sector . ... But for tourists who do not want to, or cannot, hire a car, our rail connections are crucial. news that the much-needed investment on the King's Lynn to London line could be delayed, and that all rail projects, including work to speed up the Norwich to London rail service, are under review, undermine the prime minister's rhetoric. It is major projects like these that are key to boosting tourism outside London."

Friday 17 July 2015 - Members have been sent, by post or by email as appropriate, a copy of The Fenman 2015 Issue no. 2 and a copy placed in the Members' section. As usual, copies have also been sent to relevant Ministers, MPs, Councillors, senior Civil Servants, and rail industry decision makers. If you wish your organisation to be considered for inclusion in the distribution list, please send us an email from your organisation's email account.

Thursday 16 July 2015 - East Cambridgeshire District Council today adopted its Corporate Plan 2015-2019. This includes the following in "Our commitment and Actions" - "The Council will complete the feasibility study and funding strategy at Ely and Littleport stations ensuring commuters have sufficient parking" and "An improved Station Gateway in Ely will reduce waiting times for visitors and commuters, increase employment opportunities, provide economic growth, improve customer satisfaction levels and encourage more people to visit the district."

Monday 13 July 2015 - The Ely Southern Bypass road scheme is important as it will permit the closure of the Ely Station level crossing, one of the measures aimed at enhancing rail capacity through the congested Ely area. Lucy Frazer MP, who represents South East Cambridgeshire, met roads Minister Andrew Jones MP today to discuss the Ely Southern Bypass project. Ms Frazer told the Ely News '"Mr Jones made it clear that the DfT did not know of any reason why the upgrade would be delayed" and that work "should go ahead as scheduled."

Saturday 11 July 2015 - North East Cambridgeshire MP, Steven Barclay, comments on the MPs' meeting with rail Minister Claire Perry, saying "I am keen to ensure that the twice hourly service between Kings Lynn and London which will benefit Littleport residents in particular, as well as those from Cambridgeshire, who use Downham Market, begins as scheduled by the end of 2017." He continues, the [Ely North] junction upgrade will also enable more freight to travel by rail and act as a further step forward in the delivery of the Wisbech to Cambridge Science Park rail service."

Friday 10 July 2015 - Radio station KLFM 96.7 reports today "King's Lynn still on track for two train an hour in 2017 say Norfolk MPs."

Thursday 9 July 2015 - Following a meeting between MPs and rail Minister Claire Perry, North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham says, "We were extremely relieved and pleased that the Minister was able to give assurances that the half-hourly services are still on schedule by end of 2017." Cabinet Minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss adds, "The DFT confirmed that studies are still ongoing but the minister understands that the delivery of the half-hourly service on the Kings Lynn to London line by end of 2017 is a priority project for me and I will continue to work with my fellow MPs on this.” The full story was issued by the Lynn News at 17.22 today.

Monday 29 June 2015 - "Network Rail insists it is still committed to upgrading the Ely North Junction - however the work may not be completed until 2019" reports the Ely News today. "Network Rail originally hoped to have the junction fully upgraded by the end of 2017 but this week a spokesman said bosses hoped the work would be completed by 2019."

Sunday 28 June 2015 - Ely North Junction makes BBC's 'Sunday Politics' programme today. Presenter Amelia Reynolds interrupts James Cleverly MP to say, "Norwich in 90, the Ely junction - are you going to guarantee these, here and now, guaranteed?" Mr Cleverly replies, "Well, the Secretary of State for Transport has made it clear he is still committed to these, and I will call his feet to the fire on that, but he has made his position clear." The programme can be found here, where it is available for 29 days (the item begins at 41:41).

Friday 26 June 2015 - "Rail service chiefs have insisted they remain committed to a multi-million pound upgrade of the network serving Norfolk, despite a review of the programme.... [Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin's speech] immediately triggered fears over the future of the project to improve the Ely North Junction, a key bottleneck on the route from Lynn to the capital. A review of the project is underway, amid concerns over the potential implications of additional services on three level crossings to the north of the site. The study is expected to be completed this autumn." The Lynn News report continues "But a Network Rail spokesman said today: The intention is to do it in control period 5 (the current programme scheduled for completion in 2019)." The Lynn News article confirms that Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss is to meet Rail Minister Claire Perry next month [July] and stresses that "the project is particularly vital to enable half-hourly trains to run between King's Lynn and London King's Cross, as provided for under the terms of the contract awarded to the current franchise holder Great Northern."

Friday 26 June 2015 - "No more false dawns, now promises must be kept on rail services" is the title of the Leading Article in today's Eastern Daily Press. The main item in today's Comment column concludes with the following words: "Twice-hourly trains from King's Lynn to London, Norwich in 90, and more trains between Norwich and Cambridge were on the agenda for a reason. They must stay there and become a reality as soon as possible."

Friday 26 June 2015 - Radio Station KLFM 96.7 is concerned over progress on the Ely North Junction scheme and broadcasts Patrick McLoughlin's speech here.

Friday 26 June 2015 - Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss MP issues a statement that she is meeting the Minister next month [July] to discuss Ely North Junction. She says "Along with my fellow MPs in the region we are keen to ensure the works progress as quickly as possible. The economic benefits to East Anglia are tremendous and this is the message I will make to the rail minister." North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has confirmed that the meeting with the Minister, Claire Perry MP, at which he will also be present, will be held in "10 days' time."

Thursday 25 June 2015 - Patrick McLoughlin MP makes an Oral statement to Parliament concerning Network Rail's performance and covers steps the Government is taking with regard to the timing and delivery of investment projects. His speech and the ensuing House of Commons debate is covered in Hansard (columns 1067 to 1080).

Thursday 18 June 2015 - The front page story on today's Eastern Daily Press covers the rapidly growing concern that upgrade works at Ely North Junction could be delayed. The EDP quotes Nick Daubney, Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, as saying "Having already got the news the funding for this work had been approved, I’m bitterly disappointed there could be delays ... Our links to London and Cambridge are essential to the prosperity of King’s Lynn and the surrounding area.” Heather Garrod, President of the West Norfolk Chamber Council, also expresses her organisation's concern about the possible delay. The Eastern Daily Press also contains a very supportive Editorial, lending its voice to the calls for quicker action.

Tuesday 16 June 2015 - Network Rail made a presentation to Cambridge City Council's North Area Committee about the proposed Cambridge Science Park (Cambridge North) station and upgrade works to Chesterton Junction (Fen Road) level crossing this evening.

Monday 15 June 2015 - Business leaders in West Norfolk have written to Network Rail to seek clarity over the Ely North Junction upgrade scheme - they are concerned over reported delays to its implementation. Radio station KLFM 96.7 reports a Department for Transport spokesperson as saying "As part of our long term economic plan this government is committed to improving our railways and Ely North Junction is part of our £38 billion Rail Investment Strategy for the next 5 years. We continue to work with Network Rail and the rail regulator to determine costs and time-scales of the delivery of major rail investment programmes." Anthony Goodrich of King's Lynn Town Centre Partnership speaks to KLFM 96.7 about the importance to the town's economy of two trains an hour between King's Lynn and London here.

Wednesday 10 June 2015 - South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has today written to Rail Minister Claire Perry seeking a meeting to discuss the progress of infrastructure upgrade works at Ely North Junction. The scheme is one of a shortlist of HLOS "Named Schemes" required by the Secretary of State for Transport to be implemented in Control Period CP5 (2014-2019).

Friday 5 June 2015 - Network Rail has issued a Frequently Asked Questions leaflet covering the Ely to Soham Rail Capacity Enhancement Scheme. The proposed works are on the Ely to Bury St. Edmunds line.

Tuesday 2 June 2015 - The Department for Transport has announced today that the three companies shortlisted as bidders for the East Anglia rail franchise (which includes services to/from Liverpool Street, but not King's Lynn-King's Cross services) are Abellio East Anglia Ltd., First East Anglia Ltd., and National Express East Anglia Trains Ltd. Invitations to Tender are expected to be issued in August.

Thursday 21 May 2015 - Network Rail has submitted revised planning applications for the new "Cambridge Science Park station" at Chesterton; the site lies partially within Cambridge and partially within the South Cambridgeshire District Council area. See Cambridge City Council ref. 15/0994/FUL and South Cambridgeshire District Council ref. S/1236/15/FL .

Sunday 5 April 2015 - The Govia Thameslink franchise agreement execution version, the Govia Thameslink conditions precedent agreement, and the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise train services requirements - including 2 trains per hour King's Lynn-King's Cross services from May 2017 - are published by the Department for Transport together on one page here.

Friday 27 March 2015 - Our Counties Connected rail prospectus published by the New Anglia LEP. The document states it is "authored by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and supported by a strong alliance of MPs from all parties, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses and rail user groups. It has also been produced in close consultation with Abellio Greater Anglia and Network Rail to ensure the proposals are feasible [page 3]. ... The Ely North Junction is a bottleneck that must be improved. Network Rail has committed to some improvements but the junction should be completely remodelled to fully address the capacity and frequency shortfall. A remodelled junction would generate £100 million for the economy and improve connectivity throughout East Anglia. It would allow for half-hourly services between King’s Lynn and Cambridge, Norwich and Cambridge, London and Stansted Airport; and an hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough. Complete improvements would also unlock the development of the Felixstowe to Birmingham freight corridor and allow full dualling of the rail line between Soham to Ely enabling very long freight trains to clear Ely rapidly [page 5]. ... The Great Northern Route runs from London’s major terminals to stations in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. From 2018, Thameslink services will connect from Cambridge, Peterborough and Stevenage through to destinations south of London including Gatwick and Brighton. There has been substantial investment in Great Northern services to meet continued growth in passenger numbers .... But more investment is needed. Thousands of new homes are planned along the line at King’s Lynn, Downham Market, Ely and Littleport. These new developments will support 27,000 new jobs and more people will rely on the Great Northern Route [page 9]. ... Short term priorities to 2024: • Fully upgrade Ely North Junction. This will enable half-hourly services between King’s Lynn – Cambridge – London King’s Cross, Ipswich to Peterborough and Norwich to Cambridge. • Provide rolling stock with air-conditioning for the King’s Lynn – Cambridge – King’s Cross service by 2016 ... •Upgrade the power supply for the service from King’s Lynn –Cambridge – London King’s Cross. • Introduce European Rail Train Management System (ERTMS) on the London King’s Cross – Peterborough and the London King’s Cross– Royston routes [Page 9] ... • Secure capacity and frequency improvements from capacity released on the East Coast Main Line from HS2 phase 2 post 2033, including Great Northern, Thameslink and East Coast long distance services {page 9] ... Long-term vision beyond 2024: • Introduce ERTMS on the Royston to King’s Lynn route. • Achieve further journey time reductions for all services [page 9].... Cambridgeshire Key priorities: • Build four new stations to serve Cambridge Science Park, Waterbeach, Addenbrookes and Soham. A new station at Soham should be delivered alongside Soham to Ely track-doubling upgrades. Cambridge Science Park station should be built on the King’s Lynn – Cambridge – King’s Cross line and opened by May 2016. • Improve the service from London King’s Cross to King’s Lynn via Cambridge and to Peterborough. There should be longer trains and more frequent services including express services. The Intercity Express Programme (IEP) standard rolling stock should be introduced on the service. [page 14] ... strengthen the power supply between Cambridge and King’s Lynn ... • Introduce full barriers at Waterbeach station level crossing [page 15] ... Connecting East Anglia - Short-term priorities to 2024: • There should be a complete remodelling of the Ely North junction. This will allow for a half-hourly service from King’s Lynn to Cambridge [page 16] ... ‘Our Counties Connected’ is the work of a powerful alliance of five counties – all speaking with one voice [page 17]."

Wednesday 11 March 2015 - following further consultation with Members (see news item for Saturday 7 February 2015) we sent the Association's response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on the East Anglia Rail Franchise consultation today. Having received no adverse comments on our 'Combined Response to four inter-related rail consultations', (dated 29 January 2015) we asked the Department for Transport to treat the relevant parts of that document as our formal response to the East Anglia Rail Franchise. Members were also able to make their own comments directly to the DfT whilst its consultation was still open (now closed).

Friday 6 March 2015 Network Rail starts consultation on Ely to Soham rail improvements, their consultation running until Wednesday 22 April 2015. The proposed works are on the Ely to Bury St. Edmunds route.

Thursday 19 February 2015 - The Department for Transport has today published its Prospectus for the East Anglia Rail Franchise (please note that the Govia Thameslink Railway "Great Northern" King's Lynn-King's Cross services are part of the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise). The OJEU Notice for the East Anglia Rail Franchise can be found here.

Thursday 19 February 2015 - David Cameron, the Prime Minister, spoke today at Felixstowe and outlined the Long Term Economic Plan for Eastern England. As part of that announcement, the Timetable for Action - Implementation in the East of England 2015-2030 states the following: "2016 - September 2016 Network Rail Initial Industry Plan for the five years of funding from 2019 onwards will be informed by a Network Rail study looking at the costs and benefits of electrifying the railway between Felixstowe and Birmingham [via Ely] ... government is extending in 2015 the study already underway of the East-West Rail (Bedford to Cambridge) to explore the options for the Eastern section of the line. Specifically the study will consider how East West Rail could connect Oxford with Ipswich and Norwich. The study will also consider the possibility of a new station south of Cambridge at the new Addenbrookes campus, with a report expected in 2016 ... government has committed to additional Local Growth Funding between 2016 and 2021, through a number of Eastern Local Growth Deal expansions, including: £38m for Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership which will include contribution to the construction of a new Ely Southern Bypass [relevant to Ely Station level crossing works] ... 2019 - completion of upgraded railway junctions at Ely and Peterborough and capacity enhancements on the Felixstowe – Birmingham line that will enable both growth in Port of Felixstowe container traffic to be met and growth in Kings Lynn and East Coast main line passenger services ..."

Monday 16 February 2015 - The Network Rail CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan December 2015, published today, states (page 57) "Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement ... Project reference code A001 ...The programme for this scheme is under review update, Network Rail will work with its customers and Department for Transport to achieve an agreed programme of delivery. An update to the delivery plan for this project will be provided as part of the March 2015 update [to the CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan]".

Friday 13 February 2015 - Members have been sent copies of The Fenman 2015 No 1 today, by email or by post, as appropriate. Please ignore any red MailScanner warnings at the bottom of any e-mail from us dated today with the latest issue of The Fenman attached as a pdf file. Some members have apparently received this 'warning'. We are aware of this issue and are working to resolve it. The email and pdf attachment mentioned above is genuine.

Saturday 7 February 2015 - the Association's Committee today ratified FLUA's Combined Response to four inter-related consultations dated 29 January 2015 (those on the GTR December 2015 timetable, on NR's draft Anglia Route Study, on NR's "Improving Connectivity", and on the forthcoming East Anglia Rail Franchise). In the case of the East Anglia Rail Franchise (which does not cover GTR's King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services) this response is subject to further consultation with members. If you are a Member and would like to comment on the East Anglia Rail Franchise elements of the Combined Response (which is still in draft form as far as the East Anglia Rail Franchise elements only are concerned) you will find a link to this in the Members' Section of this website. Alternatively, Members can email or write to Andy Tyler for a copy of the Combined Response. If Members have any comments, they are asked to submit these in writing (email or letter) to Andy Tyler before Friday 6 March 2015 (to permit time for adequate consideration to be given to them). There will be coverage of the Combined Response in The Fenman 2015 No 1; this is due to be sent to members towards the end of next week. Please note that you can comment directly to the Department for Transport on the East Anglia Rail Franchise before 16 March 2015, when its consultation period for this closes. If you work in the rail industry or for a public body and would like a copy of the Combined Response, please send your work email address to Andy Tyler and a copy will be emailed to you.

Tuesday 13 January 2015 - The office of Rail Regulation has written to Network Rail, as part of its quarterly Enhancements Delivery Plan (EDP) change control process, saying: "A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement: [Your] request is to delay the regulated output date for GRIP 3 from December 2014 to May 2016 and the indicative GRIP 4 and 6 completion dates to January 2017 and September 2018 respectively.... Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has objected to this change stating it will impact upon its ability to deliver their franchise commitment of a half hourly service to Kings Lynn from May 2017. You have also not provided written evidence of DfT support for the proposed change.... We do not accept your proposed GRIP 3 milestone as it is not aligned with GTR’s franchise commitments."

Friday 19 December 2014 - It has come to our attention today that Network Rail has issued a consultation document Improving Connectivity which is germane to the current DfT consultation on the East Anglia Rail Franchise. We do not know when this draft report was published; NR's consultation period ends on 31 January 2015.

Tuesday 9 December 2014 - The Department for Transport has today issued a consultation on the East Anglia rail franchise. We will be consulting members on a proposed response to the DfT in due course. Members who wish to make individual comments directly to the DfT should note that the consultation period closes on 16 March 2015.

Tuesday 2 December 2014 - The government has today issued its National Infrastructure Plan, which states "Chesterton Rail Station - as announced by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister the government will provide £44 million between 2014-15 and 2016-17 to build a new rail station at Chesterton, linked to Cambridge Science Park."

Friday 7 November 2014 - Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has today launched a consultation on its proposed December 2015 timetable (i.e. that which will run from the December of next year). Though there are no changes proposed for Great Northern Outer services from December 2015, the consultation document gives background information on the proposed half-hourly King's Lynn-King's Cross service (due to operate from May 2017, following the upgrading of Ely North Junction) and the proposed cross-London Thameslink services to and from Cambridge (due to operate from 2018). GTR, which operates a management contract on behalf of the Government, states "From May 2017, following Network Rail improvements the junction north of Ely, train services between London Kings Cross and Kings Lynn will be increased in frequency to two trains per hour all day (with the exception of when existing freight trains operate on the route). It is proposed to maintain one train per hour which will call all stations north of Cambridge and the second to call at principal stations only." GTR's consultation on the proposed December 2015 timetable closes on Friday 30 January 2015.

Wednesday 5 November 2014 - Network Rail has today issued its Consultative Draft Anglia Route Study. The study identifies a range of choices for funders (such as Government) for Control Period 6 (2019-2024) and beyond. The consultation ends on Tuesday 3 February 2015.

Friday 31 October 2014 - Copies of The Fenman 2014 No 4 and the Notice calling the AGM have been posted/emailed to members today. A copy of the new issue of The Fenman and the AGM Agenda are also available in the members' section. The AGM will be held on Saturday 22 November at King's Lynn and our Guest Speaker will be Larry Heyman of Govia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern). As usual, we have also invited railway management to answer members' questions at the AGM.

Monday 13 October 2014 - Cambridgeshire County Council has granted planning permission for the Ely Southern Bypass.

Thursday 25 September 2014 - The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has decided that Cambridgeshire County Council may go ahead and make the decision on the planning application for the Ely Southern Bypass without further reference to himself. Cambridgeshire County Council now expects to issue its formal approval for the bypass shortly. When built, the bypass will enable the closure of Ely Station level crossing.

Wednesday 24 September 2014 - Stephen Barclay MP has posted an item about the possibility of extending a restored March-Wisbech line to King's Lynn, opening up a direct rail link from King's Lynn to Peterborough and the Midlands.

Thursday 25 September 2014 - The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has decided that Cambridgeshire County Council may go ahead and make the decision on the planning application for the Ely Southern Bypass without further reference to himself. Cambridgeshire County Council now expects to issue its formal approval for the bypass shortly. When built, the bypass will enable the closure of Ely Station level crossing.

Sunday 14 September 2014 - Great Northern (part of Govia Thameslink Railway) takes over King's Lynn-King's Cross services.

Thursday 11 September 2014 - We are grateful to our colleagues at the Association of Passenger Transport Users for making available a guide of the practical implications for rail users of the change from FCC to Govia Thameslink Railway and are pleased to recommend it to members.

Monday 8 September 2014 - The Planning Committee of Cambridgeshire County Council has unanimously supported the planning application for the Ely Southern Bypass today. The matter will now be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for a final decision. The details of the planning application for the bypass make it clear that the bypass would permit the closure of the Ely Station level crossing, which, in turn, would allow trains to run north of Ely more frequently.

Wednesday 6 August 2014 - Members have been sent copies of The Fenman 2014 No 3 today, by email or by post, as appropriate. Please ignore any red MailScanner warnings at the bottom of any e-mail from us dated today and with The Fenman attached as a pdf file. We are aware of this issue and are working to resolve it. The email and link we have sent you is genuine. However, if you prefer not to open the attachment, you can read The Fenman 2014 No 3 in the members' section.

Tuesday 22 July 2014 - 'Great Railway Journeys' television star Michael Portillo officially inaugurates the heritage-inspired refurbishment of King's Lynn station, speaking warmly about soon-to-depart franchisee First Capital Connect, Network Rail, and FLUA. FCC has issued photographs of the inauguration and of the works to the station. Mr. Portillo was Minister of State for Transport when Government authority to electrify the Cambridge-King's Lynn section was granted on 7 February 1989.

Thursday 10 July 2014 - Govia Thameslink website sets out TSGN franchise details.

Wednesday 12 June 2014 - The Secretary of State for Transport informs Parliament that the Government has signed the TSGN contracts with Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd. The Department for Transport issues a news story which also links to a video about TSGN and the rail franchising system.

Saturday 24 May 2014 - Govia's new TSGN website outlines benefits to Great Northern - and other routes - arising from the new TSGN franchise, stating "the service from London King’s Cross to King’s Lynn will double to half hourly from May 2017."

Friday 23 May 2014 - The Thameslink Programme website shows the cross-London Thameslink service network proposed from December 2018. King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services will continue to run into King's Cross and hence are not shown on this diagram.

Friday 23 May 2014 - Department for Transport (DfT) awards Thameslink Southern & Great Northern (TSGN) franchise to Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd., subject to the normal 10 days 'standstill' period. The DfT's press release includes an interactive map which contains the following text (hover your mouse over the relevant station name) "King's Lynn - *More modern air-conditioned trains replace the current units. * Off-peak services to King’s Cross will double to half-hourly in each direction by 2017” and "Cambridge - *More modern air-conditioned trains on the Cambridge Express. *Nearly 3000 extra seats to London in morning peak. Total capacity more than doubled. *Off-peak journeys to King’s Cross cut to less than 50 minutes from 2018. *6 off-peak trains per hour to and from central London from 2018. *2 trains per hour to Brighton via Gatwick Airport from 2018. * “2 trains per hour to Tattenham Corner from 2018.” The Govia press release contains more information.

Monday 28 April 2014 - The Secretary of State for Transport informs Parliament that that he has directly awarded an agreement to extend the Abellio Greater Anglia franchise for 27 Months. This will ensure continuity of service until a new Greater Anglia franchise, expected to start in October 2016, is let. Part of the new agreement provides for a doubling of the current levels of off-peak services between Cambridge and Stansted Airport (between 0900 and 1600) on Mondays to Fridays. Abellio Greater Anglia will continue to operate King's Lynn-Cambridge-Liverpool Street services during Mondays to Fridays peak-hours.

Wednesday 15 April 2014 - Certain Intercity Express Programme contracts have been amended and restated, and dated today. These can be found at the Department for Transport's "Intercity Express Programme (IEP) technical specification and contracts" webpage. The amended and restated East Coast IEP Network Master Availability and Reliability Agreement states (Appendix F to Schedule 1, Part 2, East Coast) that Hitchin to King's Lynn via Cambridge is defined as an IEP "Core Route" and that Hitchin to Peterborough via Ely and Ely North Junction to Ely West Junction are defined as IEP "Diversionary Routes." These same route definitions are also to be found in Appendix A to Part C of Schedule 1, East Coast IEP Network" in the amended and restated East Coast IEP Network Train Availability and Reliability Agreement.

Monday 31 March 2014 - The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership submits its growth strategy to government, linking housing, transport and skills. The Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan calls for "a transport network fit for an economically vital high growth area" and includes the provision of a "Kings Lynn to Cambridge and London Kings Cross half hourly frequency" as part of its transport strategy. All six Fen Line stations are within the Enterprise Partnership's area.

Monday 31 March 2014 - Network Rail's CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan describes Project A001 "Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement" in more detail [page 56]. The objective of the project is to develop "a scheme which improves capacity in the area by developing an operationally flexible junction that can deliver multiple train moves simultaneously." A blockade of 3 weeks is envisaged, with the infrastructure ready for use in May 2017. The Government's specification for 2 London trains per hour (Mondays-Saturdays) to/from King's Lynn from May 2017 is contained in the Minimum Service Specification - Invitation to Tender for the TSGN (Thameslink Southern and Great Northern) franchise [tables ECML1 and ECML2]. The winning bidder, which will take over King's Lynn-King's Cross and other services from September this year, is expected to be announced by the Government in May.

Monday 31 March 2014 - Network Rail's CP5 Delivery Plan for the 2014-2109 period includes an upgrade to Ely North Junction, necessary for two trains per hour to run to and from King's Lynn; speaking to the Lynn News, M.P. Elizabeth Truss welcomes the "really positive news."

Tuesday 18 February 2014 - Department for Transport and FirstGroup announce current First Capital Connect franchise extended until Sunday 14 September 2014, the anticipated start date of the new Thameslink Southern & Great Northern franchise.

Monday 10 February 2014 - Network Rail has raised no objection to ORR's Final Determination of CP5 funding. CP5 covers the 2014-2019 period and the Final Determination includes the upgrading of Ely North Junction. Network Rail will publish its finalised CP5 Delivery Plan in March.

Wednesday 18 December 2013 - Network Rail's Draft CP5 Delivery Plan contains Project A001 and states that: "This project is to develop a scheme which improves capacity in the [Ely] area by allowing parallel moves to/from Kings Lynn and to/from Norwich."

Wednesday 18 December 2013 - subject to detailed conditions, the proposed Cambridge Science Park station was given planning permission today. The Report to the joint planning committee can be found here.

Friday 6 December 2013 - Department for Transport publishes Tech connected prospectus, which states that "plans for a new station at Cambridge's Science Park" - to be located on the Fen Line - are "progressing rapidly."

Thursday 31 October 2013 - ORR publishes Final determination of Network Rail's outputs and funding for 2014-19. Chapter 11, paragraph 9.202 (page 385) states "Freight benefits'... there are many freight benefits accruing from other schemes. [...] Another example is the remodelling of Ely North Junction to provide for forecast freight flows across East Anglia as well as enhanced passenger services between Cambridge and each of King's Lynn and Norwich."

Thursday 3 October 2013 - BBC News screens item showing footage released by British Transport Police of cyclist narrowly escaping death at Waterbeach station automatic half-barrier level crossing on Thursday 12 September.

Thursday 26 September 2013 - the Government's minimum Fen Line service specification from May 2017 (M-F) to include half-hourly King's Cross services, following upgrade work at Ely North Junction.

Thursday 26 September 2013 - Invitation to Tender for Thameslink Southern & Great Northern published, including information about future half-hourly Fen Line services to and from London Kings Cross.

Tuesday 24 September 2013 - Cambridge County Council has submitted a planning application for the proposed Ely Southern bypass which would permit closure of the level crossing at Ely station.

Monday 5 August 2013 - The Department for Transport publishes its Thameslink rolling stock and depot agreements webpage, including the Manufacture and Supply Agreement between Siemens PLC, Cross London Trains Limited and First Capital Connect Limited and dated Thursday 27 June 2013. Annex B of the Train Infrastructure Interface Specification (contained within this Agreement) includes "East Coast Main Line - Belle Isle Junction to Cambridge" defined as a "Main route" and "East Coast Main Line - Cambridge to Kings Lynn" defined as a "Feasibility Route". There are other Feasibility Routes (all south of the Thames) and the term is defined within the Agreement as "Other potential routes required to support KO2 [Key Output 2 of the Thameslink Programme] or initial service deployment." The Agreement also makes clear that Feasibility Routes are shown for "information purposes only and shall have no bearing on the interpretation of this Agreement."

Wednesday 3 July 2013 - Cambridgeshire County Council has submitted a planning application [ref. C/05001/13/CC] for the proposed Cambridge Science Park station located on the Fen Line.

Wednesday 24 April 2013 - Network Rail has now issued a consultation draft of its London and South East Market Study which includes the King's Cross-King's Lynn Fen Line within its scope.

Tuesday 26 March 2013 - the Secretary of State for Transport announced the government's long-term plans for franchising to Parliament today. The accompanying Fresh Start for Franchising states that Department for Transport and Network Rail investment "will bring more trains and services to the network. These include: ... increased passenger services between Cambridge and Kings Lynn, and Cambridge and Norwich following work to improve Ely North Junction." The current First Capital Connect franchise is to be extended.

Tuesday 19 February 2013 - The Department for Transport publishes "Intercity Express Programme technical specification and contracts." The East Coast IEP Network Master Availability and Reliability Agreement states (Appendix F to Schedule 1, Part 2, East Coast) that Hitchin to King's Lynn via Cambridge is defined as a "Core Route" and that Hitchin to Peterborough via Ely and Ely North Junction to Ely West Junction are defined as "Diversionary Routes." These same route definitions are also to be found in Appendix A to Part C of Schedule 1, East Coast IEP Network" in the East Coast IEP Network Train Availability and Reliability Agreement.

Thursday 31 January 2013 - today the Secretary of State for Transport announced the government's plans for the three paused franchises, including the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise. The current Thameslink/Great Northern franchise operated by FCC ends in September 2013, but the contract allows for a 28-week extension, which the government intends to exercise. It is then expected that an interim franchise (for a maximum of 2 years) would follow that, before the longer-term 7-year Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise is awarded. A full franchising timetable will be published in the Spring.

Thursday 10 January 2013 - the Secretary of State for Transport has today stated that the Brown Review of the rail franchising programme "recommends that the government should determine, by February, our plans for the three franchise competitions which I put on hold last October. I accept that recommendation". The combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise is one of the three.

Tuesday 8 January 2013 - Network Rail has included an upgrade to Ely North Junction in its Strategic Business Plan 2014-2019 to enable "increasing the number of trains running between King's Lynn and London".

Friday 16 November 2012 - Network Rail has written to the Minister of State for Transport outlining Ely North Junction study progress and its next steps. Local M.P. Elizabeth Truss has published details of the Network Rail letter.

Wednesday 30 October 2012 - The Minister of State for Transport has confirmed to local MPs that a half-hourly frequency to/from King’s Lynn (“the 30 minute condition”) will be a requirement for the new franchisee.

Monday 15 October 2012 - the government has "paused the ongoing franchise programme" pending reviews arising from the West Coast Main Line franchise procurement. Statement by the Secretary of State for Transport

Friday 24 August 2012 - the DfT extended its consultation on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise until "up to 1700 on Friday 14 September 2012" (consultation now closed). [The DfT's consultation on the Intercity East Coast franchise closed on Tuesday 18 September 2012].

Friday 3 August 2012 - We sent FLUA's response to the DfT's consultations on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise and on the Intercity East Coast franchise to the Combined Franchise Replacement Sponsor and to the ICEC Franchise Consultation Manager at the DfT. Members were able to make their own comments directly to the DfT whilst its consultations were still open (now closed).

Wednesday 25 July 2012 - Intercity Express Programme contract includes option for 125 mph trains - "East Coast London - Cambridge - Kings Lynn." See DfT IEP announcement

Monday 16 July 2012 - Paragraph 45, Railways Act 2005 Statement "The Secretary of State wishes to see sufficient capacity north of Ely station both to provide for forecast freight flows across East Anglia and to provide the potential to enhance passenger services between Cambridge and each of Kings Lynn and Norwich." [A half-hourly fast service already operates between Kings Cross and Cambridge with about two-thirds of these running north of Cambridge, mainly to Kings Lynn, but some as far as Ely only. Additionally, the Cambridge to Norwich service calls at Ely]. The Department for Transport has also today published a complementary document Illustrative Option schemes in CP5 HLOS. The first page of this states "[the HLOS] describes strategic outcomes without referring to specific schemes but a specific scheme has been assumed for cost purposes. For example, sufficient capacity is sought at Ely to provide for forecast freight flows across East Anglia and to enhance passenger services to Kings Lynn. The industry could resolve this in a number of ways but the Department has assumed the most efficient solution is the reconstruction and expansion of Ely North Junction. If another better way of providing the capacity is identified the industry should put this forward as a solution."

Saturday 7 July 2012 - Members who would like a copy of our draft responses to the DfT's consultations on the 'combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern' and the 'InterCity East Coast' franchises are asked to email or write to Andy Tyler. If you subsequently have comments to make on the draft responses, please ensure that we have your comments in writing (email or letter) by Tuesday 31 July 2012, so that we can take account of them before sending our definitive responses to the DfT.

Monday 2 June 2012 - Once in a generation - A Rail Prospectus for East Anglia published.

Tuesday 26 June 2012 - FLUA members' views on the Intercity East Coast franchise consultation document issued today by the Department for Transport, are invited (please email or write to Andy Tyler by 31 July 2012).

Thursday 31 May 2012 - FLUA members' views on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise consultation document, issued today by the Department for Transport, are invited (please email or write to Andy Tyler by 31 July 2012).

Thursday 19 April 2012 - King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross Growth formula Houses, Jobs, Fen Line

Thursday 29 March 2012 - Abellio, First, Govia, MTR, and Stagecoach shortlisted Thameslink bidders
Department for Transport announcement

Tuesday 21 February 2012 - New station on the Fen Line at Cambridge Science Park set to go ahead

Thursday 16 February 2012 - Corrected and updated: King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross
Issues and opportunities - sketch outline

Thursday 5 January 2012 - Department for Transport issues franchise clarifications
Clarifications - new Thameslink Franchise 2013

Friday 19 December 2011 - King's Lynn-King's Cross services to be part of a new Thameslink Franchise from September 2013.
Notes on the new Thameslink Franchise 2013

Thursday 23 June 2011 - Elizabeth Truss MP asks the Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond "what assessment his Department has made of the potential benefit to the economy of upgrading the railway line between Cambridge and King's Lynn." Theresa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport, replying, says: "Our current plans envisage that passengers on the Fen Line could benefit from new Intercity Express Trains from 2018. That would offer improved passenger accommodation and a shorter journey time to London ..." Ms Truss asks "passenger numbers between Downham Market and Cambridge have increased by 150% in the past 10 years", does the Minister agree that expanding the Fen Line northwards should be a key consideration in Network Rail's next phased upgrade?" The Minister replies: "She is absolutely right that passenger numbers have been increasing. This has been a real success story."

Thursday 3 March 2011 - Minister of State for Transport Theresa Villiers met a delegation consisting of Steve Barclay MP, Elizabeth Truss MP, and FLUA officers Colin Sampson, Robert Stripe, and Andy Tyler; there were "encouraging signs" that all Kings Cross-Cambridge-Kings Lynn services would be operated by Intercity Express trains as from 2018. Lynn News Chief Reporter Allister Webb writes in the newspaper on Tuesday 8 March 2011: "Mrs Villiers said: the meeting had been 'extremely helpful' and showed how the Lynn area would benefit from the new trains."

Tuesday 6 July 2010 - Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport, announces, in a written statement to Parliament, that decisions on the Intercity Express Programme were to be made in October. Mr Hammond publishes the Foster Report "A Review of the Intercity Express Programme" and its Annex today. Page 21 of the Annex shows a possible 'pick and mix' solution that emerged during the review - "it is by no means the definitive solution and a detailed assessment of the available options must be carried out." For "KX-Cambridge/KL" [Kings Cross-Cambridge-Kings Lynn] the table on page 21 shows the following: "Service type - Commuter; Rolling stock 2011 - Class 365; Proposed IEP - 5 vehicle electric; Rolling stock 2016 - 377 or Re-engineered 365; Rolling stock 2021 - 377 or Re-engineered 365; Rolling stock 2026 - 377 or new commuter EMU."

Kings Cross-Kings Lynn 100 miles of route, 20 years of planning


The Fen Line - Aspirations, Timetable Metrics August 1992 to December 2010, and Peak Service December 2010

PDF The Fenman 2015, Issue 1, 2

PDF The Fenman 2014, Issue 1, 2, 3, 4

PDF The Fenman 2013, Issue 1, 2, 3, 4

PDF The Fenman 2012, Issue 1, 2, 3, 4

FLUA works to develop services on the King's Lynn to Cambridge and London line.

We seek the best for users from the fast-changing railway scene by working with all parties in the rail industry and with other relevant bodies in the development of the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise on the Fen Line.

Some of our history

Electric trains from King's Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, and Waterbeach to Cambridge and London King's Cross are run by
Great Northern for commuters, business and leisure users.

Abellio Greater Anglia operates electric trains from King's Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, and Waterbeach to Cambridge and London Liverpool Street. These peak hour extras run Mondays-Fridays only.

King's Lynn to London timetables can be found in timetable A7 to be found here.

There are six Fen Line stations: King's Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, and Waterbeach.