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 22 September 2017 - "Safety fears raised about Lynn train overcrowding" writes Winston Brown in today's Lynn News. Tydd St Mary Parish Council Chairman, John Ley, has emailed his Member of Parliament, South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes, who is also Minister of State at the Department for Transport, saying that infrastructure on the King's Lynn to King's Cross line has "not kept up with population growth and both the train operator, Great Northern, and the government needed to do more about it." Lincolnshire County Councillor Chris Brewer says he does not have problems finding a seat: "Fares are also dramatically cheaper than going via Peterborough and I find the service first-class." FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler urges Lynn News readers to "join the campaign for more, longer and faster trains between King's Lynn and King's Cross." Great Northern tells the newspaper that they have "plans to double the length of trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge from the end of next year, subject to Network Rail completing the necessary upgrading of power supplies and lengthening of platforms at Littleport and Waterbeach." A Great Northern spokesman says: "When power and platform upgrades are completed by Network Rail, we will also be able to run two trains per hour between King's Lynn and Cambridge [and on to King's Cross].

Tuesday 19 September 2017- Chris Elliott is back writing about Ely station bridge in the Cambridge News: "Ely's low railway bridge hit by lorry for second time in 24 hours. ... The notorious low railway bridge at Ely has claimed another victim. Just a day after a van got stuck under the low bridge spanning the A142, a lorry has now hit the structure, which only has clearance of nine feet. Police and Network Rail engineers are at the scene today (September 19). A police spokeswoman said: 'We were called to Station Road, Ely at about 7.25am today with reports that a van is stuck under the bridge at Ely station. We've been in touch with Network Rail who will be attending.'"

Tuesday 19 September 2017- "'Larger offices key to keeping larger employers': Massive office block planned for CB1 development at Cambridge station. The applicant says larger spaces will keep companies like Amazon, Arm and Deloitte in the city" - Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News reports on developer Broadgate's latest proposals for the employment zone around Cambridge station.

Monday 18 September 2017 - Chris Elliott reports in the Cambridge News: "Another vehicle gets stuck under Ely's notorious railway bridge. Traffic queues building up after second crash in a fortnight. ... The bridge, under the city's main railway track, has been struck many times in recent years, despite signs warning drivers to beware. Two weeks ago, the bridge was damaged when a white van got stuck under it, before managing to reverse out."

Thursday 14 September 2017 - " £400,000 boost by East Cambs Council to get work started on extension to Littleport station car park" writes John Elworthy in the Ely Standard. "A cash boost of £400,000 from East Cambridgeshire District Council will be agreed next week to ensure an early start to extending the car park at Littleport station. The council’s resources and finance committee will be asked to rubber stamp the money to ensure “a speedy commencement. ... Earlier this summer the council was told work would begin in August on providing the extra 80 spaces that the extension will provide. Councillor Bill Hunt, chairman of the asset development committee, said the spaces are much needed and are a significant boost for people who want to use Littleport station to get to work. 'It will also boost local economy and make Littleport and the surrounding area a more attractive place to live,' he said. Littleport station car parking charges will remain the same."

Thursday 14 September 2017 -Representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail meet the public at an 'engagement event' at Queen Adelaide Village Hall between 1800 and 2000 today. The event is aimed at discussing with residents and businesses how they travel in the area and the impacts of the crossings on day to day life in Queen Adelaide. Responses must be sent to Cambridgeshire County Council before Friday 29 September 2017 - further details available here.

Wednesday 13 September 2017 - Tom Pilgrim writes in the Cambridge News: "Here’s what the new Waterbeach development may have - including new train station." He explains that: "The first steps have been taken in a bid to build 5,000 homes and a new railway station in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. An initial report has been submitted to South Cambridgeshire District Council ahead of a formal planning application. Landowners RLW Estates' masterplan for the land north of the village includes retail, leisure, primary and secondary schools and new landscaping. The 231 hectare site sits alongside Urban&Civic's separate plans to build 6,500 homes at the former Waterbeach barracks and airfield. If both developments progress the village's 5,000 resident population could more than treble in the coming decades. Part of the RLW Estates proposals also include moving the existing Waterbeach station further north."

Tuesday 12 September 2017 - In an article about delivering improvements to transport infrastructure, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough mayor James Palmer writes: "Take the example of the proposals for Cambridge South railway station. Rarely, if ever has there been such a cut and dry case for a new railway station. The proposed site is at the heart of the biomedical campus, with much of the land owned by Astra Zeneca. The businesses based on the campus, such as Astra Zeneca, are international in their reach and are at the cutting edge of the life sciences sector. Astra Zeneca alone employs over 2,000 people on the campus and that number is scheduled to increase tenfold once its new research facility opens. With the roads around the campus being already congested, the need for a new train station is urgent and in time will become acute. Astra Zeneca who own the site of the proposed station are keen to do everything they can to move the project forward. However, according to Network Rail, it’s likely that the station won’t open for another five years, that is, in 2022. The main reason for the very lengthy timescale is the incredibly complex and cumbersome Governance for Railway Investment Process (GRIP) that Network Rail must follow before the station opens. Last month I attended a meeting at the US Embassy to push for increased trade links between Silicon Valley and Cambridge and I had some difficulty in explaining the reasoning for the long timescales associated with the project."

Tuesday 12 September 2017 - "New Cambridge trains with wi-fi and USB ports unveiled - Mock-ups have been created of trains that will be running through Cambridge from 2019" writes Paul Whyatt in the Cambridge News. "New trains with wi-fi, USB ports and air conditioning will be running through Cambridge from 2019 - and the design has just been revealed. Mock-ups have been unveiled today (September 12) of carriages that will be running from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge and other East Anglian locations, as Greater Anglia plans to replace every train on its network by 2020. Some 665 carriages will make up 111 new trains – 80 five-carriage trains and 22 ten-carriage trains. The mock-ups were revealed at the Derby factory of manufacturer Bombardier. The new trains will have air conditioning, plug and USB points and “free, fast Wi-Fi” [See news item below, dated Monday 11 September 2017].

Monday 11 September 2017 - Greater Anglia posts a YouTube video showing the interior of a life-sized mock-up of the Bombardier Aventra trains which will operate Liverpool Street services from 2019. Echo Essex has an interesting video of the new train interior here and East Suffolk Lines has a YouTube video of the mock-up here.

Wednesday 6 September 2017 - The Rail Accident Investigation branch is looking into a near miss between a passenger train and a car at Magdalen Road level crossing [Watlington station] which occurred on Wednesday 9 August 2017. RAIB says: "We have undertaken a preliminary examination into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Having assessed the evidence which has been gathered to date, we have decided to publish a safety digest. The safety digest will shortly be made available on our website" - www.gov.uk/government/organisations/rail-accident-investigation-branch.

Sunday 3 September 2017 - In a Sunday Times article "Oxbridge blues: tech hubs bursting at the seams" Sabah Meddings writes: "The university cities desperately need more housing an better transport links ... some of the solutions - such as a new railway station next to Cambridge's Biomedical Campus - seem fairly certain to go ahead. AstraZeneca has already part-funded a feasibility study, and the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has visited the site." AstraZeneca's vice-president for Cambridge strategy and operations Andy Williams tells the Sunday Times: "This station will play an important part in the development of Cambridge as a world-class hub for life sciences and innovation." The newspaper points out that there are already 15,000 people employed at the Biomedical Campus and says that "there were soon be 19,000 workers commuting to the campus south of Cambridge every day." [We support a new Addenbrooke's/Biomedical Campus station at Cambridge South, asking for Fen Line trains to 'stop where the jobs are'].

Thursday 31 August 2017 - East Cambridgeshire District Council grants planning permission for a "restaurant with takeaway options" at the former 'Rosie and Dolly' premises at Ely station; the reference number is 17/01081/FUL.

Tuesday 29 August 2017 - "Sustainable solutions must be found at new Cambridge railway station. 'It will make it easier for patients, staff and visitors to come for treatment and work'" writes Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News. "Now, groups setting up on the Biomedical Campus, which include AstraZeneca and Papworth Hospital, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, have welcomed the new station, saying it will help make accessing the area easier for staff, visitors, and patients." Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, Executive Director of Cambridge University Health Partners on behalf of Cambridge Biomedical Campus, tells the paper: "The proposed Cambridge South railway station is very important for the future development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. It will make it easier for patients, staff and visitors to come for treatment and work as well as relieve the traffic congestion we see build up on the road network every day. We must find sustainable transport solutions to help address the current pressures and growth of demand both now and in the future ... The railway station is key part of this."

Tuesday 29 August 2017 - "Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail are working together to understand more about how traffic flows through the village of Queen Adelaide and impacts local residents and businesses. With wider plans to see increased train services within the county to improve connectivity, the purpose of this [traffic] study is for us to understand the implications increased number of trains can have on traffic in this location, particularly looking at the impact on the level crossings. ... The valuable input taken from these conversations will form part of the evidence base of the traffic study which the County Council commissioned and is working with Network Rail on. This work will feed into Network Rail's wider plan for the railway in the Ely area. This is currently in the very early stages of development and any proposals will be subject to extensive consultation. At this early stage we want to gain the widest understanding of how people travel in the area to feed into the planning work. For more information, attend our engagement event on Thursday 14 September 2017 from 6pm-8pm at Queen Adelaide Village Hall. Representatives from both Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail will be on hand to discuss with residents and businesses how they travel in the area and impacts of the crossings on day to day life in Queen Adelaide" say the two bodies.

Tuesday 29 August 2017 - In a letter to the Lynn News, Darren Taylor writes: "... the railway is not being improved – it is going downhill. In 2012 we were promised half-hourly trains and now that is not happening, in 2016 the railway said we would have half-hourly trains ‘at peak times’ from next year, but that is now not happening. Far from getting faster journey times, although the newer trains are capable of going faster, they will in fact be going considerably slower from late next year. So, if all the improvements Mr Plummer [of the railway industry body, the Rail Delivery Group] claims add up to 'boosting the economy and creating skilled jobs', then when his members set out to deliver reduced standards it follows that they have decided to blight the local economy and, by extension, destroy skilled jobs. ... the claim which is plain wrong is that 'politicians set increases to season tickets'. No they don’t. They set out the maximum increase that is allowed. That means it is quite within the means of Mr Plummer’s members, such as the operator of the Fen Line, when they deliberately set out to reduce standards, to also reduce fares, and that is why it is so right that the [King's Lynn & West Norfolk] borough council has called for fares to be reduced from December 2018 and why it is right for unremitting pressure to be kept on our failing train infrastructure provider and operator to both do better or quit the line."

Monday 28 August 2017 - "What's happening with the newsagent and coffee shop at Cambridge North?" asks Jasmine Watkiss in the Cambridge News. Greater Anglia tells the paper that "definite dates for the openings of the two outlets have not yet been set, but a spokeswoman said Costa and Co-Op should be at the station in early autumn, and the Co-Op will have a cash machine." Greater Anglia has also confirmed that the Tribecca, the 'pedal powered coffee' service, will "still be able to pitch up outside the station once Costa has opened. Also in the Cambridge News, Olivia Bell reveals: "Cambridge station should not be renamed, say News readers - Cambridge News readers who responded to our poll think the station should keep its name." Most of those taking part in the poll thought there was no need to for change. For example, Jill Allen commented “Leave it as it is. The new stations will have names to differentiate them (such as Cambridge North and Cambridge South/Cambridge Addenbrooke's or whatever it will be called eventually. Changing the name of the main station will mean new signage, new software required for ticketing etc. No point just additional cost!”

Monday 28 August 2017 - "Is it time to rename Cambridge's railway station?" asks Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News: "Edward Leigh, a transport campaigner with Smarter Cambridge Transport, has a few suggestions. With a new station in the north, and momentum growing for another one near Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge’s original railway station may be in need of a new name. Once it was fine to tell a visiting friend 'I’ll meet you at the station'. It was unambiguous, and was an easy landmark to locate. Now, with the city’s second station fully functioning, you have to make it clear which station to meet at and, with a third station potentially set to open within years, it will be even more important to have Cambridge’s main station labelled with clarity. Edward Leigh, a transport campaigner with Smarter Cambridge Transport, had a few name suggestions." Mr Thomas' article outlines some of campaigner Edward Leigh's ideas, including Cambridge City. He writes that Mr Leigh "noted that Cambridge Central may not be entirely accurate given that the station is about a 20 minute walk from the city centre." The newspaper is running a poll to find out what people think would make a good name.

Thursday 24 August 2017 - The Rail Accident Investigation branch has launched an Investigation into a derailment of a freight train at Ely West Junction, 14 August 2017. [Though not on the Fen Line, the site where the accident took place is visible from Fen Line trains passing Ely North Junction].

Wednesday 23 August 2017 - " Light rail link will mean no need for Cambridge South station car park says mayor Palmer" writes Ben Comber in the Cambridge Independent, "Transport secretary Chris Grayling said he would be ‘very supportive’ of regional light rail plans." The newspaper says: "The proposed station, which was given support by transport secretary Chris Grayling during a visit to the city, will not have a car park. But the region’s mayor, James Palmer, has said the station’s proposed links to a light railway network – a plan that also has support from Mr Grayling – would mean a car park would not be necessary. ... At the recent opening of Cambridge North station, Mr Grayling said: 'If Cambridge is going to grow in the way that we all believe it needs to – it’s become a really important economic and innovation hub for the UK – then it’s going to need modern infrastructure, so I think the case for Cambridge South station is strong.' Following the transport secretary’s opening of the station he joined mayor Palmer to visit the proposed site of Cambridge South station. The mayor said a limited amount of parking at Cambridge South, which could open in 2022, should not be ruled out." Mayor James Palmer tells the Cambridge Independent: "During his visit to the proposed site earlier this month the secretary of state could see for himself the huge growth potential of the area. Together we are able to discuss the site and what’s needed with Andy Williams from AstraZeneca. The secretary of state was supportive of what is being proposed and I am confident that if we keep making the case then the Government can play a role in helping turn the station into a reality. ... with the rail improvements planned and the possibility of Addenbrooke’s being connected to a light rail system, I would hope that the vast majority wouldn’t feel the need to use a car.” Mr Comber also writes that at "the station launch, Mr Grayling also gave his support to a regional light railway. He said: 'It’s one of those concepts being driven by a great new mayor that I think has really interesting potential. It’s one of the innovative things that we are expecting to come from the new generation of mayors. I haven’t seen how the plans will take shape yet but will be very supportive of him as he develops that concept.'”

Tuesday 22 August 2017 - The pre-inquiry meeting for the Inquiry into the proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order will now be held at 1000 on Monday 4 September 2017 at the Hilton Cambridge City Centre Hotel, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DT. This is a revised date. [See news item below dated Monday 14 August 2017].

Tuesday 22 August 2017 - Writing today in the Cambridge News, Josh Thomas says: "Sustainable solutions must be found at new Cambridge railway station. 'It will make it easier for patients, staff and visitors to come for treatment and work'." Mr Thomas continues: "Now, groups setting up on the Biomedical Campus, which include AstraZeneca and Papworth Hospital, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, have welcomed the new station, saying it will help make accessing the area easier for staff, visitors, and patients. Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, Executive Director of Cambridge University Health Partners on behalf of Cambridge Biomedical Campus, said: 'The proposed Cambridge South railway station is very important for the future development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. It will make it easier for patients, staff and visitors to come for treatment and work as well as relieve the traffic congestion we see build up on the road network every day. ... We must find sustainable transport solutions to help address the current pressures and growth of demand both now and in the future ... The railway station is key part of this. There is a lot of work still to be done and there will no doubt be challenges as this project moves forward but the station will help deliver many benefits not just for people coming to the site but also the community.'" [We support a new station at Cambridge South, wishing Fen Line trains to 'stop where the jobs are'].

Monday 21 August 2017 - "Do we need a car park at new Addenbrooke's railway station? Intelligent, innovative cities like Cambridge need to be at the forefront of making this happen." That's the headline of Josh Thomas' article in the Cambridge News. "The [Cambridge South station} scheme’s supporters say a predictable rail link from Chesterton in the north to the new biomedical campus in the south, via the central station in Cambridge, would be an important step in linking major employment centres in the city. But does this require car parking? Some say the provision of the 450 spaces at Cambridge north was a mistake given that it is well served by busway and cycle paths. The busways are linked to park and ride sites, which should help keep cars of city streets – helping to improve air quality and stop costly traffic jams. Many are excited by the idea of making a city where cars are not necessary, with calls for more, larger park and rides on the periphery to help people coming in from surrounding towns and villages access work in Cambridge, and continue journeys on to London, King’s Lynn, and beyond."

Monday 21 August 2017 - "North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald welcomes possibility of reinstating morning train from Royston and fast evening service" reports Bianca Wild in the Royston Crow. "In a letter to Sir Oliver, Govia’s stakeholder engagement manager Katherine Cox said that there may be a possibility of starting one Thameslink service an hour in the mornings from Royston and that fast northbound trains that were no longer going to stop at Royston after 19.12 will be reinstated. Sir Oliver said: 'I know commuters will be pleased to see that there has been some movement from Govia to try to meet the concerns of Royston commuters. Of course, we await the final timetable announcement in due course. I will continue to press the case for commuters in the constituency.'” Sir Oliver's statement can be seen here.

Monday 21 August 2017 - Josh Thomas reveals " New Cambridge station will have NO car parking spaces" in the Cambridge News today. Cambridgeshire County Council Economy and Environment Committee chairman Councillor Ian Bates tells the newspaper: "Papworth and AstraZeneca are moving there and we know there will be increasing numbers of people accessing the site. AstraZeneca has a car park for staff and visitors. When we were looking at sites for a new station, we knew Cambridge South would have different issues from the station in the north. There is not the land around Cambridge South for a car park. That is just a fact.” Councillor Bates also tells the Cambridge News that "a new four-tracked station that allowed moving trains to bypass stationary carriages, and which could be linked with an east-west rail connection, would take up more space than simply installing a platform on the existing line. He said that, while there would be no car park, there would be a bike park."

Monday 21 August 2017 - "Line between Ely and Peterborough reopens following major recovery operation" reports Network Rail. Simon Ancona, Network Rail’s chief operating officer for Anglia, says: “Our engineers and specialist teams have worked tirelessly over the last week to recover the derailed wagons and carry out major repair work so that services can resume today as planned. I’d like to thank passengers for their patience while we completed the repairs.”

Friday 18 August 2017 - The newly-formed Royston & Villages Rail Users Group has met with Govia Thameslink [on Thursday 10 August] over the proposed 2018 Great Northern timetable reports the Royston Crow. The newspaper reports: "The group was founded by Dr Edward Carder from Royston, who launched a petition in a bid to make Govia reconsider proposals which would see off-peak fast trains scrapped, evening off-peak services after 7.12pm running fast to Cambridge, and increased journey times for commuters. ... The outcome of the meeting was that Govia has given a firm commitment to restore the evening fast service from King’s Cross to Royston at the current level – through to the last fast train at 23:42." Dr Carder tells the Royston Crow: “They have gone away to develop some proposals and will share those with us and then would like to meet with us to finalise proposals in September.” A spokesman for Govia tells the newspaper: “We had a very constructive meeting with the rail user group as well as Herts County Council and other groups, and were delighted to find a way to accommodate some of their key concerns."

The petition, "Great Northern/Govia - Keep the evening fast trains to Royston and Letchworth after 19:12" states: "Under the proposed 2018 timetable Great Northern (run by Govia Thameslink Railways) are planning a massive downgrade in the service to Royston and Letchworth. The big problems are: *There will be no fast trains to Royston and Letchworth from Kings Cross after 19:12 (the trains will instead run non-stop to Cambridge)[and on to Ely/King's Lynn]. The replacement will be a train from St Pancras that takes 49 minutes instead of 36 minutes (to Royston). For someone commuting every day that's an extra 48 hours on the train a year; *There will be no trains starting at Royston in the morning. The 07:32 and 08:34 will be replaced by trains starting at Cambridge. For commuters from the stations south of Cambridge, these are the only trains on which you can get a seat (especially with the new trains that, ridiculously, have fewer seats). The train service is a vital resource for our towns, our prosperity depends on it and we all plan our lives and buy our homes based on it. This is especially true with the need for affordable housing in commuting distance of London."

Friday 18 August 2017 - Network Rail advises that the derailed wagons near Ely North Junction have now been cleared and that the tracks are now being replaced. It is anticipated that the Ely-Peterborough line will re-open on Monday. [Please note that this accident is NOT affecting the running of King's Lynn-London or Cambridge-Norwich trains].

Friday 18 August 2017 - The Lynn News writes: "Fury as rail fare hike leaves West Norfolk facing first £7k season tickets ... Rail passengers in West Norfolk could have to pay up to £250 more just to get to work next year, after new fare rises were confirmed this week." The newspaper continues: "At present, an annual season ticket for travel from Lynn to London, costs £5,628 or £6,928 including access to the London Underground. However, a 3.6 per cent rise will see the cost of the latter ticket go above £7,000 for the first time, to £7,177. The rise is also set to add around £80 to the cost of an annual season ticket between Lynn and Cambridge and further fuel demands for urgent network improvements here. Last month, the Fen Line Users Association called for fares to be cut because of what it claimed was a broken promise to deliver more frequent services between West Norfolk and London. And North West Norfolk Labour party secretary Jo Rust said: 'As always it’s the ordinary people who suffer here. ... This increase benefits no one but the shareholders.' But Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents operating companies and Network Rail, said: 'Money from fares pays to run and improve the railway, making journeys better, boosting the economy, creating skilled jobs and supporting communities across Britain, and politicians set increases to season tickets.'" [Our call for fare cuts is made in response to the currently proposed GTR 2018 timetable changes should these materialise, no final decision has been made - see news item below, dated Friday 21 July 2017]. [The Go-Ahead Group, majority owner of GTR, itself the operator of Great Northern King's Lynn-King's Cross services, reported overall GTR franchise losses during the second half of last year - see news item below, dated Tuesday 28 February 2017].

Wednesday 16 August 2017 - "'If we have to pay more for tickets, we want better trains’- Cambridge rail users group Railfuture says operators must up their game after 3.6 per cent fare rise signalled" reports Chris Elliott in the Cambridge News. Railfutures's East Anglia branch Chairman Nick Dibben tells the newspaper: "The best response to passengers after these fare increases is for Network Rail to announce they are speeding up delivery of improvements, such as work at Ely, and have costs under control."

Wednesday 16 August 2017 - "Crane moves in to remove derailed Ely freight train" reports the BBC news. "Eleven carriages came off the tracks at Queen Adelaide near the Ely North junction, Cambridgeshire, on 14 August. A rail crane has begun lifting the stricken wagons, with some individual sections weighing as much as 106 tonnes. A spokesman for Network Rail said teams would work "day and night" to reopen the line by Monday." [Please note that this accident is NOT affecting the running of King's Lynn-London or Cambridge-Norwich trains].

Monday 14 August 2017 - "A derailed freight train has caused chaos on services across the East of England. A derailed freight train in Cambridgeshire has caused chaos on services across the East of England. The line is blocked at the Ely North junction near Queen Adelaide, preventing passage of train services to and from Peterborough, Ely, London, Cambridge, Stansted Airport and Bury St Edmunds" reports BBC News. A replacement bus service is running between Bury St Edmunds and Peterborough, via Ely and March, organised by Greater Anglia, which reports: "Network Rail engineers are on site working to recover the derailed wagons, which is likely to take a number of days as they will require to be lifted away by crane. The track is also damaged and will need to be replaced before services can run again. Further updates and timescales will be released over the next few days [on the Greater Anglia website]".

Please note that King's Lynn-Cambridge-London services (as well as Cambridge-Norwich services) are NOT affected by this derailment, which is on the Peterborough line.

Monday 14 August 2017 - the Secretary of State for Transport has appointed Ms Heidi Cruickshank BSC(Hons), MSC, MIPROW as inspector to conduct the Inquiry into the proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order [see news items below dated Monday 10 April 2017 for our Representation of Support and Wednesday 10 May 2017 for our Supplementary Evidence]. A pre-inquiry meeting will be held at 1000 on Wednesday 23 August 2017 [now postponed - revised date to be announced] at the Hallmark Hotel Cambridge, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8EU. The Inquiry itself will begin at 1000 on Tuesday 28 November 2017 at the same venue.

Sunday 13 August 2017 - John Elworthy writes in the Ely Standard: "‘Most bashed bridge’ - in Ely of course- escapes damage as police ride to the rescue of hapless driver and van stuck beneath it. It’s been tagged the ‘most bashed in Britain’ and the bridge outside Ely station has now claimed its latest victim. Police were called last Thursday just after 6pm to deal with a van that had driven underneath the bridge, failed to spot the tell tale warning signs about height, and got stuck. A spokesman for East Cambs police said they had become experts in removing vehicles from the bridge. 'The recovery took over two hours at a very busy time of day and as always we appreciate the patience of other road users while we deal with these types of incidents.'" [Our priority is for rail travellers, many of whom commute to and from work, and who are all to frequently the victims of rail delays caused by road users striking the bridge at Ely. The new Ely Southern bypass, under construction and visible from Fen Line trains, should provide an alternative route for vehicles to cross the railway].

Sunday 13 August 2017 - "Cambridge's third railway station could be closer than you think - The Department for Transport has confirmed they are looking forward to getting to work to deliver the new station" writes Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News. "Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, threw his weight behind the campaign for a third city railway station near Addenbrooke’s hospital after visiting the city on Friday (August 11) and hearing of the expected growth in the area. South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen said Mr Grayling was now 'convinced of the need for a railway station at Addenbrooke’s, ensuring the biomedical campus is able to reach its full potential as a world renowned centre of excellence, thereby securing continued economic growth for the region and beyond.' Now, The Department for Transport has confirmed they are looking forward to getting to work to deliver the new station."

Friday 11 August 2017 - The Cambridge News reports: "An Addenbrooke's train station has got the thumbs-up from the Transport Secretary: Chris Grayling is "convinced" of the need for a third train station in Cambridge. Cambridge could be in line for yet another new railway station as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has come out in support of a station near Addenbrooke's. Mr Grayling visited Cambridge Biomedical Campus earlier this week to discuss plans for a train station, 'Cambridge South', on the site. He has now lent his support to the scheme and is 'convinced' of the need for a new station in the south of the city." ... Councillor Ian Bates, chairman of the economy and environment committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, tells the newspaper: "We have all been working very hard on this. The biomedical campus and AstraZeneca, everybody wants to have a station in the south of the city, as well as the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the district and city councils. We are very pleased.” [We support a new station at Cambridge South, wishing Fen Line trains to 'stop where the jobs are'].

Friday 11 August 2017 - " Secretary of State Gives Addenbrooke’s Station the Thumbs Up" says South Cambridgeshire MP, Heidi Allen. She continues: "Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling visited Cambridge Biomedical Campus earlier this week to discuss plans for a train station on the site. ... As the campus has been transitioning from a highly respected acute teaching hospital to a world renowned biomedical cluster, partners have been working closely to develop more sustainable transport options, including a railway station. ... The Secretary of State was really impressed by our ambitions and has asked me to work closely with him to further develop funding plans for the station. I shared our proposals with him just a few weeks ago, so was delighted when I heard he was coming to visit. The Secretary of State went away, convinced of the need for a railway station at Addenbrooke’s, ensuring the Biomedical Campus is able to reach its full potential as a world renowned centre of excellence, thereby securing continued economic growth for the region and beyond."

Friday 11 August 2017 - "Minister gives signal for vital East Anglia rail upgrade" reports Allister Webb, the News Editor of the Lynn News: "A senior cabinet minister has insisted a key bottleneck on the rail network of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire is one of his main priorities during a visit to the region. Transport secretary Chris Grayling gave his backing to the Ely north junction upgrade as he officially opened the new Cambridge North station on Monday." Speaking about rail upgrades in the region, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling "admitted there was more to do, including the need to 'sort out Ely junction.' Mr Grayling said: 'Ely is a priority. It’s one of a number of projects to be done and it’s really important to unlock growth potential across the region. There is a clear commitment to doing it.'” The newspaper reports: "Last month, West Norfolk Council, together with the King’s Lynn BID group and the Fen Line Users Association (FLUA), submitted a joint list of areas for action to the Department for Transport. It included the re-dualling of single track areas of line that were downgraded in the 1980s and a commitment to maintain journey times at their current level, rather than the slower journeys planned in Great Northern’s current draft timetable proposals. FLUA secretary Andy Tyler, who met Mr Grayling at the Cambridge North ceremony, said: 'He was fully aware of how important Ely is and how necessary it is. It was very encouraging.'” North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham tells the Lynn News: “Myself, Elizabeth Truss and Lucy Frazer have been working hard on him. I think he gets the point that this is needed to unlock improvement and growth.” The article contains photographs of Mr. Grayling and of FLUA's Robert Stripe (Hon. President), Andy Tyler (Secretary) and Ben Walsh (Committee Member) at the new station's official opening. Page 6 of today's paper is devoted exclusively to rail matters and the paper also reveals that Mr Grayling said: "I am persuaded that the Wisbech line should be re-opened. We can't get the infrastructure in place until Ely (north junction) is sorted out but we're looking at how we can speed up growth." North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay tells the Lynn News: "I am delighted he [the Secretary of State] has given his personal endorsement [to the proposed Wisbech line re-opening]."

Friday 11 August 2017 - "A high-level study has concluded there is a positive economic and strategic case for improving East West Rail’s Eastern Section, from Cambridge to Norwich and Ipswich, and beyond" reports the East West Rail Consortium. The report suggests that improving the Eastern Section would promote economic growth, create shorter journey times, get the best value out of the wider East-West Rail project [central section: Cambridge to Oxford], reduce overcrowding in London, reduce car dependency, add freight capacity and support regeneration. The report, which has not yet been published, includes a list of journey pairs "which, with an improved Eastern Section, would provide the most benefits in terms of journey time reduction, impact on GVA Gross Value Added) and getting people out of their cars and onto trains by 2031." The list includes Ipswich-King's Lynn and Norwich-Cambridge.

Wednesday 9 August 2017 - Greater Anglia's video of the Official Opening of Cambridge North is available here on YouTube.

Tuesday 8 August 2017 - "King’s Lynn named among country’s worst stations for train punctuality" writes Allister Webb in the Lynn News [page 5]. "Figures published by the Sunday Times at the weekend claimed that more than 15 per cent of trains at the station were at least 10 minutes late over a two week period. ... [The Sunday Times] said 15.3 per cent of trains were at least 10 minutes late at Lynn, making it the 10th worst station in the country. And the list of worst performers also included nearby Watlington, which was 30th with 11.6 per cent of trains failing to arrive within 10 minutes of their scheduled time. ... Fen Line Users Association secretary Andy Tyler said the figures were 'very disappointing', but not surprising." The Lynn News reports "[FLUA] have also joined West Norfolk Council and the King’s Lynn BID group in urging the government to re-dual single track sections that were downgraded in the 1980s. ...'We need longer, faster and more frequent trains. If that can be achieved, the service would be a lot better.' A Great Northern spokesman said yesterday: 'Supporting the delivery of the Thameslink Programme, Great Northern and Thameslink will see £100 million of government funding invested in track renewal, improving signals and overhead lines, and enhancing fencing to prevent trespassers. This will directly improve the reliability of services on Great Northern routes and we look forward to all passengers enjoying the benefits of this investment.'" Mr Webb points out: "The figures were published on the eve of yesterday’s official opening of the new Cambridge North station by transport secretary Chris Grayling."

Tuesday 8 August 2017 - Today's Lynn News says: "Free Wi-Fi is now available on Great Northern train services in West Norfolk and farther afield. The additional facility has been brought in recently for passengers between Lynn and London King's Cross. ... free Wi-Fi is also available at Lynn Railway Station."

Monday 7 August 2017 - Rachel West reports in the Cambridge News "Why Cambridge North is so important according to Transport Secretary". Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says: "Two new reports published at the start of the year named Cambridge as the fastest growing city in the UK, and the city with the best economic prospects outside London. And it’s not hard to fathom why. More investment is going into the city today than at any time for generations. The University is expanding rapidly. Global businesses like AstraZeneca are building major new headquarters in Cambridge. And the region’s world renowned science, digital and technology sector is well on its way to becoming Britain’s Silicon Valley. But such growth can only be sustained if we also invest in better transport, so people can travel and commute to work easily and reliably. ... The new station provides regular services to Norwich, Ely [Great Northern's proposed 2018 timetable shows services also running to Downham Market and King's Lynn from next year] and London, and improves access to the Cambridge Science Park and city centre. ... The new station is funded by the Department for Transport, and is part of a wider government programme to transform Cambridge’s rail connections. ... the railway is growing fast. Over the past two decades, passenger journeys in this country have doubled. In preparation for future growth, the Government is delivering the biggest rail investment programme since the Victorian era. We are investing £40 billion in our railways and by the end of 2019 we will have more than 3,700 new carriages on the network. ... just as prospects for Cambridge are looking up, so are prospects for the transport network. And Cambridge North Station is set to become a big part of the city’s success story."

Monday 7 August 2017 - "Network Rail delivered the station [Cambridge North] as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan .... It is now a vital point of access to the business park, which was previously only accessed by road. It is anticipated that the station will encourage new businesses to the area in the future as well as aid the expansion of Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre" says NR, reporting that "The Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, unveiled a plaque at Cambridgeshire’s newest station today (Monday 7 August) to officially mark its opening." The Network Rail announcement is headed by a photograph showing Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, shaking hands with Jamie Burles, Managing Director, Greater Anglia [which manages the station] in the present of NR's Anglia Route Director, Meliha Duymaz, and Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of the Economy & Environment Committee, Cambridgeshire County Council.

Monday 7 August 2017 - "Cambridge's newest train station has been officially opened by a special guest - Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said Cambridge North formed part of plans to turn the region into 'the UK's own Silicon Valley'" reports Tommy Lumby in the Cambridge News. Mr Grayling is reported as saying: “The opening of Cambridge North marks the start of our plans to transform journeys for passengers in Cambridgeshire and maximise growth for the wider region. We are committed to making journeys across this region quicker and easier, as soon as possible. The new station is already contributing to that." Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, says: "This station brings a welcome boost to the local economy as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. It has improved the way people travel around the city with better connections to both Cambridge city centre and to London, and provides vital rail links to the science and business parks, to support jobs and create new opportunities." [We support Great Northern's proposals for all their Fen Line services to call at Cambridge North from 2018 and also welcome Greater Anglia trains stopping at the new station].

Monday 7 August 2017 - "The newest railway station in the region has been officially opened today by the Transport Secretary" says Janine Machin on BBC Look East News. "Cambridge North has cost £50m. It's near the Business and Science Parks and it has been in use since May. Passenger numbers have already risen to more than a thousand per day ...." Secretary of State Chris Grayling tells Look East: "I want to see the whole route from Oxford to Cambridge reopened ... that route is a really important part of opening up links between ... places that are going to be so important to our growth as a nation in future."

Monday 7 August 2017 - "Transport minister Chris Grayling in Cambridgeshire to officially open Cambridge North rail station" reports John Elworthy in the Ely Standard. Mr Grayling tells the newspaper: “We are committed to making journeys across this region quicker and easier, as soon as possible. The new station is already contributing to that. East West Rail is at the heart of that transformation and can be a critical part of our plans to make this region the UK’s own Silicon Valley, a world renowned centre for science and innovation.” Jamie Burles, managing director, Greater Anglia says: “We’re grateful to our partners at Network Rail, the Department for Transport, Cambridgeshire County Council and Great Northern for their work with us in developing, funding and operating the station.” The newspaper reveals that "in 2019, a new direct Greater Anglia Norwich to Stansted Airport service will be introduced, stopping at Cambridge North, when the company brings in new trains across every route on its network during 2019-20. A coffee shop and retail unit will open soon in the main station concourse." Nick Brown, chief operating officer, Govia Thameslink Railway [operators of Great Northern services], says: “With two Great Northern trains an hour from King’s Cross to the new station, it’s never been easier for companies from the UK and across the globe to do business at the renowned Cambridge Business Park. Our service will support the wider economic growth of Cambridgeshire by attracting commercial and residential development to the area.” [Govia Thameslink Railway, which serves the new Cambridge North with some of its Kings Cross-Ely/Kings Lynn 'Cambridge Express' trains, is intending that all Great Northern Fen Line services will call at Cambridge North from 2018; the Association welcomes this development].

Monday 7 August 2017 - Greater Anglia News presents a live video of the speeches and the unveiling of the plaque by Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, at today's official opening of Cambridge North station. Mr Grayling says: "It's a great pleasure to be here for the next stage in the growth of the railway in Cambridge and in East Anglia. ... there's talk about one [new Cambridge station] in the south [Addenbrooke's/Cambridge Biomedical Campus; supported by the Association] ... we've got East West Rail coming along the way, we've got to sort out Ely Junction [Ely North Junction/Ely Area], I want to find ways to make the Wisbech connection work ... a very exciting time for the railways in East Anglia ... [Cambridge] needs a transport system that's fit for the twenty-first century ... this is going to make a real difference to this area ... ."

Monday 7 August 2017 - Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling tells Greater Anglia: "This station [Cambridge North} is obviously going to be an absolutely critical centre for this part of Cambridge and it's got the capacity for what I suspect will be a huge amount of growth for the future. Cambridge is one of our more important innovation cities ... having proper modern infrastructure and a modern railway station is going to be a really important part of that." [Govia Thameslink Railway, which serves the new Cambridge North with some of its Kings Cross-Ely/Kings Lynn 'Cambridge Express' trains, is intending that all Great Northern Fen Line services will call at Cambridge North from 2018; the Association welcomes this development. Greater Anglia, which serves the Liverpool Street route and which manages the new station, already runs services which stop there].

Monday 7 August 2017 - ITV News reports: "New station is just the start for East's Silicon Valley, says Transport Secretary. Cambridge’s newest rail station is already helping to speed up journeys for commuters into and out of the city less than two months after opening. Cambridge North Station was officially opened by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today (7 August). On his visit to the city today he also met with key stakeholders on the innovative East West Rail (EWR) project. ... It's hoped that the East West rail project will link Cambridge and Oxford directly by rail for the first time in 50 years. As well as helping to develop the region into the UK’s own Silicon Valley it could boost other initiatives including housing, science, technology and innovation. The aim is also to provide a new direct rail link between East Anglia, the South Midlands and the South West, helping to grow the UK’s economy. Upon completion, it will mean journeys between some of the country’s most economically vibrant towns and cities will be quicker and easier."

Monday 7 August 2017 - "Multi-million pound transport projects show commitment to UK’s new Silicon Valley. Cambridge North station officially opened by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling" says the Department for Transport. Mr Grayling was joined at the official opening of Cambridge North station by Network Rail’s Meliha Duymaz, Greater Anglia Managing Director Jamie Burles, and Nick Brown, Chief Operating Officer at GTR. FLUA's Andy Tyler (Secretary), Ben Walsh, and Robert Stripe (Vice-President) were at this morning's ceremony.

Sunday 6 August 2017 - "If it's Tuesday evening, your train service is about to hit the buffers. Rail journeys are more likely to run late after work than in the morning peak, with one day particularly badly hit, official data shows" report Andrew Gilligan, Louis Goddard and Sam Joiner in today's Sunday Times [page 8]. They say: "the figures were obtained from a huge trawl of Network Rail data .... The analysis also picks out Britain's worst stations for punctuality." Revealing that: "taking lateness of 10 minutes or more, Weymouth came top [i.e. had the worst lateness record].... Other important towns that did badly that did badly were King's Lynn, ... " The newspaper tabulates the percentage of "trains delayed by at least 10 minutes or cancelled" for stations with at least 10 arrivals a day. The Sunday Times reports that the figure for King's Lynn was 15.3% and that Watlington also makes the black list, with 11.6%.

Thursday 3 August 2017 - We are pleased to announce that issue 2/2017 of our newsletter, The Fenman, has now been published and Members who receive this electronically have been sent their copy and that today we have also posted members' printed copies to those that receive their copies this way. Issue 2/2017 focuses on GTR's 2018 timetable consultation and on infrastructure and service delivery issues. The Fenman issue 2/2017 is now available in the Members' section.

As a special service to members, we are pleased to pass on a 25% discount offer on the price of FLUA Member Rob Shorland-Ball's forthcoming book Cambridge station - its development and operation as a rail centre. The book is to be published in November.

Wednesday 2 August 2017 - Ken Gray writes a two page article titled "Problems to resolve before Ely achieves smoother running" in the latest issue of RAIL magazine.

Wednesday 2 August 2017 - Norfolk County Council launches a consultation on the draft Norfolk Strategic Framework - Shared Spatial Objectives for a Growing County. This covers strategic rail links, including Kings Lynn-Kings Cross, in discussing the "A10 Corridor" [page 29], Committed Transport Projects [page 52] and Priority Rail Projects for Promotion [page 52]). The "A10 Corridor" section states: "To realise the growth potential of the A10 Corridor there is a need to improve journey times, reliability of services and enhancement of operational capacity." The 'Committed Transport Projects' table includes the commitment to run half-hourly services between King's Lynn and King's Cross. The 'Priority Rail Projects for Promotion' table includes Ely Area Enhancements. The consultation closes on Friday 22 September 2017.

Tuesday 1 August 2017 - "Interactive rail times: Cambridge has one of the slowest rail connections to London - Interactive tool shows rail times between major cities, and Cambridge is in the slow lane" says the Cambridge News. The newspaper adds: "Cambridge rail users have one of the slowest connections to London, when compared to other major UK cities. Our [the newspaper's] exclusive new gadget (scroll down to see it) [on the Cambridge News website] reveals the slowest rail connections from Cambridge to all other major British cities. The journey from Cambridge to London averages 40.4mph, making our connection to the capital one of the slowest." [We are puzzled by the latter: Cambridge to Kings Cross is 58 miles, we think this gives an average 74 mph; Cambridge to Liverpool Street is 56 miles, giving an average 52 mph].

Monday 31 July 2017 - "The Hansford Review: Unlocking rail investment – building confidence, reducing costs" - an independent review by a panel chaired by Professor Peter Hansford - has been published today. The Review's recommendations seek, inter alia, to encourage more third-party investment into rail projects. Also published is Network Rail's response "Network Rail open for business" in which NR Chief Executive Mark Carne says: "The review makes a number of recommendations for Network Rail, which we accept wholeheartedly. We are now committing to changing our behaviours and approaches so that a range of organisations can come forward with alternative solutions and new ways of working." A trial of a new approach to third parties is to start in the Autumn on NR's Anglia Route.

Friday 28 July 2017 - Allister Webb, News Editor of the Lynn News, writes: "Remembering King’s Lynn electrification 25 years on. On July 28, 1992, hundreds gathered at Lynn’s station to see Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother mark the completion of electrification on the borough’s line. ... the belief that better transport links would stimulate greater economic growth was as strong then as it is today. In October 1987, this newspaper [Lynn News] reported the launch of a West Norfolk Council electrification campaign document where future editor Malcolm Powell, then the vice-president of Lynn’s Chamber of Trade, said the area’s growth prospects would have been 'merely a dream' just two years earlier. But he added: 'But it’s happening and we have to grasp it now. If not, we are going to go backwards.'" Mr Webb concludes: "It may have been a slow journey, but the final destination was eventually reached. The lesson for us is to keep fighting on now."

Friday 28 July 2017 - "Phase 2 of the Timetable Consultation has now closed" says GTR. We'll be working our way through all the comments and suggestions in order to fine tune the timetable for the next phase. Come back in the autumn to see and comment on the refined timetables, weekend timetables and late night services. ... We'll list the key themes from the second phase soon."

Thursday 27 July 2018 - "A Cambridge to King's Cross train service is the second most overcrowded in England and Wales" report Neil Lancefield and Anna Starnes in the Cambridge News. "There's an average of 426 passengers on the Great Northern weekday service when its official capacity is 202." The train in question - the 0755 Cambridge-King's Cross is not a Fen Line service but was recorded as the second most overcrowded train in Britain. Pointing out that once the government-funded Thameslink Programme has been completed in 2018 [many] services from Cambridge will transfer to the Thameslink route, and services will be operated as eight and 12 car trains, a DfT spokeswoman says: "We know some passengers have not received the service they deserve, and we continue to work with the industry to cut journey times and crowding, improve reliability and deliver more frequent services."

Thursday 27 July 2017 - A reminder that GTR's consultation on the proposed 2018 timetable closes at 5 p.m. TODAY.

Wednesday 26 July 2017 - "Public urged to have their say on new Fen Line timetable " writes Taz Ali in a full page article in the Eastern Daily Press today [page 21]. "Passengers are being urged to have their say on changes to the King's Lynn to London rail timetable,which could see 10 minutes added to the journey. ... The changes are due to be implemented in 2018 but passengers can contribute to the consultation which closes at 5 pm on Thursday July 27 [tomorrow]." South West Norfolk MP tells the EDP: "The proposed retiming of trains at the end of the school day and the loss of an early morning train means that there is an hour gap between 0632 and 0733 [these times are arrival times at King's Cross - the well established arrival at King's Cross around 0715 (achieved by a planned connection at Cambridge) has already been degraded by the current, May 2017 timetable to a sub-standard 'connection' and since the introduction of that timetable it has been suppressed from timetable publicity]. ... I would urge commuters to contribute to the consultation before it closes this week." The EDP reports that "Govia has introduced new trains on the Lynn to London line, with plug sockets, larger tables and free wifi for passengers."

Tuesday 25 July 2017 - "MP joins critics of slower train journey plans" written by Allister Webb in the Lynn News, says: "The plans, on which a consultation exercise ends this Thursday, would see most daytime journeys from Lynn to the capital take around 10 minutes longer than they do now. ... The company [Great Northern] has said the timetables are meant to coincide with the expected introduction of longer trains late next year and will improve performance on the network." Writing elsewhere in today's Lynn News, Sarah Juggins says: "Under new plans to modernise the rail service in East Anglia, Lynn and the other stops up to Ely are to 'benefit' from a slower and less frequent service than that promised. Oh goodie. More people jammed into the train and for 10 minutes longer - what's not to like about that? Our tracks were downgraded in the 1980s to reduce costs ...." Mr Webb writes: "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss yesterday became the latest to voice concerns over operator Great Northern’s new draft timetables for the route. The plans, on which a consultation exercise ends this Thursday, would see most daytime journeys from Lynn to the capital take around 10 minutes longer than they do now. The company has said the timetables are meant to coincide with the expected introduction of longer trains late next year and will improve performance on the network. But Ms Truss, who has held talks with Great Northern’s parent company Govia Thameslink on the issue, said: 'I want to ensure our current provision is improved and lengthening travel times is not good news for rail passengers in our region.' Ms Truss said she welcomed the extra stop at the new Cambridge North station, which is not currently served by trains to and from Lynn, that is included in the new timetable. She also described plans for new direct services linking Cambridge with Gatwick and Heathrow airports, as well as Ashford International, where passengers could then join Eurostar services to the continent instead of London St Pancras, as 'very good news' [Please note: only a tiny number of Eurostar trains call at Ashford, whereas all Eurostar services - to Brussels, Marseille, Paris and, from December, to Amsterdam, depart from St. Pancras International, which is adjacent to the King's Cross terminus used by Fen Line trains]. But she also warned that the re-timing of services was likely to have a particular impact on students making their way home from schools."

Tuesday 25 July 2017 - The importance of Fen Line trains services for pupils and students travelling to/from their places of education in Cambridge, Ely, King's Lynn and elsewhere is underscored in "Travelling to King's, Ely", the new brochure produced by the King's School, Ely.

Tuesday 25 July 2017 - "MP's call for constituents to make noise over plans to scrap fast train services to London - the South Cambridgeshire MP is urging constituents to respond to a public consultation on the 2018 timetable" is the headline of Tom Pilgrim's article in the Cambridge News." Heidi Allen has expressed her concern over potential timetable changes on the Cambridge to London rail line. Under current plans an off peak half hourly service will call at rural villages in North Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire all day, including Royston, Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton. The villages will also benefit from more later services at night to Cambridge. However despite the increase in frequency, journey times from the villages to London will all be longer in the future. ... Mrs Allen said: 'I’m delighted that we’re getting half hourly trains to and from Cambridge and London throughout the day and some people will really feel the benefit of trains now arriving into St Pancras or City Thameslink. However, I have concerns about service levels within Thameslink and I raised these with Great Northern during my meeting last week. They were clear that this consultation is seeking feedback and they assured me they will look again at all of the points I raised. They confirmed that submissions were a key driver in the last round of consultation conclusions. The bottom line is that the timetable shake-up will cost South Cambs commuters if we don’t take action and submit to the consultation.'" [Half-hourly services are proposed for the 'village stations' at Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth]. Susan van de Ven, chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, tells the newspaper that there were concerns about the lack of trains from the villages travelling through to the new Cambridge North station and employment areas around it.

Tuesday 25 July 2017 - "New technology to reduce fatalities on Cambridgeshire's level crossings" reports Anna Savva in the Cambridge News. "Network Rail has introduced new technology across Cambridgeshire to protect children from being distracted while using level crossings. Many of them could be distracted when crossing the railway, whether talking to friends, using their phones or cameras. This new system aims to combat that by alerting young people using their phones near level crossings to put them away through the use of geo targeting technology where phone distraction has been flagged as high risk. The technology has been installed at Littleport station level crossing where there have been 126 incidents in the last year. The new system has also been installed at Ely North ... and Waterbeach. Richard Tew, Network Rail’s head of route safety for Anglia, explains: “Many people are aware of the issue of distraction for drivers, but it is very worrying that so many young adults admit to putting themselves at unnecessary risk by getting distracted when crossing the railway. ... Almost a third of young adults admit to using their mobile phone while crossing the railway. While Britain still has the safest rail network in Europe, level crossings are one of the biggest public safety risks on the railway. In the last five years there have been more than 2,000 incidents on level crossings involving young people across England. And this year has so far seen a series of accidents and near misses on Cambridgeshire's crossings."

Monday 24 July 2017 - "GTR gives passengers free Wi-Fi on board trains" - GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden says: "GTR was brought in to modernise the railway. That means bringing in new trains as well as new services, infrastructure and working practices to address the massive increase in passenger numbers on this, the UK's most congested railway. One of the intended spin-offs is the introduction of on-board Wi-Fi. We've had it on our new Gatwick Express fleet for 10 months; now it's been switched on across our new Great Northern trains [including the new class 387/1trains on King's Lynn-King's Cross route]. Coupled with power points at every pair of seats and air conditioning, we're doing our best to give passengers a better journey." Passengers will see Wi-Fi symbols on train doors. They can log on simply by telling their device to search for new Wi-Fi networks. There is no download limit but after a certain limit is reached, browsing speeds will be reduced to ensure others on board have a good connection (all websites will continue to load, just slower). The available remaining allowance is shown on the train operator’s Wi-Fi website landing page.

Monday 24 July 2017 - "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss urges public to join consultation on new Fen Line timetable" writes Taz Ali in the Eastern Daily Press. "Passengers are being urged to have their say on changes to the King’s Lynn to London rail timetable, which could see 10 minutes added to the journey. A number of changes have been made to the [proposed] timetable, including an additional stop at Cambridge North. The Fen Line route currently runs in 1h and 40min, but the proposed changes could add 10 minutes to the journey. The changes are due to be implemented in 2018 but passengers can contribute to the consultation which closes at 5pm on Thursday, July 27." Ms Truss tells the EDP: "I would urge commuters to contribute to the consultation before it closes this week.” The paper says: "Govia has introduced new trains on the Lynn to London [King's Cross] line, with plug sockets, larger tables and free wifi for passengers. Passengers can contribute to the consultation and find out more about the timetable changes on www.transformingrail.com . [The proposed Monday to Friday 2018 timetable for the Great Northern Kings Lynn-Kings Cross route can be found here].

Monday 24 July 2017 - "MP concerned over increased journey times on the Fen Line through Downham Market, Littleport, Ely and Cambridge into London" writes John Elworthy in the Ely Standard: "MP Liz Truss says she remains concerned about changes to the Kings Lynn to London service through Littleport, Ely and Cambridge that could extend journey times." The South West Norfolk MP tells the newspaper: "I spoke to Govia Thameslink, the rail operator on the Fen Line route, Kings Lynn to London [Kings Cross], and raised my concerns about the extended journey times and removal of services. “For example the proposed retiming of trains at the end of the school day will impact on students and the loss of an early morning train means that there is an hour gap [in arrivals at King's Cross] between 0632 and 0733.“ Mr Elworthy continues: "She said that although the additional stop at new station Cambridge North will add three minutes to journey time 'it is nevertheless a welcome addition on the line due to the significant employment opportunities there'. ... However at least an additional four to five minutes has been built into the timetable to allow for longer stopping times at stations and for what is being referred to as ‘resilience’ in the programme ." A spokesman for West Norfolk Council tells the Ely Standard that they had "considerable concerns regarding the general lengthening of journey times proposed in the 2018 timetable for the King’s Lynn to King’s Cross rail route. The proposals mean average peak journeys of 113 minutes out and 110 minutes back between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross, an increase of up to 8 minutes.”

Monday 24 July 2017 - "Rail passengers urged to contribute to new timetable before consultation closes this week" says South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss. "Rail passengers are being urged to contribute to the consultation on the proposed Kings Lynn to London rail timetable, due to be implemented in 2018. The consultation closes this week on Thursday 27th July 2017." Speaking about the proposed 2018 timetable, she points out there are: "A number of changes ... including an additional stop at Cambridge North, longer journey times, re-timing of services. "I spoke to Govia Thameslink, the rail operator on the Fen Line route, Kings Lynn to London [Kings Cross], and raised my concerns about the extended journey times and removal of services. ... Govia Thameslink also highlighted the fact that one of the reasons for the changes to the timetable was to accommodate the new cross rail [Thameslink] service in London. When fully operational there will be direct trains every day of the week from Cambridge to Gatwick, Heathrow, Farringdon and Ashford International. This is very good news for rail passengers but I want to ensure our current provision is improved and lengthening travel times by an average of eight minutes is not good news for rail passengers in our region." Ms Truss concludes: "I would urge commuters to contribute to the consultation before it closes this week." [The consultation is to be found at www.transforming rail.com and closes at 1700 on Thursday 27 July 2017. The times proposed to operate on the King's Lynn-King's Cross route in 2018 can be found here].

Monday 24 July 2017 - " 'We are truly sorry': Great Northern social media mistake confuses commuters about new train capacity" report Tom Pilgrim and Jasmine Watkiss in today's Cambridge News: "Commuter Andrew Booker is now calling on train operator to make data public regarding standing capacities and carriage numbers. Train operator Great Northern made "a mistake" when it claimed on social media that its new train carriages have more space for passengers. In a Twitter exchange with one customer the company said its new Class 387s trains had more 'overall capacity' when the carriages actually have less space inside. ... A spokesman for Great Northern conceded that the company's tweets had mistakenly given the impression there was increased capacity on its new trains. ... our social media team has made an honest mistake in saying that overall capacity has increased and for that we are truly sorry. It was based on their belief that fewer seats meant more standing space but there is less space inside the train saloon because of updated crashworthiness standards."

Writing on Twitter on 15 June, GN had said: "The new trains to provide more overall capacity. And customers that were surveyed stated they prefer 2by2 seating." [We have long supported '2by2', i.e. 2+2 seating for Fen Line services, contrasting it with the class 377 trains originally proposed by GN for King's Cross services. Like the class 365 'old trains', the class 387 trains now in use ('new trains') do have 2+2 seating and not the greatly disliked 3+2 arrangement].

The Cambridge News continues: "Mr Booker is now challenging the train company to make their data about the number of carriages and official standing capacities available to the public. He said: 'Unsurprisingly, I take issue with a lot of Great Northern's responses, some of which I feel are worded to confuse people by changing the metrics half way through the article, and some of which are completely off-topic for the discussion on capacity. The only way this debate will get resolved is for Great Northern to publish two key pieces of information, and I am calling on them to do so.' The two pieces of information Andrew wants the company to reveal are: the number of carriages making up all Great Northern services between King's Lynn, Cambridge and King's Cross, both peak and off-peak, both before and after the introduction of new trains; and the official standing capacities of the old and new trains." GN told the paper: "Modern trains do have less space inside because of updated crashworthiness standards but they feature other improvements such as air conditioning, power points at every pair of seats and great passenger information systems." [Andrew Booker's blog contains his points raised with Great Northern].

Sunday 23 July 2017 - It has been drawn to our attention that Network Rail's latest Anglia Route Scorecard (dated 1 April 2017) is NOT measuring the performance of Govia Thameslink Railway trains against set targets. Scorecards were introduced in response to Recommendation 1 of the Shaw Report 'The future shape and financing of Network Rail': "Place the needs of passengers and freight shippers at the heart of rail infrastructure management. Train operators should drive this customer focus into Network Rail through scorecards and agreed action plans, recognising they are sharing use of the network with others and operating within a national (and international) system.” Scorecards include various measures (CaSL – Cancelled and Significantly Late, On time, Right Time, PPM - Public Performance Measure). NR's Anglia Route Scorecard records Public Performance Measure (PPM), Cancelled & Significantly Late (CaSL) and Right Time Arrival for train operators c2c, Greater Anglia, London Overground, and TfL Rail, but not for any of the other passenger train companies operating over the Anglia Route, including for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). [GTR's Great Northern trains run over NR's Anglia Route from King's Lynn to the boundary of the Anglia Route with the London North Eastern & East Midlands Route between Cambridge and Royston].

Sunday 23 July 2017 - Reactions from more areas affected by GTR's proposed increased journey times in 2018 are being reported in the media, for example: 'Longer train journeys, but more frequent service from St Albans and Harpenden into London' - reported today by the Herts Advertiser. In this case, a more frequent service is being offered to compensate for the proposed longer journey times.

Saturday 22 July 2017 - "First class could be cut on busy trains, says Grayling" - the BBC reports that Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has said that "Train firms could be forced to reduce first class seats on busy commuter lines to ease overcrowding. ... He said people will see 'less first class in the future' with busy suburban trains having 'one class' instead. Mr Grayling suggested operators may be forced to scrap first class areas when franchises are awarded in the future. ... However, some are not due for renewal for several years, with the Northern and East Anglia franchises currently not due for renewal until 2025."

The abolition of First Class on the peak only King's Lynn/Ely-Liverpool Street services may already be under way, however. Speaking at the AGM of the national rail campaigning organisation Railfuture held at Peterborough on Saturday 20 May 2017, Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia, which operates these services, said that from 2019/20 King's Lynn/Ely-Liverpool Street services will be Bombardier 'Adventra' units - all standard class, no First Class, with 3+2 seating - "the only way you could fulfill the seat capacity requirements of the Government, unless there was a massive infrastructure upgrade at the same time." Mr Burles explained that the 5-car version will have 544 seats and the 10-car version 1,146 seats [each carriage is 23 metres in length, a 5-car set being broadly equivalent in length to 6 cars of the current trains and a 10-car set being almost equivalent to a current 12-car train. These seat capacities are also shown in the East Anglia Franchise Agreement - on page 178 of 750, types OS10 and OS5 refer]."

Friday 21 July 2017 - "Fare cuts sought as train plan anger grows" headlines today's Lynn News [page 5]. "... the Fen Line Users Association (FLUA) says passengers are at risk of losing out as previous service commitments are not being honoured in the current plans. Its chairman, Colin Sampson, said: 'More and more people are travelling to Cambridge and London. They expect decent trains and a decent train service. Cutting back on the frequencies promised last autumn – and slowing things down on top of that – is unacceptable. We think fares should be reduced to compensate.'” The newspaper continues: "As first reported in the Lynn News last Friday, the current plans would see most daytime journeys last for around 10 minutes longer than they do now. ... Now, FLUA says that, despite committing to two peak-time trains an hour in initial consultations last year, the new plans have seen one morning peak service to London and two afternoon peak services back to Lynn cut [from the plans for 2018]. A Great Northern spokesman said the services highlighted were 'duplicate' trains which will not be removed from the timetable until Network Rail has completed the work necessary to enable eight-coach trains to run between Lynn and Cambridge, instead of the current four. The project is expected to be finished late next year. [The relevant peak services are those ADDITIONAL to the current timetable, promised by Govia Thameslink Railway in its Phase 1 Consultation document, published on 15 September 2016 (page 69 of 71). The 'schools' train, the 1619 Cambridge-Downham Market, does act as a duplicate to the heavily overcrowded 1544 King's Cross-King's Lynn, which leaves Cambridge at 1635]."

Friday 21 July 2017 - In a separate article, "Government urged to restore rail link 'stuck in the 1980s'", the Lynn News also highlights that the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Lynn BID Ltd, and FLUA have joined forces to call for "a long-term strategic commitment to a double track line that is capable of accommodating 12 coach trains. They also want proposals to re-double the single line sections of track between Lynn and Watlington and Downham and Littleport respectively. The tracks were downgraded in the mid-1980s to reduce costs. But campaigners say they are now the main cause of the proposal to make journey times even longer under the current draft timetable plans." Lynn BID Chairman Darren Taylor tells the paper: "I’m concerned the Fen Line, and King’s Lynn specifically, is yet again being overlooked in favour of other towns and cities in the East. We need to make our dissatisfaction clear to the government.” Borough Council leader Brain Long says: "We expect to see the promised work on Ely North Junction taking place and we also want the single-line sections between there and King’s Lynn returned to a two-track line. With the huge growth in use of the Fen Line, this money-saving measure has just left us with bottlenecks, resulting in a sub-standard level of service. It’s time that our railway line was dragged out of the 80s and brought up to date and in line with other modern railway lines."

Friday 21 July 2017 - "MP and council voice rail delay concerns" reports Yourlocalpaper today [page 3]. Weight has been added to concerns expressed at a new train timetable proposed for the King's Lynn to King's Cross route. South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss and West Norfolk Council have spoken out about operator Great Northern's proposed timetable which would see journey times to and from the capital increase by eight to 12 minutes in 2018." Ms Truss tells the paper: "I have long been campaigning to have our rail routes upgraded with increased services and this to me is a backwards step." The Yourlocalpaper points out that "the timetable consultation deadline ends next week. To view and comment on Great Northern's proposals go online to www.transformingrail.com by 5pm on Thursday."

Friday 21 July 2017 - "Longer journey times between King's Lynn and London" reports the Eastern Daily Press today [page 55]. Elizabeth Truss MP tells the paper: "Business and tourism, regular rail commuters, all want shorter journeys and I will be speaking to Govia Thameslink ... raising my concerns about this proposal." The article concludes: "Govia has introduced new trains on the Lynn to London line, which it says 'provide a very fast and very reliable service'. The ride is quieter and smoother, with plug sockets, larger tables and free wifi for passengers." [The new, air-conditioned class 387 trains have fewer seats than the trains they replaced; but they are Norfolk's fastest trains, being capable of 110 mph south of Hitchin, i.e. on the East Coast Main Line part of the King's Lynn-King's Cross journey].

Thursday 20 July 2017 - "The Council has considerable concerns regarding the general lengthening of journey times proposed in the 2018 timetable for the King's Lynn to King's Cross rail route" says the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk in it's 'Borough Council Response to the Proposed 2018 Great Northern Timetable Consultation', submitted to Govia Thameslink Railway today. "Despite the very welcome recent introduction of faster trains (capable of 110 mph south of Hitchin) on our line the proposals are for King’s Lynn - King’s Cross Fen Line services to become slower. The proposals mean average peak journeys of 113 minutes out and 110 minutes back between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross, an increase of up to 8 minutes, although most users will experience a greater increase. ... The concerns and request for changes and Government action expressed ... are shared with FLUA and the King’s Lynn Business Improvement District (BID)."

Thursday 20 July 2017 - Top news story at radio station KL.FM 96.7 today: "If plans go ahead, the trip to London from King's Lynn could end up taking even longer. The proposed rail route to King's Cross will take 10 to 12 minutes longer than it does now. Councillor Brian Long, the leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn, tells us what he wants to see happen: 'The commitment was to provide a half-hourly service and we've been involved with helping the sort of technical aspect of getting that to be able to happen. Instead of increasing the time that journeys take, they need to be looking to cutting the time and increase the frequency of those trains. This is a backwards step and we cannot support it in any way.'" KL.FM 96.7 sets out the background to this news item here on the radio station's website.

Thursday 20 July 2017 - Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, announces the Government's High Level Outputs Statement 2017 (HLOS) for CP6 (2019-2024)to Parliament. Mr Grayling tells Parliament: "In light of the findings of the Bowe Review, which emphasised the need to enable better planning, cost control and alignment with the needs of users of the railway, government will take forward the funding of these enhancements separately. The government is developing a new process for delivering enhancements and intends to publish more information on this in the autumn." The HLOS also provides an initial Statement of Funds Available (SoFA), "which will be subject to finalisation by 13 October 2017, following ... further work." HLOS Appendix A gives AM Peak demand forecasts for the period 2018/19 to 2023/24 - services into Liverpool Street are expected to grow at an annual compound growth rate of 4%; the corresponding figure for King's Cross services is 5%.

Thursday 20 July 2017 - The Government issues East Midlands Rail Franchise Public Consultation today. East Midlands Trains currently operate through Ely on their Liverpool-Peterborough-Norwich route. The consultation document [page 32] states: "We want to improve the service on the Liverpool – Norwich route to meet the needs of the different markets which it currently serves. This could include providing faster journeys for those travelling long distances and dedicated services for local passengers. ... At the eastern end of the route, options might exist to provide direct services between Nottingham and a wider range of stations in East Anglia, such as Cambridge and Stansted Airport. Some options could also result in changes to the destinations served by the existing Birmingham to Stansted Airport service currently operated by the Cross Country franchise." The Government is asking if there is support for "changing the destinations served by the existing Birmingham – Stansted Airport service, such as serving Norwich instead of Stansted Airport" (question 16). The document also states: "A transfer of the Birmingham to Leicester/Stansted Airport services from the Cross Country franchise to the East Midlands franchise could: allow bidders flexibility to offer new services, e.g. Norwich – Birmingham or from East Midlands stations to Cambridge/Stansted Airport (question 17)."

Thursday 20 July 2017 - Also issued today is the DfT's updated Rail Franchise Schedule.

Thursday 20 July 2017 - Network Rail publishes its Statement of Case and other Inquiry documents for the proposed Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction Order. (See news items below, dated Monday 10 April 2017 and Wednesday 10 May 2017).

Wednesday 19 July 2017 - "Great Northern urges train commuters to be patient over demand for more peak time seats" reports Jasmine Watkiss in the Cambridge News. "The company has responded to a commuter who claims their new trains have much less seating and standing space than the old models [see news item below, dated Tuesday 18 July 2017]. A Great Northern spokesman questioned the accuracy of [the commuter making the original claims] Mr Booker's analysis, saying that during the three-hour morning peak, on the fast services from Cambridge to London, the actual number of standard class seats lost is 396. The spokesman also said there were 239 standard seats on an older Class 365 train, meaning there are 36 fewer seats per carriage. He added that in the off-peak time there are 262 more seats in a standard hour, because Great Northern is now running more eight-carriage trains instead of four-carriage trains. That adds up to more than 1,800 extra seats a day."

We continue to press for the earliest implementation of the King's Lynn-Cambridge 8-car scheme (page 33 of 189), which, as well as doubling the number of seats per train (446 in an 8-car class 387/1 train) will permit currently overcrowded King's Lynn-King's Cross trains to stop at the new Cambridge North station.

The Eversholt class 365 datasheet shows 263 seats in a 100 mph 4-car class 365 unit ('old' train) - 239 standard class plus 24 First Class. This varies slightly in practice. The Porterbrook class 387 brochure shows a total of 219 seats in a 110 mph 4-car class 387/1 unit ('new' train). The trains themselves are labelled on the exterior as having 223 seats; this includes 22 First Class. On Mr. Booker's website he says he has counted the seats and that there are "201 standard class seats (plus 22 first class) on the new trains", thus giving a total of 223 seats per 4-car class 387/1 "new" train.

The 125/140 mph type 3 Super Express Trains proposed earlier for the King's Lynn-King's Cross route as 'East Coast Main Line Phase 2' under the Government's Intercity Express Programme (IEP) were to have some 370 seats per half-length, electric 5-car unit [Section 2 on page 4 of 23 and paragraph 2.2 on page 6 of 23 - 'East Coast Main Line (Phase 2)']. Currently under construction by Hitachi Rail Europe, from 2018 class 800/01 'Azuma' Super Express Trains will operate on long distance East Coast Main Line routes from King's Cross. Each carriage is some 26m in length, longer than the current 20 m carriages on the Fen Line, so that a 5-car Super Express Train is broadly equivalent in length to 6 cars of a class 387/1 or 365 unit. This would approximate to some 245 seats per current 4-car train length.

The Agreement between the Secretary of State for Transport and Agility Trains East Limited (the latter being a joint venture set up by Hitachi and John Laing Investments Limited), the East Coast IEP Network Master Availability and Reliability Agreement Amended and Restated on 15 April 2014, includes "[Kings Cross]-Hitchin to Kings Lynn via Cambridge - electrified" as an Intercity Express Programme (IEP) "Core Route ... Secondary" [page 196 of 696]. Also listed are "Hitchin to Peterborough via Ely (electrified to Ely) ... Diversionary Route ... Secondary" [page 195 of 696] and Ely North Junction to Ely West Junction [Ely West Curve] Diversionary Route ... Secondary" [page 200 of 696].

The Intercity Express Programme [IEP] Appendix C Added Value Monetary Values, published by the Government on 6 May 2008, also addressed the monetary value of journey time savings for the King's Lynn-King's Cross route. Paragraph 3.2 'East Coast Main Line (Phase 2)' on page 9 of 23 states: "£ million per 1 minute [journey time] saving - London Kings Cross-Cambridge 36.6 [£ million], London Kings Cross-Kings Lynn 2.8 [£ million], London Kings Cross-Ely 2.2 [£ million]." These figures need to be increased by some 25% to give indicative current values [CPI over period: +22%; RPI over period: +27%. RPI is the measure used by government in calculating regulated fare price increases].

Wednesday 19 July 2017 - "Longer journey times between King’s Lynn, Downham Market, Ely and London" writes Chris Bishop in the Eastern Daily Press. "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said she was 'extremely concerned' at proposals which would add 10 minutes to the 1hr 40min journey" and tells the newspaper: "I have long been campaigning to have our rail routes upgraded with increased services and this to me is a backwards step.” The article continues: "If the new timetable is adopted, trains will spend around a minute longer at each station on their way to the capital." Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs services between Lynn and King’s Cross tells the EDP: “Our timetable proposals reflect the need for a minor increase in dwell times at stations and to improve performance on the single line tracks between King’s Lynn and Cambridge. Doubling the length of trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge from next year will allow us to meet the increasing capacity demands in the East Anglia region.” But Ms Truss says: “Business and tourism, regular rail commuters, all want shorter journeys and I will be speaking to Govia Thameslink later this week raising my concerns about this proposal. I have been in contact with the Fenline Users Association (FLUA) and will be seeking further input from local councils and business associations. We all recognise that timetables from time to time need to be adjusted, for example with the addition of the new railway station at Cambridge North station, and I have been pressing for the upgrade of the Ely North rail junction which once upgraded will allow for more trains and alleviate congestion. However extending travel times is not a move in the right direction and one that I am not supportive of.”

Wednesday 19 July 2017 - "Businesses and politicians in West Norfolk are accusing the rail company which runs King's Lynn to King's Cross trains of planning a service which is worse than the current one. They say the new timetables being put forward by Govia Thameslink Railway are slower and promises of more trains have been broken" - Sophie Price on BBC Radio Norfolk News today.

Tuesday 18 July 2017 - The Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, King’s Lynn Business Improvement District Ltd and the Association today express their considerable dissatisfaction with the proposed 2018 timetable for the King’s Lynn to King’s Cross rail route.

Govia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern) acts for Government as a management contractor. The three bodies are therefore jointly calling on the Government to:

• Explore ways of maintaining and improving existing journey times between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross (allowing for the additional, welcome, stops at the employment hub around the new Cambridge North station).

• Honour the clear commitment in the Phase 1 consultation for trains “every 30 minutes” between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross during peak times (arriving 0700-0959 at King’s Cross and departing there 1600-1859). This is something that has now been cut back in the current Phase 2 consultation.

• Introduce trains “every 30 minutes” between King’s Lynn and Cambridge/Cambridge North during peak times (i.e. arriving 0700-0959 at Cambridge and departing there 1600-1859).

The second track between King’s Lynn and Watlington and between Downham Market and Littleport was removed as an economy measure in 1984/5. The anachronistic single line bottlenecks impose severe limits on the scheduling of trains, leading to the longer overall journey times now being proposed.

The three bodies are therefore further calling on Government to:

• Adopt a minimum two-track railway between King’s Lynn and King’s Cross, equipped to accommodate 12-car trains, as a clear long-term strategic aim. Ensure that short-term plans are fully assessed to ensure they do not conflict with this ultimate goal.

• Instruct the West Anglia Task Force to develop proposals for full re-doubling of the single line sections to remove the root cause of delays and timetabling constraints north of Ely.

"The Government finalises its 2019-2024 railways budget later this week. It is vital our requests are taken into account as the area is being left at a disadvantage because of the lack of progress. We expect to see the promised work on Ely North Junction taking place and we also want the single-line sections between there and King’s Lynn returned to a two-track line" says Councillor Brian Long, Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk.

Darren Taylor, Chairman of King’s Lynn BID Ltd, adds: "King’s Lynn businesses are getting increasingly fed-up with false promises and a lack of action from Great Northern. I welcome the bigger trains, but we need them twice an hour, all day. I’m concerned that the Fen Line, and King’s Lynn specifically, is yet again being overlooked in favour of investment that will benefit other towns and cities in the East. We need to make our dissatisfaction clear to Government.”

An alternative timetable, based on existing journey times and prepared by FLUA member Ben Colson MBE, FCILT shows the sort of timetable we would like to see. It can be found here.

"More and more people are travelling to Cambridge and London – they expect decent trains and a decent train service. Cutting back on the frequencies promised last autumn – and slowing things down on top of that – is unacceptable. FLUA thinks fares should be reduced to compensate” concludes FLUA Chairman, Colin Sampson.

Tuesday 18 July 2017 - "Cynics among us might say it’s a good job longer trains are planned for West Norfolk’s rail line given the current draft timetables would have us on them for longer than we are now" writes Allister Webb in the Lynn News 'Purfleet' column today. The hard-hitting page 12 article, "Why time is running out for jam tomorrow", pulls no punches: "... it seems to me that the rail industry, especially in this region, has a perception problem; the perception of jam tomorrow. Essentially, we, the travelling public, are told that things may not be that good now, but they will be better at some point in the future. Except that point never seems to come. For as long as I’ve worked in Lynn, we’ve been talking about upgrading the Ely north junction. That was supposed to be happening around now but is still several years away, at best. Then there’s the twice-hourly trains, which were supposed to be running this year, but won’t be any time soon, largely because of the Ely issue." Mr Webb continues: "And then we come to the here and now with the promise of longer trains from late next year but with the prospect of longer journeys as a sting in the tail. ... even if we do get longer trains when we’re told we should, the prospect of journeys being slower, rather than faster, is only likely to feed the perception of things not being as good as they should be. I doubt Great Northern’s explanation that the plans will help to 'improve performance' will have gone down well either. Would a car manufacturer knowingly release a new, inferior model of a successful brand? I doubt it and I don’t see why rail passengers should have to accept it either." He concludes: "If there are implications to all this, then the most immediate one should be to increase the pressure on Great Northern and Network Rail to make these desperately needed longer trains a reality."

Tuesday 18 July 2017 - "Great Northern aren't making up for lack of seats on new trains, says number-crunching commuter " reports Jasmine Watkiss in today's Cambridge News: "A number-crunching commuter is convinced the new Great Northern trains between Ely and London have fewer seats and less standing space. Software engineer Andrew Booker, from Ely, has analysed the timetables, total number of seats, and measurements of Great Northern’s new fleet of trains linking the city to the capital, and claims the company has significantly reduced the amount of space available to customers." Mr Booker says: "At times when the trains are busy, they are now absolutely rammed with people standing, whereas on the old trains it appeared there were fewer people without a seat." The Cambridge News article continues: "Noticing the changes, Andrew decided to find out exactly how the new trains were different to the old. He counted the number of seats on both an old model and new model train, and realised the 'simple reduction of around 40 seats per carriage - the exact number varies depending on different sources - is actually equivalent to completely removing one four-carriage train between Cambridge and London per hour during off-peak ... I spent a while looking for any information about the standing capacity on the new trains, but other than Great Northern's insistence that there was more capacity, I couldn't find anything definite. That's when I decided to measure the trains'. ... From measuring the train, Andrew was surprised to discover the floor area had reduced. He also researched the standard limit for standing density on trains, and discovered the guidelines for measuring standing capacity have changed. The old capacity allowed 2.25 people to stand per square metre, giving each person 0.45m2 of floor space – the new regulations put it up to four people per square metre, or 0.25m2 per person." Mr Booker has published his findings as Reduction in seats on Great Northern trains to/from Cambridge from May 2017.

Tuesday 18 July 2017 - "Union to hold strike ballot in train guard dispute" reports the Lynn News today [page 17]. "Drivers and guards on some West Norfolk train services are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over working practices. RMT union bosses announced yesterday that they would invite members who work on Greater Anglia services to vote on whether to take strike action or action short of a strike. The dispute relates to proposals to introduce systems where train drivers would open train doors, rather than guards" reveals the newspaper, going on to point out: "If the dispute is not resolved, any disruption to services in West Norfolk would only affect a small number of services that Greater Anglia run between Lynn and London Liverpool Street. Most of the borough’s services are run by Great Northern [to King's Cross]."

Friday 14 July 2017 - Front page story for today's Lynn News is "The rush hour is getting slower -claims new timetable will cost local economy millions of pounds a year." Allister Webb reports: "London will be further away from Lynn than it is now, if new draft rail timetables come into force, it has emerged. That’s because the proposals ... would make many journeys even longer than they already are. Political and business leaders have hit out at the schedules, claiming they would make services even worse for passengers and cost the local economy tens of millions of pounds a year." The Lynn News adds: "But the area’s main train operator [Great Northern] claims the measures would actually improve performance ... under the current proposals, journeys would take around 10 minutes longer, even though longer trains that would not need to be divided at Cambridge as the current service does, are meant to be introduced late next year." ... A Great Northern spokesman tells the paper: “Doubling the length of trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge from next year will allow us to meet the increasing capacity demands in the East Anglia region. Our timetable proposals reflect the need for a minor increase in dwell times at stations and to improve performance on the single line tracks between King’s Lynn and Cambridge." [The sections between King's Lynn and Watlington and between Downham Market and Littleport, previously double track, were singled as part of economy cuts in 1984/5 - the land and structures occupied by the former second track are still within the railway's boundaries]. Allister Webb continues: "She also highlighted the ongoing work to secure improvements to the Ely north junction, which secured almost £9 million of feasibility study funding from the region’s local enterprise partnerships and rail industry bodies earlier this year. But North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said longer journeys would not be acceptable, particularly given the improved trains that were introduced to the line earlier this year, and which are meant to be capable of making up time following delays. ... If our journey times do get longer, we’d be going backwards, rather than forwards. I will not stand by and let that happen." (See news item immediately below, dated today).

Friday 14 July 2017 - "Members of King’s Lynn BID – the town centre’s business improvement company – have this week expressed their concerns at a new train timetable being proposed by operator Great Northern" reports Yourlocalpaper. Darren Taylor, BID Chairman tells the paper: "the good news is that trains will be made up of eight carriages all the way from Lynn to London [King's Cross] which should relieve overcrowding" but BID is concerned trains will be slowed down by several minutes by holding them in Cambridge towards London and in Littleport towards Lynn. Mr Taylor says: “I welcome the bigger trains but, we need them twice an hour, all day." The newspaper reveals that "BID has contacted North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, county and borough councillors, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and the Fen Line Users’ Association to put pressure on the company not to go ahead with the change, which BID claims could cost the West Norfolk economy up to £35m a year in lost business." A spokesman for Great Northern says: “The wider infrastructure challenges in the region are being addressed through the Ely area task force, led by Elizabeth Truss MP and is jointly made up of Great Northern, Network Rail, FLUA, regional MPs, LEPs and local authority representatives. £8.8 million of funding was confirmed in March for a feasibility study of proposed major infrastructure upgrade works in the region. Our timetable proposals reflect the need for a minor increase in dwell times at stations and to improve performance on the single line tracks between King’s Lynn and Cambridge [the second track was removed during economy cuts made in 1984/5]. Passengers can find out what the changes mean for their journey at transformingrail.com or request paper copies by post. The consultation into the weekday timetables runs until 5pm July 27." [We urge Members to take part in this extremely important consultation - longer journey times are proposed for Fen Line trains (see news items below, dated Monday 3 July 2017 and Monday 26 June 2017). Members are also asked to note that the next issue of The Fenman will now be delayed so that we can devote our attentions to this significant and contentious subject. We will advise a revised publication date in due course].

Thursday 13 July 2017 - "MPs Sir Oliver Heald and Heidi Allen urge constituents to have their say in Great Northern timetable consultation" reports the Royston Crow. "Sir Oliver Heald and Heidi Allen are calling for Great Northern operator Govia Thameslink to rethink plans which will see off-peak fast trains scrapped and increased journey times for commuters from 2018. In the proposals, the fast off-peak services to London will be scrapped adding up to 15 minutes to journeys and no morning peak trains will start at Royston. In the evening off-peak fast services after 7.12pm will no longer stop in the town, instead running fast to Cambridge. Sir Oliver told the Crow: 'I’ve been in contact with constituents about their concerns and I am taking the case on. I’m meeting the rail minister on Monday, and I have met with officials from GTR and made representations to them about a range of issues to do with timetables, which include the changes to the fast service.' ... There are positives, in that Ashwell & Morden station in Odsey will now boast five non-stop trains to London King’s Cross at peak times in the mornings as well as six non-stop trains back in the evening [these will be Ely/King's Lynn trains]. Shepreth, Meldreth and Foxton will now have half-hourly trains throughout the day to both London and Cambridge." [We urge Members to take part in this extremely important consultation - longer journey times are also proposed for Fen Line trains (see news items below, dated Monday 3 July 2017 and Monday 26 June 2017)].

Thursday 13 July 2017 - Heart Radio's Bev Rimmer reports: "Ely And Littleport [station] Car Park Extensions Are Under Way. ... Rail parking in Ely's getting a boost, with at least 120 new spaces being created. Work's started on the long-awaited car park extension, that's expected to be open later in the year. Littleport station's also getting more space, with a further 80 being installed there. This will be fully functional in early 2018. ... [East Cambridgeshire] Council is keen to get more of us commuting by train, to free up major roads like the A10."

Wednesday 12 July 2017 - "What do you think about the plans for development around Cambridge North station? " asks Ben Comber in the Cambridge Independent. "Cambridge's CB4 development gets a roasting from readers" says Chris Elliott in the Cambridge News. Mr Comber reports: "CB1 developer Brookgate has submitted detailed planning applications for the first stage of a joint development with Network Rail around Cambridge North station, with plans for a hotel and office scheme. The new development would be named Cambridge North. It encompasses over 30 acres and would include offices, up to 1000 new homes, a hotel, retail outlets and community uses - with the new rail station and transport interchange providing links to routes for cyclists, pedestrians and bus users". Mr Elliott writes: "Readers of the News have panned plans for the CB4 hotel and business scheme, near the new Cambridge North rail station. They have criticised the architecture of the project, being developed by the same company that revamped the main station area, and called it 'depressing', 'dull' and 'ugly'. The development features a business park, 600,000 sq ft of residential units and student accommodation, as well as a four-star hotel." Both newspapers print artists' impressions of the new city quarter for Cambridge, which is located around the new Cambridge North station. [We are calling for all Kings Lynn-Ely-Kings Cross trains to call at Cambridge North, which is would allow rail access to a significant number of jobs and businesses from Fen Line stations. There are two planning applications, S/2372/17/FL and S/2403/17/FL ].

Wednesday 12 July 2017 - Covering the imminent start of work on the enlargement to Littleport station car park, the Cambridge News reports: "Littleport Station users to welcome car park extension - but not until the new year." In her article, CN reporter Anna Savva says: "The new spaces will cater for commuters living in Littleport. ... Once complete will represent a 200 per cent increase on current available parking space. ... This is the second car park construction project that has been announced by East Cambridgeshire District Council this month to cater for an increase in commuter footfall as the area prepares for an increase of housing stock. Around 11,400 new homes are expected to be built under the authority's Local Plan. The final consultation [on the Local Plan] is expected to take place this summer and a finalised version will be published in the spring."

Tuesday 11 July 2017 - "Start confirmed for large extension to Littleport train station car park" writes Marius West in AboutMyArea today. "Work to increase the parking spaces will begin at Littleport railway station will begin in August, local Councillors have today revealed. The extra 80 spaces, which have been given the green light from the East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning team, represent a 200% increase on current available parking space, and mean that more people can access the main Kings Lynn – London line." East Cambridgeshire Councillor Bill Hunt tells AboutMyArea: “These spaces are much needed and are a significant boost for people who want to use Littleport station to get to work. ... Alongside the extra spaces which are being built at Ely train station, and coupled with the opening of the new Cambridge North railway station, it means that travelling to work by train for people in our District has become much more viable.” District Councillor for Littleport, David Ambrose-Smith, adds: “More car parking spaces being available will have a big impact on the area surrounding the station and will mean people don't have to park at inconvenient and sometimes illegal locations."

Tuesday 11 July 2017 - Cambridgeshire County Council's Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee considers the Proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order today (see news item below, dated Monday 10 April 2017). The County Council is recommended, inter alia, to agree the proposed full response to the draft Order , recommend to Full Council that it approves this response and agree that officers should continue negotiations with Network Rail. [We give a brief summary of the proposed response, Fen Line crossing by crossing - always refer to CCC document - our summary is not definitive]: C35 Ballast Pit - Objection; C28 Black Horse Drove - no Objection found; C01 Chittering - no Objection found; C25 Clayway [Littleport] - Objection, with request for mitigating measures; C24 Cross Keys - Objection, with request for amended route; C34 Fysons - Objection, with request for mitigation measures; C33 Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing)- Objection, with request for meeting with NR; C02 Nairn's No 117 - no Objection found; C04 No 20 [Meldreth]- Objection - safety and diversion grounds; C07 No 37 [Harston] - Objection, greater asset liability for CCC; C26 Poplar Drove - Objection, modifications sought; C03 West River Bridge - Holding Objection, mitigation measures sought; C27 Willow Row/Willow Road - Objection, modifications sought; C31 Littleport station (footpath level crossing) - Holding Objection, with requirement that a traffic impact assessment be provided to enable CCC to undertake necessary analysis, planning permission ref 16/01729/F3M for a new station car park, approved by East Cambridgeshire District Council on 3 March 2017, "obviates need for proposed Traffic Regulation Order [TRO]. This is because, if the planning permission is implemented, the development will provide the safe pedestrian walkway required by CCC for the NR scheme. ... the proposed raised walkway is not a permanent solution to the drainage problem, and positive drainage is required. CCC therefore requests that, if the planning permission is implemented, NR does not implement the TRO, and that NR agrees the drainage solution with CCC before any works commence. CCC requests that this be inserted into Request for Planning Permission as a planning condition." [See news item immediately above, also dated Tuesday 11 July 2017].

Monday 10 July 2017 - "'The issue isn't the trains, it's the number of carriages' Great Northern train debate continues" reports Anna Savva in the Cambridge News. "The new [class 387] carriages have 17 percent less seating and more standing room, which the rail operator says is better for disabled access, but commuters are not happy with having to stand on their morning and evening commutes into the capital. As the newspaper says, there has been a "mixed reaction" to the new trains. Along with several other issues, we are greatly concerned about the lesser seating capacity of the new trains and are calling for the very earliest implementation of Network Rail's Kings Lynn– Cambridge 8-car scheme [the link leads to the June 2017 issue of NR's Enhancement Delivery Plan - page 33 of 189 refers].

Sunday 9 July 2017 - In an article by John Collingridge today, the Sunday Times reports today of a "Network Rail Squeeze" and a "deepening funding crisis at Network Rail." The newspaper reports: "The Department for Transport is finalising plans for Network Rail’s next funding period, from 2019 to 2024, but is only expected to publish an outline of these later this month."

[The Government is required by law to issue its plans for the next funding period (Control Period CP6, 2019-2024) by 20 July. This takes the form of a High Level Output Statement (HLOS) and a Statement of Funds Available (SOFA), also known as the Railways Act Statement. Five years ago, the Government published its HLOS for the current CP5 period, which ends in March 2019. This 2012 Government Statement said in paragraph 45: "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." The Department for Transport's 2012 complementary document 'Illustrative Option schemes in CP5 HLOS' stated on its first page: "[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 ... 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."

[The Government has since specified 'half hourly' services between King's Cross and King's Lynn in its Train Service Requirements dated December 2015 - East Coast Mainline Minimum Service Specification (pages 362-365 of 397). £8.8 million has subsequently been provided by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Strategic Freight Network to undertake studies, currently under way, to permit the Ely Area upgrade scheme to be ready for early implementation in Control Period 6].

We will report on the new HLOS and SOFA (Railways Act Statement), referred to in today's Sunday Times article, as soon as the Government publishes them.

Friday 7 July 2017 -The East West Rail newsletter reports: "Last year the East West Rail Consortium awarded a contract to Atkins Consultants to deliver a Conditional Output Statement (COS) regarding the potential enhancements to the existing rail links between Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich. The railway infrastructure between from Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge is already in place, however, the routes are potentially underused. Sections of single track restricts performance and capacity [as they also do between Littleport and Downham Market and Watlington and Kings Lynn]. The study is the first step of the long term planning process to identify future rail enhancement schemes as options for investment and delivery." The Consortium says: "Keep an eye on eastwestrail.org, Twitter and Facebook over the next few weeks for a summary of the Atkin's report - and of course we'll include an update in the next newsletter."

Thursday 6 July 2017 - "Mixed response to proposed Govia train timetable changes for North Herts and South Cambs Great Northern services" report Bianca Wild & J P Asher in the Royston Crow: "Positives for passengers under the new plan include that Shepreth, Meldreth and Foxton will now have half-hourly trains throughout the day to both London and Cambridge, as opposed to the hourly services they currently have. Chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group Susan van de Ven said: 'For small stations like ours, the introduction of twice-hourly trains is extremely welcome and should make rail travel a very appealing alternative to driving, to the two Cambridge stations, as well as south.' Ashwell & Morden station in Odsey will now boast five non-stop trains to London King’s Cross between 6.29am and 8.29am on weekdays, as well as six non-stop trains back between 4.42pm and 7.12pm – however this has sparked concern for parking at this, and other, smaller stations. " Commuter Edwin Kilby tells the newspaper: "Royston is not doing well out of this. Evening off-peak fast services – the sorts of trains you take if you have been to London for an evening out – will no longer stop here, instead running fast to Cambridge. We’ll also have to settle for semi-fast trains adding nearly 15 minutes to journeys. Royston is an expanding town with lots of leisure train users and this isn’t the first time train companies have tried to treat it as an unimportant backwater which gets in the way of the Cambridge express. If Royston loses its fast services it will never get them back, and it could be the thin end of the wedge for peak trains too.” [GTR's consultation, including proposed trains times for all Great Northern services including the GN Mainline Route GN1 (King's Cross-Cambridge-King's Lynn 'Cambridge Express'), runs until 1700 on Thursday 27 July 2017 (see news item below, dated Monday 26 June 2017].

Wednesday 5 July 2017 - "Cambridge North station aims to improve both connectivity and journey times, and support regeneration and development. ... District and city authorities are using the station development as a catalyst for the development of a 34 hectare brownfield site (former railway engineering depot) with a new office development supporting in the region of 25,000 jobs, around 630 residential units and five hectares of new green space" reports 'Expanding the Railways' - a report launched today by the Campaign for Better Transport. The report is produced jointly with national rail campaigning organisation Railfuture and with support from the Department of Transport. The document is aimed at helping local authorities, developers and communities develop plans for adding new stations and lines to the network. In the section 'Supporting the economy' it highlights "Cambridgeshire County Council’s plan for a new station adjacent to Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the bio-medical campus, which are major generators of journeys in the Cambridge area." [We support "stopping where the jobs are" and are specifically looking for all Fen Line trains to stop at Cambridge North and at the mooted Cambridge South stations].

Monday 3 July 2017 - "Work has begun on the creation of more than 120 car parking spots in Ely, local councillors have announced" reports the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce. The new car park is due to open later this year. The Chambers of Commerce go on to say: "The site, which is approximately one acre in size, is located near the old ‘Strikes’ bowling alley. The car park will continue the Angel Drove pricing policy where users are charged a much lower fee than in the rail station car park. The new car park will be linked to the Angel Drove car park by a proper all weather lit path suitable for buggies and wheelchairs etc." Cllr Bill Hunt, Chair of the East Cambridgeshire District Council Asset Development committee tells the Chambers: "“The extra spaces will have a positive impact for commuters but it will also help reduce congestion on the A10 and improve traffic flow by removing cars from using local roads. Coupled with the opening of the new Cambridge North railway station, it means that travelling to work by train for people in our district has become much more viable." Vice Chair of ECDC Asset Development committee, Cllr Lisa Stubbs adds: “We want to encourage more people to use rail as a way of getting to and from work so this will go a long way towards this. It also means more people can work in the hustle and bustle of Cambridge but can live in the quieter and somewhat cheaper suburbs without having too much of a commute."

Monday 3 July 2017 - In today's Cambridge News, Chris Elliott reports: "More than 21,000 people have travelled through Cambridge North already, Greater Anglia says: Issues including lack of shops are being tackled, rail operator pledges. ... Trains began running through the new £50 million station on Sunday May 21, and since then 42,000 tickets have been sold. Train services run by Greater Anglia and Great Northern from King's Lynn, London, Ely and Norwich are all using the station, which has three platforms." A Greater Anglia spokeswoman tells the newspaper: "Since Cambridge North opened there have been at least 21,000 people use the station - with 42,000 passenger journeys. This figure is just the number of tickets either issued to or from Cambridge North. However, the actual figure of people using the station is higher than this because we know people have been either breaking their journey or travelling to Cambridge North with a Cambridge ticket or an Anglia Rover ticket." The spokeswoman also says: "There have been some snagging issues, which we are working to resolve as quickly as possible with relevant suppliers and partners. While contracts are finalised for the coffee shop and shop we have a temporary coffee vendor at the station, which has been well received."

Monday 3 July 2017 - We have produced a document 'Fen Line PROPOSED 2018 Great Northern (GN) timetable Mondays to Fridays' and placed this in the Members' section. This sets out a summary and analysis of the King's Lynn-King's Cross services proposed for 2018 by GTR in their Phase 2 2018 Thameslink timetable consultation, which ends at 1700 on Thursday 27 July 2017 (see news item below, dated Monday 26 June 2017). Many of these GN services are proposed to serve Cambridge North. Please note that although Thameslink services to/from Brighton/Maidstone East are proposed to/from Cambridge, there are no proposals in the consultation for Thameslink cross-London services to serve Cambridge North or stations further north.

Friday 30 June 2017 - Network Rail publishes its CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan: Update June 2017. Projects include: Thameslink (page 7), Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement (page 26), Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade (page 27), Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car (page 33), Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - East Coast Capability (page 60), Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - East Coast Power Supply Upgrade (page 62), ECML Traction Power Supply Upgrade (page 64), Gordon Hill Turnback (page 65), Stevenage Turnback (page 66), East Coast Connectivity Fund (page 133), Cambridge North New Station (page 155) and Ely to Soham Doubling (page 161).

Wednesday 28 June 2017 - Stagecoach Group plc, which owns 90% of the Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) franchise, reports in its Preliminary Results y/e 29 April 2017 that VTEC is making a loss. VTEC runs long distance trains from Kings Cross to places such as Leeds and Edinburgh over the same East Coast Main Line (ECML) tracks as GTR's Kings Cross-Kings Lynn trains (which turn off the ECML at Hitchin). Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths says: "“We are engaged in discussions with the Department for Transport regarding our respective contractual rights and obligations under the current Virgin Trains East Coast franchise and reflecting the reprioritisation of Network Rail's infrastructure programme [page 2 of 40]." NR infrastructure upgrades on relevant parts of the ECML and their timing could have considerable significance for GTR operations.

Wednesday 28 June 2017 - The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority agrees to commission the transport studies recommended to it in the Agenda papers dated Thursday 22 June 2017 (see news item of that date, below).

Wednesday 28 June 2017 - "Govia Thameslink Railway reveals plans to improve services for passengers across the South East" says GTR, describing its 2018 timetable proposals. GTR's Great Northern highlights include: "New direct services from Cambridge and Peterborough to Gatwick Airport and beyond; Creates additional direct links to Maidstone from Cambridge; Double the number of Peterborough semi-fast and Cambridge semi-fast and stopping off-peak services; Doubling length of trains between King’s Lynn and Cambridge subject to Network Rail improvements."

Monday 26 June 2017 - GTR says: "The biggest overhaul of the rail service since the swinging sixties, over £6bn of investment and three years of preparation are coming to a head. May 2018 will see the launch of an entirely new rail service" as it publishes Phase 2 of the 2018 Thameslink timetable consultation, which includes the proposed 2018 King's Lynn-King's Cross timetable [N.B. Mondays to Fridays, and GTR trains only, necessarily excluding Greater Anglia and CrossCountry services which operate over the Fen Line] on the 'transformingrail.com' website. The consultation runs until 1700 on Thursday 27 July 2017.

The main GTR consultation document [page 37 of 38] covers "Great Northern Mainline Route GN1 (Kings Lynn and Cambridge):

"Kings Lynn-Ely-Cambridge-London Kings Cross

"Serving: Kings Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Waterbeach (one train per hour off peak only), Cambridge North, Cambridge and London Kings Cross.

"Some Monday to Friday peak trains may call at Royston."

GTR states for Kings Lynn-Kings Cross: "No major changes - however times of trains will change. From late 2018 following completion of infrastructure works by Network Rail many trains will be doubled in length from four to eight carriages providing much needed capacity improvements on the route."

In the main GTR consultation document [page 36 of 38] GTR also says: "We propose to improve the frequency and quality of Great Northern and Thameslink trains between Kings Lynn, Ely, Cambridge, Peterborough and London on the route to meet high passenger demand, to encourage and stimulate economic growth throughout the East Anglia region."

The main GTR consultation document further states [page 34 of 38]:

"Kings Lynn, Ely and Cambridge (fast) to London: between Ely and London Kings Cross the frequency of the Monday to Friday and Saturday off peak trains will double from 1tph to 2tph (this will apply from May 2017). Until infrastructure works are completed at Ely North Junction we are unable to increase the frequency of Kings Lynn trains as previously expected.

"From May 2017 these trains also serve the new Cambridge North station (currently once per hour).

"Network Rail is currently developing plans that will enable trains between Cambridge and Kings Lynn to operate in eight car formations proving a much needed doubling of capacity through a programme of platform extensions, power and level crossing upgrades. We will keep local stakeholders informed with the progress of this Network Rail scheme and when this will be delivered.

"The trains on this route are being replaced by modern, air conditioned, Class 387 trains which were built in 2014 and were previously operating on the Thameslink route.

"From May 2018, we propose that two trains per hour will serve Cambridge North providing fast direct trains to London Kings Cross."

We intend to collate a detailed summary and analysis of the proposed changes for Members and to publish this in the Member's section as soon as possible. We also will discuss the proposals in The Fenman issue 2017/2, which we intend to publish in mid July. Given the short timescales involved (four and a half weeks), there is insufficient time for us to consult fully with Members in the normal way - we would therefore welcome early feedback from Members. We also urge Members to make their own direct responses to the GTR consultation and send us a copy of their responses and any replies received. GTR says the best way to start a conversation with the project team is by using this email address:

gtrtimetableconsultation@gtrailway.com

Written correspondence can be sent to:

GTR 2018 Timetable Consultation
East Side Offices, Kings Cross Station
London N1C 4AP

The consultation runs until 1700 on Thursday 27 July 2017.

Thursday 22 June 2017 - The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority publishes today the Agenda for its meeting to be held on Wednesday 28 June 2017. Item 2.2 (pages 90-135) covers the Interim Local Transport Plan and Item 2.3 (pages 136-178) covers Strategic Transport Infrastructure Schemes. The Interim Local Transport Plan (page 94ff) includes the A142 Ely Southern Bypass, new rail rolling stock, lobbying for rail passenger infrastructure and service improvements, Cambridge North station, and the A10 Foxton level crossing. The report on Strategic Transport and Infrastructure Schemes (page 136ff) seeks approval for commissioning studies on A47 dualling; A47 extension to the M11 (taking into account current studies into the A10 between Cambridge and Kings Lynn, Waterbeach Barracks [new town] including relocation of Waterbeach station, Cambridge South station, and Foxton level crossing); and Wisbech Garden Town. The studies would be made in the context of "current and future rail capacity on the Peterborough-March-Ely-Cambridge and on the Kings Lynn-Downham Market-Ely-Cambridge-London route and [also] proposals to reopen the railway between Wisbech and March, and run rail services between Wisbech and Cambridge [page 157]." Page 165 states: "From 2018, Great Northern trains between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge will double in frequency from hourly to half-hourly [sic] and be formed of eight carriages per train rather than the current four. This will alleviate current crowding on services, and provide a viable alternative for more trips between Kings Lynn, Ely and Cambridge for more people compared to the private car. All of these services will stop at both Waterbeach and Cambridge North."

Thursday 22 June 2017 - " Calls for clarity on Crossrail 2 amid claims Cambridge's future could depend on it:" reports Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News. Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner "wants clarification on the government's position on Crossrail 2." The newspaper says: "Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner says it is vital improvements are made under the scheme, which would see greater capacity on the Liverpool Street line with the building of more tracks. This would allow express trains to easily overtake slower services, and would mean more trains could use the line. Although Crossrail 2 would not change infrastructure in Cambridge itself, Mr Zeichner said [at a conference yesterday] it would open up the lines between the city and London, meaning more people could travel, more quickly, between the two cities." Cambridgeshire & Peterborough mayor James Palmer tells the Cambridge News: "I have a meeting planned with the director of Crossrail 2, we need to sit down and talk about what we can do. I have got big ambitions to increase the number of trains on the line.”

Thursday 22 June 2017 - The government publishes the Gibb Report into changes recommended to improve the performance of the Southern Railway. There is content within this which is of relevance to Great Northern's King's Lynn-King's Cross route and others. Mr Gibb's report is dated Friday 30 December 2016. A summary of his recommendations can be found at page 163. The report covers, amongst much useful background information: stabling at Cambridge (page 11 of 163); station dwell times (page 14 of 163); number of services, 'firebreaks' in services to permit service recovery, and reduction of splitting/joining en route (pages 19-20 of 163); maximum 30 tph capacity of the Thameslink core with Automatic Train Operation (page 20 of 163); future of the GTR franchise (page 22 of 163); level crossing closures (page 24 of 163); Great Northern services (page 50 of 163); and future pricing and capacity use strategy between Peterborough/King's Lynn/Cambridge and London (page 75 of 163). Also published today is the Government response to the Gibb Report, in which Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says: "Work is already underway to deliver on the recommendations of the report. For example, in January 2017, I announced £300 million for Network Rail to improve rail infrastructure and resilience along the Southern and Thameslink rail networks. This will underpin the delivery of the Thameslink Programme, and the major region-wide connectivity it will bring. GTR’s public consultation on the Thameslink timetable is about to enter its next phase, we look forward to hearing people’s views and ideas on service timing and frequency. Chris Gibb also recommended setting up a Thameslink Industry Readiness Board, which we did in January this year, with him as chair. Their role is to independently review, direct and challenge the industry programme delivering Thameslink 2018. Further work and assessment is needed from industry on a small number of Chris Gibb’s recommendations. This reflects the fact that his role was never to set out detailed business cases for particular initiatives, or determine the impacts on public spending." He also says: "In many respects, Chris Gibb’s advice aligns with the direction I want the industry to take as rail travel increases." The London Reconnections website has an useful commentary, 'How Can You Mend A Broken Railway? Thameslink and the Gibb Report'

Wednesday 21 June 2017 - The Greater Cambridge City Deal sets out a refreshed vision for how it will "accelerate the building of thousands of new homes and jobs and create a fit-for-the-future transport network." The Greater Cambridge City Deal partnership, which will shortly become known as the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), also says: "Greater Cambridge remains one of only a handful of city regions to makes a net contribution to the UK economy but - with the population set to rise by 30% over the coming years – the cost of housing, traffic congestion and pollution will get worse if no action is taken. ... [The Partnership] will use its collective voice to influence national transport agencies and service providers to bring earlier benefits – including a third rail station for Cambridge near Addenbrooke’s [Cambridge South]."

In our document 'Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains' we call for:

Stopping where the jobs are - Make all Fen Line trains call at Cambridge North from May 2017 [this is currently not the case but Network Rail's Kings Lynn– Cambridge 8-car scheme - see page 33 of 189 in the June 2017 issue of NR's Enhancement Delivery Plan - is aimed at delivering this] and speed up a Cambridge Biomedical Campus station (Cambridge South).

Dealing with the crowds - Run 8-car Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains (maintaining existing stopping patterns where appropriate) in the morning and evening peaks (i.e. in both the London peaks and the Cambridge peaks) ASAP.

Removing those remaining fragile connections at Cambridge by running all our trains direct to King’s Cross. [The May 2017 timetable has made this situation even worse - the 0517 King's Lynn-Liverpool Street arrives in Cambridge platform 1 at 0610, commuters run along the platforms and over the footbridge to catch the retimed 0614 (previously 0615) Cambridge-King's Cross from platform 8]. Fill the big gap in the afternoon high peak at Cambridge with a King’s Lynn train leaving Cambridge about 1710-1715 and extend the 1714 King’s Cross-Ely to King’s Lynn.

Wednesday 21 June 2017 - "New warning system improves safety at level crossings in Cambridgeshire" says Network Rail. "The system has been installed at footpath level crossings where the user is required to stop, look and listen for a train before crossing. When a person arrives at the crossing and a train is approaching, the system reproduces the sound of a train horn. This is an additional warning to complement the real train horn on its approach." NR states that the new warning system has between installed at Clayway foot crossing, Littleport; this is one of the crossings included in the proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire) Level Crossing Reduction Order (see news item below, dated Monday 10 April 2017).

Tuesday 20 June 2017 - "ANOTHER new Cambridge train station could be here within four years" reports Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News today. "Another new railway station could be a matter of years away as the region’s new mayor says he hopes to see results during his term in office. Following the opening of Cambridge North station in May, people are already looking at future rail options, with hopes that a new railway station at Addenbrooke’s hospital will soon be completed." James Palmer, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, tells the newspaper: "I am very impatient, and I have got meetings lined up with the Secretary of State, and with Network Rail, and I will be pushing for Cambridge South. All these rail upgrades need to be sorted. We have got a growing economy, and it’s important to encourage it."

Wednesday 14 June 2017 - Today's GTR Annual Stakeholder Conference covers a range of significant issues (the conference link is in the Members' section). In particular, we highlight the statement that there must be ("what we still need to do together"- page 28 of 162) the "development of one controlling mind on [Network Rail's] SE/LNE and Anglia routes". We called for "a single franchisee/Network Rail alliance, or similar, along an entire service length" in FLUA's response to the DfT's consultations on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise and on the Intercity East Coast franchise [reply to Q1] (see news item below, dated Friday 3 August 2012). We pointed out that the King's Lynn-King's Cross service crosses a administrative boundary between NR's Anglia and LNE 'Routes' and that we consider "unified management of train and track would be in the interests of passengers: operationally when things go wrong and managerially when planning and implementing service and infrastructure upgrades". The statement regarding the necessity of developing 'one controlling mind' made today (which also takes into account the complexities of am additional, third NR route [SE] being involved when Thameslink trains start to run to/from Cambridge in 2018) reflects our concerns.

Friday 9 June 2017 - Network Rail publishes its Railway Upgrade Plan 2017/8, saying: "We have one of the most heavily congested railways in Europe. Stations and platforms have to accommodate more passengers than they were ever designed for. Parts of the network have no room to run the extra trains that are needed to meet demand. Here you can find out about the major projects we will be completing in the year ahead that will start to address some of these challenges and allow for more trains, longer trains and faster journeys in different parts of Britain." Please note that the 'Our routes [administrative areas] at a glance' listing on page 08 is incorrect: the Govia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern) King's Lynn-King's Cross Fen Line service operates on NR's Anglia Route and London North Eastern and East Midlands (LNE&EM) Route - as do other GTR services. The diagram on page 08, which shows Govia Thameslink Railway as operating on NR's South East Route and no other does not show the true situation. Also published are Railway Upgrade Plan - Anglia and Railway Upgrade Plan - London North Eastern and East Midlands; Kings Lynn-Cambridge-Kings Cross services run in both of these two NR Routes (areas). The proposed Cambridge-Brighton and Cambridge-Maidstone services, due to start operating in 2018, will run in NR's Anglia, London North Eastern & East Midlands and South East Routes (areas); the Railway Upgrade Plan - South East has been published as well. [Govia Thameslink Railway has since stressed the need for the "development of one controlling mind on [Network Rail's] SE/LNE and Anglia routes" - something necessary in the light of the need to integrate Great Northern and Thameslink service operations (see news item above, dated Wednesday 14 June 2017)].

Monday 5 June 2017 - "Cambridge North station – how many people are using it?" asks Jasmine Watkiss in the Cambridge News. "Some people have felt the station is strangely empty since it opened officially just under two weeks ago ... The number of passengers that used Cambridge North in the first week of operation was around 4,200, according to Greater Anglia. A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: 'This number is based on data where the start or end station on customers' tickets was Cambridge North. This means the figure does not take into account any breaks in a journey where people got off one train and changed to a different one, or where passengers with tickets to Cambridge have instead used Cambridge North. We need at least three months' worth of data to really understand usage of the station.'" The newspaper conducted its own survey on Thursday 1 June (half term) and 351 people used the station between 0700 and 0900, the Cambridge News remarking: "A few passengers on the day had replaced their lengthy commute on the A10 with hopping on a train to Cambridge North from Ely, and others were using Cambridge North as it is so close to the Science Park, where they worked." [We are pressing for the earliest implementation of Network Rail's King's Lynn-Cambridge 8-car scheme (page 34 of linked document), which, by doubling the number of seats per train, will permit currently overcrowded Fen Line trains to stop at Cambridge North. This will enable commuters and business users from Kings Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport and Waterbeach to access the new Cambridge North station].

Friday 2 June 2017 - Rachel McMenemy writes "Great Northern accused of carriage changes that pack people in even tighter on trains" in the Cambridge News. "New trains from Great Northern, running at the new Cambridge North station, have been accused of having reduced seating that means people are crammed in and standing on journeys. Great Northern has replaced old 365 class trains with newer 387 class which have been in operation for two years on the Thameslink route. The trains have fewer seats to make them compatible with safety regulations which require the seats to be further away from bulkheads than on older trains." A Great Northern spokesman tells the newspaper that the additional services between King's Cross and Ely [these are the services which will run to/from Kings Lynn when the committed 'half-hourly' service is introduced] provide more than 3,300 additional seats a day and that "Network Rail is also working towards completing upgrades by the end of next year which would let Great Northern double the length of trains from King’s Lynn to eight carriages - producing another large increase in seats for passengers on this route." [We understand that the class 365 train has 263 seats in a 4-car train and that the new class 387/1 train, which runs between Kings Lynn and Kings Cross, has 223 seats. Please see notes at foot of news item below, dated Tuesday 30 May 2017].

Tuesday 30 May 2017 - "Train company defends what one commuter has described as 'hell' for the Ely to King’s Cross journey" writes Kath Samson in the Ely Standard. Commuter Jamie King tells the newspaper: "I have lived in Soham since 1998 and have commuted via Ely station, mainly to London ever since. I have never known such awful journeys. I can’t imagine the people who inflicted this atrocious service on us actually use trains themselves, because if they did they wouldn’t be trumpeting announcements about a so-called improved service. ... Any regular commuter who has endured a rush hour journey between Kings Cross and Ely this week will intuitively know there are fewer seats, simply based on the miserable, crowded journeys they’ve experienced. ... I believe dissatisfaction is widespread. Fellow commuters are being done a huge disservice by recent changes. I pity those who travel from further afield, such as Littleport, Downham Market and Kings Lynn." A Great Northern spokesperson tells the Ely Standard: “We are sorry to hear a reader is unhappy with our new trains, especially as we have received some very positive feedback since their introduction on the route on May 22. ... With the opening of the new route to Cambridge North station, Ely now has a half hourly Great Northern service in each direction all day, which adds over 3,300 more seats across the day (40 per cent more) by doubling the frequency in the off-peak and plugging service gaps at this station in the peak. Network Rail is also working towards completing upgrades by the end of next year which would let Great Northern double the length of trains from King’s Lynn to eight carriages - producing another large increase in seats for passengers on this route.” [The Eversholt class 365 datasheet shows 263 seats in a 100 mph 4-car class 365 unit ('old' train). This varies slightly in practice. The Porterbrook class 387 brochure shows 219 seats in a 110 mph 4-car class 387/1 unit ('new' train), though the trains are labelled as having 223 seats. We continue to press for the earliest implementation of the King's Lynn-Cambridge 8-car scheme [page 34], which, as well as doubling the number of seats per train (446 in an 8-car class 387/1 train) will permit currently overcrowded Fen Line trains to stop at the new Cambridge North station. The 125/140 mph type 3 Super Express Trains for the Fen Line proposed under the Government's Intercity Express Programme - see our document Kings Cross-Kings Lynn 100 miles of route, 20 years of planning - would have had 351 seats per 5-car unit; the carriages would have been longer so that a 5 car Super Express Train would have been equivalent in length to a 6 car class 387/1 or 365 unit].

Friday 26 May 2017 - " New look trains at Lynn" reports 'yourlocalpaper'. The newspaper says: "Network Rail is working towards completing upgrades by the end of next year which would allow Great Northern to double the length of trains from Lynn to eight carriages. This would then allow these trains to stop at Cambridge North."

Thursday 25 May 2017 - "Software update needed: Door-opening problem on Cambridge North trains. Rail bosses say software needs updating" is the headline of Chris Elliott's Cambridge News article. "A rail passenger says the doors on a train he was travelling on did not open when it pulled into the new Cambridge North station. Adrian Stevens tweeted: 'Trains not opening doors at new #cambridgeNorth. Class 387 GPS software doesn't like the station!' Train operator Great Northern has admitted software needs to be updated, but has added that there is no need for each door to be opened singly and manually. The company said the software allows trains to work out where they are, and this has to happen before the doors can be opened." [We have been receiving news from Members about issues with the new trains and are aware that the door opening issue is not restricted to Cambridge North. We invite Members to continue to send your comments to add to our own observations].

Thursday 25 May 2017 - "Is it quicker to get to London from Waterbeach or Cambridge North?" Ciaran Gold says in the Cambridge News that "a regular train user has suggested travelling from the new Cambridge station may take longer." GN spokesman Roger Perkins tells the newspaper: "Which station gets you into London faster depends on what time passengers are travelling during the hour. From Cambridge North, we have two direct trains an hour to London King's Cross. One runs non-stop from Cambridge and takes just 54 or 57 minutes. The other is a stopping service, that takes 1 hour 33 minutes. Therefore, it may be quicker at some points in the hour to take a Greater Anglia train from Cambridge North to Cambridge to pick up the second fast train an hour to King's Cross, which comes from Waterbeach. A simple search on the National Rail Enquiries journey planner shows the different options to make it easy for passengers to decide what they want to do." The article points out that journeys from Waterbeach may be quicker at certain times. Mr Perkins goes on to tell the Cambridge News: "Why can't the Waterbeach trains stop at Cambridge North ? This was reported in the Cambridge News a couple of weeks ago: it's because these trains are currently only four carriages long and do not have the capacity to cope with the additional numbers of passengers who would use them to get to the new station. We can't run anything longer because the trains come from King's Lynn and stop at Littleport, Watlington and Waterbeach itself, which don't have platforms long enough for eight carriage trains. Network Rail is working on making changes that would allow us to double the length of these trains and they're working towards a date of December 2018 to do this."

Tuesday 23 May 2017 - Three full pages of today's Cambridge News, as well as the front page, are devoted to a Cambridge North special. The main article is headlined "How new station offers northern delights - Cambridge North opened to commuters yesterday - Tom Pilgrim went to try it out by taking a trip to King's Lynn" [pages 4 and 5]. "The four carriage 7.37 Great Northern service to King's Lynn pulls in and I jump on. I ride in one of the train operator's new fleet of modern trains. Great Northern plans to replace three quarters of its fleet by 2020. The trains, which have already been running between Cambridge and London for some months, are now being rolled out on services up towards King's Lynn. ... Govia Thameslink Railway infrastructure director, Keith Jipps, later tells me that the model runs more efficiently than older trains, citing their greater acceleration and a shorter braking requirements. ... A smooth journey mean we reach King's Lynn at 8.20 and there's enough time to grab a bacon buttie and coffee at the station café before heading back south. ... A group of local dignitaries gather in front of the 9.30am service to mark the rolling out of the new trains and extra services from Great Northern. King's Lynn and West Norfolk mayor, Cllr Carol Bower, tells the crowd: 'I really am very pleased that Great Northern and the users group have worked so closely together and this is a very happy outcome.' Two trains an hour from King's Cross will call at Cambridge North, but only four trains a day will run between King's Lynn and the new station because of track congestion and village platform length. Keith Jipps explains that Great Northern is working with Network Rail to extend platforms along the Fen Line route to accommodate eight car trains. Upgrades to Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth [south of Cambridge] are expected to be complete by May 2018, with Waterbeach, Watlington and Littleport following suit in December 2018. 'It's not ideal no,' says Keith, 'But it's really the platform lengths that are stopping us being able to do that.' ... On the return trip to Cambridge North I'm allowed to pop into the front cabin and meet driver Derek who tells me the new trains are "more comfortable". Whizzing along the tracks at a maximum of 90 miles per hour is an exhilarating sight and before long we are back to join a throng of reporters at Cambridge North. Jamie Burles, managing director of Greater Anglia, the other operator running services to Cambridge North, greets Keith with a firm handshake off the train."

Tuesday 23 May 2017 - "Commuters celebrate 'fabulous' new station" is the headline of today's Cambridge News, which goes on to say: "Passengers praise its 'stunning design' - cyclists welcome 1,000 bike parking spaces - but, travellers could be caught short, says rail user. "Brand new jobs available around the corner from Cambridge North Station - and you can apply right now" - the Cambridge News details some of the jobs which are now accessible by rail.

Tuesday 23 May 2017 - "Campaigners hail new trains on Fen Line" writes Allister Webb in the Lynn News, "Improved rail link unveiled as new Cambridge station opens. ... Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users Association, described the launch as a 'splendid day' for passengers in the area. He said: 'It's the beginning of a new era.'" Great Northern's Infrastructure Director tells the paper that: "the new trains were designed to make up time is they are delayed on route and are intended to provide a more consistent service to passengers." [The new 387 trains have greater acceleration/deceleration than the old ones and are capable of running at 110mph - that part of the Kings Lynn-Kings Cross route which is south of Hitchin is largely designed for 125 mph running]. The newspaper also says that Mr Jipps "paid tribute to FLUA for their work to lobby for improvements to the line, saying they had been 'instrumental' to the progress so far." Borough mayor Carol Bower tells the Lynn News [full page story on page 6] "We hope it will encourage greater investment in the whole borough. This is really needed for us to be really vibrant and we know it." The Lynn News, News Editor comments: "An improvement but more needed. ... while the promise of [forthcoming] free Wi-fi will also make it more tempting to let the train take the strain, the biggest problem faced by commuters in this area, the lack of seating capacity still needs to be properly resolved.... The challenge for those recently elected, and those seeking election, is to make the industry deliver."

Tuesday 23 May 2017 - "Great Northern completes refurb of Fen Line Class 387s" reports Rail Technology Magazine. "Great Northern has now replaced all the trains running between King’s Lynn and Cambridge with more modern, air conditioned carriages. The news comes a day after the new Cambridge North station was opened, which will serve both Great Northern and Greater Anglia services for the region. Previously, 22-year-old trains ran along the line but today marks the operator completing refurbishing the whole fleet of Class 387 and Class 365 trains that service the route. On top of that, Great Northern has also doubled services at Ely station and introduced a twice-hourly service between London King’s Cross and the new station at Cambridge North."

Monday 22 May 2017 - "Cambridge looks ahead to another new train station at Addenbrooke's Hospital. Cambridge North took a long time to deliver, but there are hopes a new railway station in the south of the city could be completed more quickly" writes Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News. "Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, welcomed the opening of the new station and reaffirmed his desire to see another one open in the south of the city.... He said he is hopeful the new station will not take as long to deliver as Cambridge North, but noted that having to put in additional tracks would complicate the project. He added: 'We are determined that Cambridge South station will be delivered quickly. There has already been a lot of work done but, if it needs four tracks, it could take longer. There has been a great offer of private financing. The plan for the biomedical campus proposes 25,000 new jobs when it is complete. This will generate a lot of trips and there will also be bigger links between the north and the south because that’s where our main research hubs are' .... The Department for Transport has previously said they are working closely with Cambridgeshire County Council and said they would deliver improvements, including a new railway station at Addenbrooke’s, 'as soon as we can'."

Monday 22 May 2017 - "Landmark day for city as commuters begin using new Cambridge North railway station. The £50 million Cambridge station was 30 years in the making" reports Tom Pilgrim in the Cambridge News. "The station will support commuters heading to the business and science parks and those travelling from communities and villages to the north of the city. First mooted in the late 1980s, the station was due to open in December 2015, but this was pushed back on successive occasions. ... Coinciding with the opening of Cambridge North, Great Northern has launched a new fleet of air-conditioned trains on its Cambridge to King's Lynn services, that will feature free wi-fi in the coming months. It has also increased its Cambridge to Ely services to regular half hourly trains all day."

Monday 22 May 2017 - "East Anglia’s newest railway station now open" reports the Cambridge Network. Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, says: “This is great news for Greater Anglia and for Cambridge. The existing station at Cambridge is one of our busiest stations. This station should relieve some of the pressure on it. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Cambridge station to Cambridge North, but just six minutes by train, so it should be a great boost to people commuting to work in the science park, or for people commuting from northern suburbs or villages. It’s a fantastic design, incorporating Cambridge’s innovative heritage, and one of the most environmentally-friendly stations on the network. Cambridge is a thriving city and this station will help to make rail travel even more attractive, as well as supporting the continued growth of the local economy.” Bob Menzies, service director strategy and development for Cambridgeshire County Council, says: “We developed a design in partnership with Network Rail that integrated all the local transport into the new station. We very much see it as an integrated transport hub. It had to function well as a railway station, be reasonably economical to build but also resonate with Cambridge. I think that it will come to be a bit of a landmark.”

Monday 22 May 2017 - Radio station KLFM96.7 reports "Increased capacity for West Norfolk trains ... Newer, modern air-conditioned trains have started serving West Norfolk. Great Northern introduced the replacement carriages on the King's Lynn-Cambridge Fen Line when the new summer timetable came in on Sunday." Great Northern's Passenger Services Director Stuart Cheshire says: "Network Rail is working towards upgrading power supplies and lengthening platforms by the end of next year, at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach, which would let us double the length of these trains to eight carriages to increase capacity for passengers."

Monday 22 May 2017 - "LIVE: 'We've needed this for years' - rail users delighted with new Cambridge North station" writes Steven Bevan, as the Cambridge News runs a special live feature from the new Cambridge North station today. Significant points include:

0902 Reporter Chris Elliott says: "It is amazing really. There is a party atmosphere and I think it is pretty good. There is a lot of interest, but people are still a bit concerned that the trains are not long enough. Some people are telling me they thought there would be more room. At least they’ve got the station sorted, but there is no coffee. They say they will open a coffee shop but it won’t be straight away. It could be July. Greater Anglia [the company which operates the station] are being very nice and local software company Redgate is here giving out goody bags."

0955 Keith Jipps, from Govia Thameslink Railway, says: "the trains’ [110 mph class 387 trains are now operating between King's Lynn and King's Cross via Cambridge] greater acceleration & braking allows for more reliable timetables."

1000:"Great Northern will now have a half hourly service from Cambridge to Ely all day. That’s over 3,300 extra seats a day." "Only 4 Great Northern trains a day will run from King’s Lynn to Cambridge North due to congestion and short platforms at other stations."

1007 "Keith Jipps, from Great Northern, says more services to Cambridge North can run once Waterbeach etc. platforms are extended by Dec 2018."

1011: "Cambridge South next? Warnings it'll be a complex project."

1203 'Total game changer' - ... The new Cambridge North railway station opened to commuters for the first time today (May 22) after taking its first passengers yesterday - and people are already loving it. [Cambridge News] Readers have been voicing their approval this morning - with one calling it a ‘total game changer’."

Monday 22 May 2017 - "It's great for Cambridge obviously, great for our passengers and, of course, another great first for Greater Anglia" says GA's Managing Director Jamie Burles in Greater Anglia's youtube video, which also shows passengers talking enthusiastically about the new station.

Monday 22 May 2017 - "Modern air-conditioned trains take over King’s Lynn route as Great Northern services are doubled at Ely... Great Northern, run by Govia Thameslink Railway, today replaced all the trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge with modern, air-conditioned carriages, just in time for summer. And in the next few months, passengers will be able to log on to free Wi-Fi. At the same time, Great Northern doubled the service at Ely station and introduced a twice-hourly service between London King’s Cross and the new station at Cambridge North." Great Northern's statement says: "One of the Cambridge North trains will continue on to Ely, giving Ely a half hourly Great Northern service in each direction all day, which adds over 3,300 more seats across the day (40% more) by doubling the frequency in the off-peak and plugging service gaps at this station in the peak." Keith Jipps, Great Northern's Infrastructure Director adds: "This should ease crowding on the King's Lynn services which will be a real boon for our passengers.” GN's statement also points out: "Network Rail is working towards completing upgrades by the end of next year which would let Great Northern double the length of trains from King’s Lynn to eight carriages. This would then allow these trains to stop at Cambridge North."

Sunday 21 May 2017 - The Cambridge Independent's Adrian Curtis writes: "Cambridge North railway station finally opens ... Built at a cost of £44million, the facilities include a 450 sq m (4,800sq ft) station, comprising a passenger waiting area, toilets, ticket office, retail and amenity space, and staff accommodation. ... A bridge links the station building with the two 254m (833ft) platforms, each capable of accommodating 12-car trains. The easternmost platform faces the up line of the Fen Line, while the second platform is an island platform with the down Fen Line on one side and a south-facing bay platform on the other. In the morning rush hour, there will be four trains an hour to London: three to King’s Cross and one to Liverpool Street. In the opposite direction, there will be two trains an hour to Ely and one continuing onto Norwich. Thameslink is proposing that Great Northern services between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn will call at the station from May next year. This will provide an additional fast service to London and regular connections to Waterbeach and Downham Market."

Sunday 21 May 2017 - A further new era for the Fen Line starts today. " Delayed £50m Cambridge North railway station opens" reports the BBC. " LIVE: Passengers board the first train at Cambridge North Station " says Helen Frame of the Cambridge News. "Rail users get first taste of new Cambridge station" reports Matthew Hudson for ITV.

Saturday 20 May 2017 - A new era opens - Norfolk's (but not Cambridgeshire's) fastest trains start to take up Fen Line duties. 110mph class 387 units nos 108 and 106 operate the 1814 King's Lynn-King's Cross service this evening - the first of the new trains to run on the Fen Line north of Ely in normal passenger service.

Saturday 20 May 2017 - "RLW Estates - New Town Update" is the headline of an article in the latest edition of Beach News, published by Waterbeach Community Association [page 32]. The article reports that, following RLW Estates exhibition at Waterbeach held on Saturday 22 April, 43% of those surveyed by RLW Estates 'strongly agreed' and 26.3% 'agreed' with the statement "A new relocated Waterbeach station with facilities is needed."

Friday 19 May 2017 - " Multi-million pound Cambridge North station poised for official opening " reports ITV News: "A brand new train station is opening in Cambridge North on Sunday [21 May 2017]... It's great news for those wishing to travel between the city centre and Cambridge science and business parks, or the suburbs and villages to the North of Cambridge, as they will no longer have to make the half hour drive, as it'll be only 6 minutes by rail now." The Cambridge News asks: "Trying to work out if Cambridge North will be your nearest station? We've done it for you." The newspaper says: "Cambridge will soon have an extra railway station - but is it closer to you than the existing one?" Tom Pilgrim writes: "Where's my nearest station? The image below [shown on the Cambridge News' website] displays a two mile radius around Cambridge railway station as well as Cambridge North and Waterbeach. ... Milton residents are marginally closer to the new station than Waterbeach to the North." The Cambridge News also says: "According to Google maps, it takes 45 minutes to walk from the Cambridge North into Market Square."

Monday 15 May 2017 - Greater Anglia posts "Cambridge to Cambridge North: train driver's view" video on youtube. The new station opens on Sunday 21 May 2017. More station information from Greater Anglia here. For fares easements to/from Fen Line stations, please see news item below, dated Wednesday 10 May 2017.

Monday 15 May 2017 - "First steps agreed for Cambridge underground metro project " writes Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News, "Cambridgeshire mayor James Palmer is keen on an underground system for the city." Mr Palmer told the newspaper: "light rail would serve the county, [and] felt Cambridge needed to 'get serious' about tackling congestion if it wanted to be seen as a real competitor to Silicon Valley when trying to attract big businesses."

Monday 15 May 2017 - It has been drawn to our attention that the Liberal Democrat party has launched a campaign to 'Deliver a new rail station at Addenbrooke's' . [Please note that the Association necessarily has no links with any political party; it does support the construction of a new station at Cambridge South/Addenbrooke's/Cambridge Biomedical Campus].

Wednesday 10 May 2017 - We have written to the Secretary of State for Transport submitting supplementary evidence to add to our Representation of Support made in the matter of the proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire) Level Crossing Reduction Order; see news items below, dated Monday 10 April 2017, Thursday 20 April 2017 and Sunday 7 May 2017.

Wednesday 10 May 2017 - Fares easements "For new station at Cambridge North open from 21 May 2017 Added 700713: Customers travelling to Cambridge North, from Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market, Watlington and Kings Lynn are permitted to doubleback via Cambridge. This positive doubleback easement applies in both directions" and "MANUAL EASEMENT - not used in journey planners - implemented locally Added 700714: Tickets to/from Cambridge are also valid at Cambridge North and tickets to/from Cambridge North are also valid at Cambridge. This easement covers all tickets, including season tickets, except Advance tickets" added to Routeing Guide Updates issued by the Rail Delivery Group today.

Sunday 7 May 2017 - "Police investigation launched after driver allegedly seen dicing with death at Foxton level crossing" writes Tara Cox in the Cambridge News. "British Transport Police are investigating 'an incident of dangerous driving' after a driver allegedly overtook another stationary car waiting at the red lights of the crossing, where a ‘stop’ line is clearly visible. Officers say the driver then passed over the level crossing as the barriers were lowering. ... Speaking to the News, a spokesman for British Transport Police said: 'We're investigating an incident of dangerous driving at Foxton level crossing on April 30, at approximately 3pm. A vehicle overtook another stationary vehicle waiting at the red lights and stop line. It passed through as the barriers were lowering. We have sent the driver a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and have begun legal proceedings using legislation from the Road Traffic Act.'" [Foxton A10 level crossing is on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route used by Fen Line trains. We will be adding supplementary evidence to our Representation of Support for Network Rail's level crossing reduction application; see news items below, dated Monday 10 April 2017 and Thursday 20 April 2017. Foxton A10 level crossing is not included in Network Rail's current plans].

Friday 5 May 2017 - "One of our great railway users and councillors has said he is 'thrilled' at the refurbishment of Downham Market railway station," writes Paul Thomas in 'yourlocalpaper' [page 10]. "Cllr Colin Sampson [FLUA's Chairman] welcomed the 'brush up' as an homage to the great work 30 years ago by current Railway Heritage Trust man Chris Green. In 1986 Mr Green was the man credited with saving the Downham station and line when he was at the now defunct Network SouthEast [Mr Green was the Director of BR's Network SouthEast business, responsible for the electrification of the King's Lynn route]. Describing the station's revival of Network SouthEast colours, Cllr Sampson tells 'yourlocalpaper' it's a "thank you" to the man who saved the line. "I am thrilled. It was my idea to go with the colours as a thank you to Chris. Since his intervention to save the line and a direct route to London, rather than leave us with a shuttle service and a change, we have gone from strength to strength."

Friday 5 May 2017 - "New services ‘will help ease West Norfolk rail crowding’- operator: extra services announced ahead of opening of new Cambridge North station" says News Editor Allister Webb in the Lynn News [page 8]. "Extra trains on part of West Norfolk’s rail line will help cut overcrowding for passengers here, until longer units can be brought into service, company bosses say. Industry officials have already signalled their intention to run eight-carriage trains, instead of the current standard four, between Lynn and Cambridge from late next year. But rail operator Great Northern has now announced plans to introduce extra trains between Ely, Cambridge and London later this month. The firm says the move will provide an extra 3,300 seats each day, increasing capacity by 40 per cent." The article includes pictures of the interior and exterior of the new class 387 trains. "These extra trains should ease crowding on the King’s Lynn services, which will be a real boon for our passengers" Stuart Cheshire, GN passenger services director, tells the Lynn News, which also reports: "A rail summit in Downham in January was told officials were aiming to run longer trains to and from Lynn from late 2018."

Friday 5 May 2017 - Tom Pilgrim writes in the Cambridge News: "Here's a sneak peek of the new train fleet to serve Cambridge: Great Northern will be rolling out the modern air-conditioned trains from May 21. ... The air-conditioned trains will be fitted with wi-fi and join services on the King’s Lynn to Cambridge Fen Line route from May 21." GN Passenger Director Stuart Cheshire tells the paper: "Network Rail's work to lengthening platforms at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach by the end of 2018 will allow Great Northern to double the length of the trains calling at these stations." The Cambridge News reports that "The operator will have two trains an hour in each direction to the new station from King’s Cross via Cambridge. One of these trains will continue on to Ely, giving Ely a half hourly Great Northern service in each direction all day."

Friday 5 May 2017 - "Town's heritage makeover unveiled at railway station" reports the Lynn News in a page 35 'Downham News' article by Rebekah Chilvers. "The £64,000 investment was celebrated by officials in the town on Friday. ... The refresh saw close cooperation with West Norfolk Council and the Fen Line Users’ Association, and has included painting the booking hall, platform canopies, waiting facilities, and more." Conservative candidate for the South West Norfolk seat Liz Truss says she was 'delighted' to see the investment, telling the newspaper: "With passenger numbers increasing, and South West Norfolk proving to be an extremely attractive location for business and home owners, I am sure the refurbished heritage look will prove to be a great success.”

Thursday 4 May 2017 - "Amazon will open a new Cambridge R&D site this year adding another 400 research jobs to the 150 scientists currently working for the company in the city" reports Electronicsweekly.com. The new R&D centre is next to Cambridge station.

Thursday 4 May 2017 - " Cambridge Station to have one of just seven Greater Anglia traditional ticket offices, claims union: A rail operator is planning to close ticket offices and install more machines at stations, union officials claim" writes Chris Elliott in the Cambridge News. ... [Greater Anglia] has told RMT officials it is planning to have seven 'traditional' ticket offices. Cambridge and Stansted Airport are two of them, the union says, and the others are at London Liverpool Street, Colchester, Norwich, Chelmsford, and Ipswich .... Ticket offices to be axed will close during the next year in three stages, said the RMT." Greater Anglia tells the newspaper: "We have no plans to reduce the number of Greater Anglia ticket offices to seven. However, we are currently reviewing responses to a public consultation about proposals to close seven little-used ticket offices. There are no current proposals to close any other ticket offices. We will continue to consult with our colleagues and the trades unions on any proposed changes to ticket office arrangements." In a statement, Greater Anglia says: "Over the course of our franchise, we will continue to monitor ticket sales at our other ticket offices. In line with other industries, we are seeing many customers switch to buying online or from ticket machines. As a result, we are investing significant sums in installing and improving ticket vending machines at every station and increasing the range of smart and mobile ticketing options available to our customers. Our aim is to make ticket purchase easier and more convenient for our customers." [Cambridge North, which will not have a traditional ticket office, and Ely, which has, are the two stations on the Fen Line which are run by Greater Anglia. All the others are run by Great Northern].

Thursday 4 May 2017 - "Great Northern and the Railway Heritage Trust have completed a £64 000 ‘heritage makeover‘ of Grade II listed Downham Market station, which has been restored to the colour scheme of the former Network SouthEast brand launched in 1986. ‘The improvement works have blended its Victoria heritage with modern waiting rooms and toilets, and a touch of its colourful Network SouthEast heritage‘, said Chris Green of the Railway Heritage Trust. This follows a 1950s-inspired makeover of King’s Lynn station in 2014" reports the Railway Gazette.

Wednesday 3 May 2017 - BBC News reports on "Ely and the A10: What can be done to improve it?." The broadcaster says: "The area between Ely and Cambridge is one of the fastest growing parts of the country but some say the road that links the two cities is 'unfit' for purpose. Ahead of the mayoral election in the county, BBC News looks at what could be done to improve things. It takes, on average, 45 minutes to travel the 16 miles (25km) between Cambridge and Ely on the A10. On a good day. ... A public consultation has just ended into plans for 6,500 homes off the A10, on the former site of Waterbeach barracks - three miles north of Cambridge." The news item also reports: "Among the ideas in the mix are plans to relocate Waterbeach station from the edge of the village and expand it to serve the new town - and take 12-carriage Thameslink trains."

Tuesday 2 May 2017 - "New(er) trains to serve West Norfolk from this month" reports radio station KLFM96.7. "It's been announced modern air-conditioned trains are to start serving West Norfolk from the end of the month. Great Northern's King's Lynn-Cambridge Fen Line route will see the replacement carriages when the new timetable on 21 May. It's also been confirmed 1 service each hour will be doubled in length at Ely. ... The arrival of the new carriages, [full fleet first introduced on GTR's Thameslink route in July 2015] which replace trains 22 years old, is part of an overall plan to replace three-quarters of the Great Northern fleet by 2020 – and those that remain are themselves going through a £30m refurbishment programme. "

Tuesday 2 May 2017 - "Modern air-conditioned trains to breeze on to Fen Line and Great Northern services to be doubled at Ely" says Great Northern in a press statement today. Great Northern Passenger Services Director Stuart Cheshire says: "As we head into summer, these modern air conditioned trains will keep passengers as cool as a cucumber. We think passengers will love the Wi-Fi that we’ll be adding in the coming months and the on-board information systems and power points at every pair of seats. Plus, with their accessible toilets and designated areas for wheelchair users, the trains will be great for people with restricted mobility. Furthermore, Network Rail is working towards upgrading power supplies and lengthening platforms by the end of next year, at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach, which would let us double the length of these trains to eight carriages to increase capacity for passengers. The arrival of the new trains, on 21 May, coincides with the opening of a new station built by Network Rail and managed by Greater Anglia at Cambridge North, to serve the renowned Cambridge Business Park. Great Northern will have two trains an hour in each direction to the new station from King’s Cross via Cambridge. One of these trains will continue on to Ely, giving Ely a half-hourly Great Northern service in each direction all day, which adds over 3,300 more seats across the day (40% more) by doubling the frequency in the off-peak and plugging service gaps at this station in the peak." Stuart adds: "Crucially, although most of the four-carriage King’s Lynn trains cannot stop at Cambridge North [peak trains are already tightly packed with standing passengers] until platforms are lengthened at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach, these one dozen extra King’s Cross trains at Ely should ease crowding on the King's Lynn services which will be a real boon for our passengers."

Saturday 29 April 2017 - "Investment in Ely North junction will allow more frequent and larger trains to travel across Cambridgeshire" James Palmer, Conservative candidate for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor, tells the Cambridgeshire Independent. Ben Comber reports on responses to his question "How would Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayoral candidates tackle the region’s transport challenge?" Labour's candidate Kevin Price tells the newspaper: "I want to work with Network Rail for new or reopened stations at places like Addenbrooke’s ..."

Saturday 29 April 2017 - Chris Bishop writes in today's Eastern Daily Press: "Red, white and blue makeover for Downham Market Railway Station." His article, which takes up page 8, is accompanied by his photograph of the new, 'old style' Network SouthEast station nameboard, alongside which are Chris Green from the Railway Heritage Trust [and former Network SouthEast director]; our Chairman, Colin Sampson; Andrew Sidgwick, from Great Northern; Elizabeth Truss MP and station manager Graham Pratt. Andrew Sidgwick, programme manager for Great Northern, which runs trains between Lynn and London King's Cross, tells the EDP: “This is one of many things we, as a train operator, are looking at doing in Downham Market. There’ll be new ticketing machines, timetabling improvements, lots of good stuff coming up over the next couple of years”; Chris Green comments: "It’s great to see a line bulging with passengers and needing more trains and tracks,” he said. “I like what I’m seeing today. I commend a visit to the toilets - they’re superb." The newspaper also reveals: "Back on Platform One, a prospective tenant has now been found for the former Railway Arms, a lineside micro-pub [and station cafe] which closed in October after a row over rent. An as-yet un-named local business is expected to re-open the popular watering hole."

Friday 28 April 2017 - The Cambridgeshire Labour Party manifesto states: "A Labour County Council would campaign for more rail investment, including completion of the Oxford to Cambridge line, contributing to the Wisbech rail link, opening the Soham and Ely North railway stations, developing the Addenbrooke’s railway station, increasing freight capacity and reducing bottlenecks at key junctions. We would also work with Network Rail to make sure the Peterborough to Stansted rail service stops at the new Cambridge North railway station."

Friday 28 April 2017 - "I am in favour of opening new stations on existing lines, including a station at the biomedical campus in Cambridge. The number of people currently working at the site and the significant foreseeable growth justifies a station there. Adding an additional stop to many services could have a significant impact on journey times and timetabling. Parallel infrastructure improvements, such as four-tracking the section between Cambridge Station and Cambridge [Shepreth Branch Junction, to the south of Addenbrooke's] junction, need to be investigated" says Julie Howell, the Green Party Candidate Mayor for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority.

Please note that in reporting these, or any other political candidate's or party's manifesto or other statement, the Association does not imply any party political standpoint or purport to offer any advice or suggestion as to how any person should or should not vote. We ask Members to inform us of any other relevant manifestos or statements from any bone fide political candidate or party, and will gladly report, factually, on this website, any matters relevant to the Fen Line, if drawn to our attention.

Thursday 27 April 2017 - " Station relocation is key to more homes planned for Waterbeach" reports Ben Comber in the Cambridge Independent. "Plans for between 1,500 and 2,500 additional new homes in Waterbeach were revealed to the public last week, as well as proposals to relocate the railway station. Following property developer Urban&Civic’s 6,500-home planning application, RLW, the other promoter for the Waterbeach new town, showed its plans at a public exhibition in Waterbeach on Saturday (April 22). The new town could have 10,000 homes. While it is the decision of South Cambridgeshire District Council, considering the new Local Plan, as to how many homes could be given the go-ahead and who they would be built for, moving Waterbeach railway station and sewage treatment facility appear to be key to the scheme. ... Of the station move, Mr Goldsmith [director of developers Turnstone, which are also associated with the scheme] said that a shuttle service could run people into the city’s two stations, potentially three, with those services originating in Waterbeach or Ely. 'Cambridge is not going to be served by just one station, you’ve got a necklace of stations that you can start running a local service on.'”

Tuesday 25 April 2017 - "You can now start booking trains from the new Cambridge North station" writes Tom Pilgrim in the Cambridge News. His article shows a number of photographs of the station nearing completion. The newspaper also reports: "Train drivers are currently undertaking test runs through the station to familiarise themselves with its layout and signal positions."

Tuesday 25 April 2017 - "The station now approaching completion at Cambridge North will open in 26 days" reports ITV News, accompanying the news with a short video clip. This can also be viewed here .

Tuesday 25 April 2017 - " New railway station at Cambridge North opening next month" says Greater Anglia. The company reports in a news statement issued today: "A brand new landmark railway station for Cambridge - Cambridge North - is due to open next month. Greater Anglia is opening Cambridge North station on Sunday 21 May. It will serve Cambridge science and business parks and the suburbs and villages north of Cambridge city centre. Trains from both Greater Anglia and Great Northern will call there. Network Rail, which has built the station, is currently putting the finishing touches to Cambridge North before handing it over to the rail company. ... Initially four Greater Anglia trains an hour, will serve the station, two in each direction - one service to London [Liverpool Street], one arrival from London [Liverpool Street], one Cambridge to Norwich service and one Norwich to Cambridge service. In 2019, a new direct Greater Anglia Norwich to Stansted Airport service will be introduced, stopping at Cambridge North, when the company brings in all new trains across every route on its network during 2019-20.Great Northern trains will stop at the station, with two trains per hour to London King’s Cross, of which one will be a stopping train starting at Cambridge North and one a fast train per hour on the new Ely to London fast service, off peak. This will be slightly different in the morning and evening peaks. Great Northern services will be provided by its new modern trains, as it introduces an entire replacement fleet of air-conditioned trains on the Cambridge-King’s Lynn Fen Line. ... There will be three ticket machines, a coffee shop and another retail unit in the main station concourse and airport-style waiting rooms on each platform [at the new station]. Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, says: 'This is great news for Greater Anglia and for Cambridge. The existing station at Cambridge is one of our busiest stations. This station should relieve some of the pressure on it. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Cambridge station to Cambridge North, but just six minutes by train, so it should be a great boost to people commuting to work in the science park, or for people commuting from northern suburbs or villages.' Bob Menzies, service director strategy and development for Cambridgeshire County Council, says: 'We developed a design in partnership with Network Rail that integrated all the local transport into the new station. We very much see it as an integrated transport hub. “It had to function well as a railway station, be reasonably economical to build but also resonate with Cambridge. I think that it will come to be a bit of a landmark.'”

Monday 24 April 2017 - "Barclay set to be re-adopted to fight NE Cambs for the Conservatives at June 8 General Election" writes John Elworthy in the Wisbech Standard: "Steve Barclay is set to be re-adopted in five days times as the Conservative choice to fight the June 8 election in NE Cambs." Mr Barclay is recorded as saying: "I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we deliver the half hour[ly] service at Littleport next year; improve parking at stations; have a late night service from Cambridge and Ely to Fenland; dual sections of the A47 at Eye, and ensure Wisbech to Cambridge Rail is built. Enormous progress has been made on all of these schemes, and I am committed to seeing them through to completion."

Monday 24 April 2017 - Greater Anglia publishes its May 2017 King's Lynn-Cambridge-Liverpool Street direct trains timetable. Please note this does not take effect until Monday 22 May 2017.

Saturday 22 April 2017 - Developers RLW Estates are holding an exhibition on their proposals for the proposed Waterbeach new town. [RLW Estates' land abuts the Fen Line and this part of the proposed new town would include the proposed relocated Waterbeach station].

Friday 21 April 2017 - Great Northern publishes its May 2017 King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross timetable. Please note this does not take effect until Sunday 21 May 2017.

Thursday 20 April 2017 - "Ely Standard reader captures the moment lorry hit barrier and caused road and rail chaos in the city today" reports the newspaper. It shows Terry and Amanda Robins' dramatic photograph, captioned "Lucky escape for this driver whose vehicle hit barriers at Ely station causing huge delays."

In our Representation of Support in the matter of the proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire) Level Crossing Reduction Order (see news item below, dated 10 April 2017) we asked the question about the 'next' level crossing accident : "Nowhere – or somewhere: where next?" Within just 10 days of writing, we already have the answer.

Thursday 20 April 2017 - "Rail passenger group blasts 'poor' communication on new Cambridge North station" writes Tom Pilgrim in the Cambridge News, "Railfuture, which campaigns for better rail services, said that it was "disappointed" with the information available to the public around Cambridge North's opening on May 21." The newspaper says: "Information available shows that there are no direct services between Peterborough and Cambridge North, and very limited options from Waterbeach and Littleport. Great Northern previously told the News that overcrowding on existing services and the need to upgrade Waterbeach to accommodate eight-car trains meant fewer services [there will not be fewer trains calling at Waterbeach in May 2017]. ... [Railfuture's] Mr Alderson said: "Network Rail is progressing with the platform extensions at Foxton and Shepreth and they will be in use later this year. It is a pity that Network Rail has not started the design work for the very simple platform extensions at Waterbeach. It is also confusing that Great Northern is suggesting they will be in use from December 2018 but Network Rail merely says it 'hopes' to have them complete 'by the end of 2019.'"

Thursday 20 April 2017 - The Department for Transport publishes the East Anglia Franchise Agreement and associated Train Service Requirements. These cover Greater Anglia services running to/from Liverpool Street, but not Great Northern's Kings Lynn-Cambridge-Kings Cross service, which is part of the TSGN franchise. Highlights include: Greater Anglia Fen Line service to remain broadly as now, but new Saturday AM King's Lynn-Liverpool Street train and PM return working from May 2020; Cambridge-Liverpool Street maximum journey time: 79 minutes, but 13 trains within 67 minutes; Liverpool Street-Cambridge maximum journey time: 79 minutes, but 13 trains within 67 minutes; King's Lynn station to be capable of handling a 240m length Greater Anglia train (2x5-car or 1x10-car) by 1 September 2018; Ticket gateline at Ely by 30 April 2018; 100 additional car parking spaces at Ely (by decking) by 17 October 2020; 500 additional cycle spaces at Ely by 31 December 2020.

Wednesday 19 April 2017 - Greater Anglia writes to us to say they "can confirm that doubling back at Cambridge, off the Fen line, will be initially allowed." We are grateful to both train companies for acting quickly to provide this important passenger information (see news item below, dated Tuesday 18 April 2017).

UPDATE: It has been pointed out to us that the National Rail Enquiries website may contain anomalies in respect of Waterbeach to Cambridge North fares. In view of the clear commitment by both Greater Anglia and Great Northern, our understanding is that passengers wishing to travel from Waterbeach to Cambridge North may buy the appropriate Waterbeach-Cambridge North ticket and travel (when no direct service to Cambridge North exists) via the existing Cambridge station, doubling back from there. Doubling back via the existing Cambridge station on the return journey (when no direct service to Waterbeach exists) would also be permissible.

Please note that there has been NO Waterbeach-Cambridge North ticket easement via ELY conveyed to us and two tickets would seem to be necessary at a HIGHER fare should passengers wish to make the journey via Ely. Should we learn differently, we would publish any change on this website.

All fares information on this website is given in good faith but necessarily also on the basis that the Association can take no responsibility for its accuracy.

Tuesday 18 April 2017 - Network Rail publishes its Route Specifications 2017 London North Eastern and East Midlands. This includes sections SRS G01–King’s Cross - Peterborough and SRS G.04 - Hitchin - Cambridge. For SRS G01 King's Cross-Peterborough [page 03-06] Network Rail says: "The route carries suburban services from King’s Cross and Moorgate to various destinations in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, and long distance high speed (LDHS) services from King’s Cross to destinations in Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. For SRS G.04 - Hitchin - Cambridge [pages 15-18] Network Rail states: "The Hitchin to Cambridge Line extends for 23¼ miles from Hitchin Cambridge Junction (where it links to the East Coast Main Line north of Hitchin) to Shepreth Branch Junction (where it meets the West Anglia Main Line south of Cambridge). It is double track and electrified (with 25kV OHL) along its whole length. A flyover north of Hitchin removes conflicts caused by services heading towards Cambridge and Royston from Hitchin. It provides a valuable link between Cambridge and London, accommodating the generally half-hourly Cambridge – London fast service, one of which each hour starts from King’s Lynn. ... In the early mornings and evenings, Letchworth and Royston are often served by longer-distance outer suburban services between King’s Cross and King’s Lynn [Page 15]." Page 18 includes proposed overhead line and gauging works "to accommodate operation of IEP [Intercity Express programme, see news item below, dated Wednesday 15 April 2014] rolling stock." Pages 11-14 cover section SRS G03 - Hertford Loop, which provides a diversionary route for Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains on occasions.

The accompanying Network Specification 2017: London North Eastern and East Midlands document itemises [page 6]: "a half hourly King’s Cross to Cambridge fast service, one of which, extends each hour through to King’s Lynn. In terms of operational characteristics and passenger profile, this service is more akin to a LDHS [long distance high speed] service." [Please note that from Monday 22 May 2017, those fast King's Cross-Cambridge trains which do not currently run to King's Lynn will be extended to Ely, as a first step towards delivering the committed half-hourly King's Cross-King's Lynn service].

Tuesday 18 April 2017 - "How will Crossrail 2 benefit residents in Cambridgeshire? Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City Council have called on the Government to back the rail project" writes Tom Pilgrim in the Cambridge News. He says: "Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City Council have urged the Government to give the Crossrail 2 scheme its 'full backing' to boost the region. The councils signed a joint letter with seven other local authorities in the South East and London Councils, which represents the capital's 32 borough councils and the City of London, which has been sent to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling. ... Still in the development phase, the £31.2billion scheme is not expected to be completed until the early to mid-2030s ... Network Rail has forecasted demand on the West Anglia railway to increase by 39 per cent by 2043. In the 10 years to 2011 an additional 100,000 rail commuters started travelling on its routes." The West Anglia Taskforce has "argued that the early expansion to a four track rail layout between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne by 2026 would enable additional fast services between Cambridge and Liverpool Street." The newspaper reports that "the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is predicted to employ close to 30,000 people making it one of the largest biomedical sites in the world, while Stansted Airport has the potential to provide an additional 10,000 jobs by 2030 [.... the Taskforce has] has backed proposals to build a new station at Cambridge South to service the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and Addenbrooke’s Hospital."

Tuesday 18 April 2017 - We wrote to Greater Anglia and Great Northern on the subject of fares to Cambridge North. We said: "National Rail Enquiries is now showing train services and connections to/from the new Cambridge North station. Journeys from/to King’s Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport and Waterbeach cannot be made (except for a few early morning/late evening times) without changing trains, either at Ely or at Cambridge. In the latter case (National Rail Enquiries routes passengers via Cambridge in many instances) the passenger is required to travel through Cambridge North without stopping and double back from Cambridge station. Can you please confirm that such doubling back will be allowed on all types of tickets?"

We are very grateful to Great Northern for the following reply: "Cambridge and Cambridge North tickets will be interchangeable until such time when capacity issues have been resolved. Our fares team have also agreed with their counterparts at GA [Greater Anglia] that this will be briefed to station, revenue and any on-board staff. We will also brief our staff internally of these arrangements."

Thursday 13 April 2017 - "It's time to stop dicing with death" is the front page story of today's Cambridge News. The print edition of the newspaper gives a full page over to the "shock rise in dangerous trespass on rail tracks" and directs readers to www.networkrail.co.uk/trespass. Tom Pilgrim's article about Fen Line services to the new Cambridge North station being very restricted, due to King's Lynn to Cambridge services already being very busy (see news item of today's date, immediately below) forms the first part of a double-page spread on railways [pages 4 and 5] and is headlined "Limited village links to new station."

Thursday 13 April 2017 - Network Rail publishes its Freight Network Study (FNS), which identifies infrastructure works at Ely on the Felixstowe to West Midlands & the North corridor as a short term option capacity for funders. Page 64 states: "One of the most significant capacity constraints on the cross-country route is the Ely area. Projects required include Ely North Junction, Ely level crossings, Ely to Soham doubling and Ely area weak bridges. Due to land restrictions and ground conditions, the projects have a high degree of complexity, specifically the Ely area level crossings works." Page 92 shows the "Core freight network corridors and priorities for short term intervention"; page 93 identifies work at Ely as a short term capacity option, page 94 identifies the cross-country freight route as a short term gauging option for funders. As part of the Anglia Speed project, NR [Page 128] identifies "increased speeds for HAW [Heavy Axle Weight] vehicles between Cambridge and King's Lynn." NR reports [Page 105] in respect of the Felixstowe to the West Midlands and the North freight corridor, on which Ely lies, that the "final version of the FNS puts more emphasis on the national significance of this corridor, and articulates that it represents the highest priority for short-term rail freight investment."

Thursday 13 April 2017 - "Great Northern has responded to concerns there are not enough planned services to Cambridge North - Train times published on the National Rail enquiries show barely any direct trains between Waterbeach and Cambridge North." That's the headline of Tom Pilgrim's story in the Cambridge News. He continues: "Commuters using Waterbeach station in Cambridgeshire will have to wait years for regular connections to the new Cambridge North station. ... A spokeswoman for the operator explained that services stopping at both Cambridge North and Waterbeach were restricted by overcrowding and infrastructure pressures. She said: 'There will be a few trains calling at both Waterbeach and Cambridge North, however this is due to King’s Lynn to Cambridge services calling at all stations including Waterbeach already being very busy. We are acutely aware of the high demand of the current services and have added in additional Ely services calling at Cambridge North or starting at the station to manage this demand and take the pressure off the King’s Lynn to Cambridge services. From December 2018, we will be able to offer more direct services between Waterbeach and Cambridge North, once Network Rail have carried out the platform extension upgrades between King’s Lynn and Cambridge, allowing eight-car trains to call at Waterbeach station.'"

The Cambridge News article, which gives details of publication dates for the publication of both Great Northern and Greater Anglia timetables, also quotes a Network Rail spokesperson, who told the newspaper: "We know that overcrowding on the King's Lynn services, particularly in the peak is an issue. That's why we're currently developing a scheme, in close collaboration with the operator, to lengthen the platforms to allow eight car trains to run. We have no confirmed timescales for delivery of that project as yet, but we'd hope to do it by the end of 2019."

The Association is concerned about the level of service from all Fen Line stations - Kings Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely and Waterbeach to Cambridge North; we note that there will be additional services from Ely which will serve the new Cambridge North station. In our document 'Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains' we call for:

Stopping where the jobs are - Make all Fen Line trains call at Cambridge North from May 2017 and speed up a Cambridge Biomedical Campus station (Cambridge South).

Dealing with the crowds - Run 8-car Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains (maintaining existing stopping patterns where appropriate) in the morning and evening peaks (i.e. in both the London peaks and the Cambridge peaks) ASAP.

Removing those remaining fragile connections at Cambridge by running all our trains direct to King’s Cross. Fill the big gap in the afternoon high peak at Cambridge with a King’s Lynn train leaving Cambridge about 1710-1715 and extend the 1714 King’s Cross-Ely to King’s Lynn.

Current details of Network Rail's Kings Lynn– Cambridge 8-car scheme are published on page 34 [of 197] in the March 2017 issue of NR's Enhancement Delivery Plan. See also news item below, dated Friday 7 April 2017 for other relevant Network Rail enhancement schemes. The proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire) Level Crossing Reduction Order (see news item, dated Monday 10 April 2017, immediately below) has, in part, a direct relationship with the introduction of Kings Lynn-Cambridge-Kings Cross 8-car trains; we have set out in that news item details of the practical support we are giving towards the earliest implementation of measures needed to allow longer trains on our increasingly successful, but more and more overcrowded, commuter route.

Wednesday 12 April 2017 - Network Rail responds to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's request for an internal review of the handling of his FOI request "Queen Adelaide B1382 Level Crossings Risk Assessment" (see news item below, dated Tuesday 14 February 2017) by releasing redacted "Narrative Risk Assessments" of the three Queen Adelaide level crossings, including that for the Queen Adelaide (Kings Lynn) AHB level crossing. NR stresses: "the Narrative Risk Assessments for each of the three crossings [...] are distinct from those risk assessments undertaken in respect of the renewal options." The latter have not been released.

Monday 10 April 2017 - We have today written to the Secretary of State for Transport with a Representation of Support in the matter of the proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire) Level Crossing Reduction Order. We note that level crossings are now the biggest safety hazard to rail users; as well as the safety of passengers and train drivers being put at risk, the inevitable hold-ups following an incident cause delays to passengers, including large numbers travelling to/from work and for business in Cambridge and London. In some circumstances, the necessary withdrawal of a damaged train can (and has) lead to rolling stock shortages which result in numerous service cancellations for lengthy periods.

In our Representation, we state: "the Association SUPPORTS Network Rail's plans for the closure/alteration of the following 14 crossings on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route: C35 Ballast Pit, C28 Black Horse Drove, C01 Chittering, C25 Clayway [Littleport], C24 Cross Keys, C34 Fysons, C33 Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing), C31 Littleport station (footpath level crossing), C02 Nairn's No 117, C04 No 20 [Meldreth], C07 No 37 [Harston], C26 Poplar Drove, C03 West River Bridge, and C27 Willow Row/Willow Road."

The C31 Littleport station pedestrian crossing is of great concern to us, in so much as the danger it poses to rail users (229,628 passengers p.a. source: ORR 2015/6 estimate) by virtue of the bends at both ends of the station, which can hide fast passenger and freight trains not stopping there and running at up to 75mph). Given that the proposal at C31 Littleport station would also greatly help in accommodating platform lengthening works currently being considered as part of Network Rail's Cambridge-King's Lynn 8-car scheme (designed to tackle urgent passenger overcrowding issues during peak times), we ask that the implementation of the level crossing proposal for C31 Littleport station be given high priority by Network Rail. We also: "REQUEST the Secretary of State to impose a CONDITION that the flooding/puddling issue in the Littleport station underpass is satisfactorily dealt with. It should be noted that this detailed request does NOT change our stance of SUPPORT for the Order."

Saturday 8 April 2017 - "Don’t dual the A10, invest in rail instead" argues Edward Leigh in the Cambridge Independent. He opines: "Outline planning consent is being sought for 6,500 new homes on the site of Waterbeach Barracks, right next to the A10. And the Local Plan envisages a further 12,500 homes being added later. Add this to the 18,000 vehicles/day that already use the A10 and it’s easy to see why dualling looks like the answer. But ... feeding twice as many vehicles into the network would just mean twice as many cars tail back along the A10 past Milton." Mr Leigh, who writes on behalf of 'Smarter Cambridge Transport' says: "Fortunately there’s another transport option: the railway line that runs close to the A10 offers fast and reliable journey times to Cambridge, Stansted Airport and London," and lists the priorities he suggests: "Fixing Ely North rail junction is the first priority. That will enable more passenger and freight trains to run, relieving pressure on the A14 as well as the A10. Secondly, improve access to the railway at Waterbeach by building a new station to the north, with longer platforms, a small car park and protected cycle/walking links to the village, Waterbeach Barracks and Cambridge Research Park. A shuttle bus, connecting with trains, could serve all three of those and Landbeach."

Saturday 8 April 2017 - "'An absolute joke!' Commuters react to new Cambridge North Timetable - National Rail Enquiries is showing the timings of trains stopping at the station’s three platforms on its online journey planner" writes Tara Cox in today's Cambridge News. She continues: "Rail users have responded with anger and frustration to news of the possible new timetable for Cambridge North Station – with one commuter claiming the new station is ‘an absolute joke’. On the [Cambridge] News’ Facebook page , Andrew Boylett wrote: 'An absolute joke. Direct services to London limited, and a perfect opportunity to run earlier services for shift workers that they completely ignored.' Al Storer wrote: 'There's loads of direct trains from Cambridge North to Kings Cross, Monday-Saturday. What there aren't, are any Waterbeach to Cambridge North trains, as (at peak times) the Waterbeach to Cambridge section is massively overcrowded already and until Waterbeach station is extended it can't have longer trains.'” The article points out that: "From May 21 passengers in the north of the city will be able to hop on a train direct to London, Ely and King’s Lynn, as well as to the existing Cambridge station south of the river. ... Direct trains to King’s Lynn are scheduled to take 44 minutes, although the more frequent routes will be via Cambridge Station." [It is not clear yet whether those journeys to Cambridge North from King's Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport and Waterbeach which National Rail Enquiries advises users to make via the existing Cambridge station and then double back to Cambridge North will be valid under the ticket rules].

Friday 7 April 2017 - Adam Care asks in today's Cambridge News: "What time can I catch a train from Cambridge North Station? Timetable published (but you can't book any fares yet) - Timings are now public for trains from the city's newest station to Ely, King's Lynn and Cambridge Station." He says: "The £50 million station is on track for an official opening date of May 21, but budding trainspotters can already get excited, with the first parts of its future timetable now available online. While there is still no fare information available, National Rail Enquiries is showing the timings of trains stopping at the station’s three platforms on its online journey planner." The article reports that: "The new station is just 13 minutes away from Ely, with the first direct train leaving at 6.19am on Monday May 22, and the last one at 00.14 on the Tuesday morning."

Friday 7 April 2017 - Network Rail publishes its CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan: Update March 2017. Projects include: Thameslink (page 7), Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement (page 27), Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade (page 28), Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car (page 34), Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - East Coast Capability (page 61), Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - East Coast Power Supply Upgrade (page 63), ECML Traction Power Supply Upgrade (page 65), Gordon Hill Turnback (page 66), Stevenage Turnback (page 67), East Coast Connectivity Fund (page 141), Cambridge North New Station (page 164) and Ely to Soham Doubling (page 170).

Thursday 6 April 2017 - " First trains call at Cambridge North Station" reports Tom Pilgrim in the Cambridge News, "Testing of passenger trains has begun at Cambridge's newest station ahead of its opening at the end of May. An eight car class 317 train was the first to stop as planned at platform 3." His article includes photographs of the new station, which is due to open on Sunday 21 May, and says: "It will handle an estimated 3,000 passengers a day and have parking space for 450 cars and 1,000 bicycles as well as a taxi rank." [Times are now available on National Rail Enquiries - use station code CMB. We are pressing for all Fen Line trains to stop at Cambridge North].

Tuesday 4 April 2017 - New Trains for Greater Anglia is the title of a presentation by Jonathan Denby of Greater Anglia to the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Transport and Infrastructure Board today. Pages 7 to 19 cover the Bombardier Aventra train, which will be used on West Anglia routes to/from Liverpool Street. Page 37 illustrates the proposals for a depot at Coldhams Lane, Cambridge designed to stable 5 full length Aventra units. Network Rail also updates the Board on various projects, including an Ely Area Capacity Enhancement *update*.

Tuesday 4 April 2017 - GTR launches issue no 6 of its twice-yearly report to customers, 'Connections'. This contains information about Great Northern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern. Reporting on progress with its commitments, the company says: "Deadline May 2017 - King’s Lynn service half hourly (once upgraded infrastructure in place) - Great Northern - Half hourly service to Ely for most of day from 21 May. Infrastructure work still required for Kings Lynn half hourly." [Pages 22 and 23]. GTR has also launched a new website for Great Northern, which operates King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services - timetables here. Under the heading 'New trains and more regular services - We’re investing in new trains, extra carriages and more services0 the Great Northern 'Improvements factsheet' states: "King’s Cross to King’s Lynn: two trains per hour from the end of 2018." [The original franchise commitment was for the 'half-hourly' King's Cross-King's Lynn services to operate from May 2017 - the Government's Train Service Requirements dated December 2015 (pages 362-365 of 397) refer].

Monday 3 April 2017 - Greater Anglia publishes "Transforming your railway with new trains" showing artists' impressions of how its brand new trains, due to be introduced during 2019/20, could look. GA says: "All trains will come complete with free high-quality Wi-Fi, at-seat plug and USB points, air conditioning and state-of-the-art passenger information screens" and the company is inviting views and suggestions from interested persons. [Greater Anglia operates the Cambridge-Ely-Norwich service and the peak times only Liverpool Street-Cambridge-Ely/King's Lynn services, as well as most other services in East Anglia. The King's Cross-Cambridge-Ely-King's Lynn route is operated by Great Northern. 'Regional carriages' will operate on GA's Cambridge-Ely-Norwich services and 'Bombardier Aventra trains' - these have 3+2 seating, will operate GA's Liverpool Street-Cambridge-Ely/King's Lynn services].

Friday 31 March 2017 - "Funding prompts rail upgrade study" reports 'yourlocalpaper'. The newspaper says: "A major feasibility study into rail improvements for the area can now be undertaken after £8.8 million of funding was pledged. The study will provide options to increase rail capacity for freight an d passenger services through the Ely area - affecting the King's Lynn to King's Cross service." Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP Chairman Mark Reeve told 'yourlocalpaper': Work to improve the Ely North junction is critical for unlocking economic growth not only across the LEP area, but across the whole of the East." South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss is reported as adding: "Work can start on developing the scheme in a couple of weeks and will take 24 months to complete."

Thursday 30 March 2017 - "First £40 million of £800 million received, but how will new combined authority improve your life?" asks Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News, continuing: "The documents have been signed and the first tranche of an £800 million devolution deal has been put in place. But where will this money go and how will it benefit you?" His article sets out various issues the soon-to-be-elected Mayor and the new Combined Authority will be dealing with. He writes: "The authority will look at transport infrastructure improvements... such as ... upgrades to the A10 and the A47, and the Ely North Junction. ... Rail improvements, including a new station at Soham, (new rolling stock, improved links from King’s Lynn to Cambridge and London) will [also] be on the agenda."

Tuesday 28 March 2017 - We have today added the presentation material produced by GTR for the Stakeholders Forum held on Tuesday 21 March 2017. This is to be found in the Members' Section.

Friday 24 March 2017 - "'At the front of the queue’: Improvement plans at Ely North junction move forward with £8.8m LEP investment" writes Seb Pearce in the Wisbech Standard. He continues: "A groundbreaking agreement which could see work to ease congestion at the bottlenecked Ely North junction move forward by five years has taken a significant step forward thanks to an £8.8 million funding boost. ... The study, carried out by Network Rail, will provide options for funders to increase rail capacity and provide improvements for both freight and passenger services from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn, Ipswich to Peterborough and Felixstowe to Nuneaton and beyond." Neil Darwin, chief executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, tells the Wisbech Standard: “This is very much preparatory work to ensure that when the next control period – which is run by Network Rail – comes through, we are at the front of the queue for the significant funding we need for the work to happen. It’s an important day in actually making sure we position this going forward.” The paper reports: "The funding was initially announced when Justice Secretary Ms Truss chaired a rail summit meeting at Downham Market town hall in January. There Network Rail announced their hopes to increase the number of trains going through the junction from six to 11 an hour. Other planned improvements include eight-carriage trains, platform expansions and level-crossing assessments."

Friday 24 March 2017 - "West Norfolk rail services boost" reports radio station KLFM96.7. "Plans to improve rail services from West Norfolk have moved a step forward. ... If [Ely is] upgraded it will allow longer and more frequent services from King's Lynn to London. The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and New Anglia LEP are funding a feasibility study -which will be carried out by Network Rail. It will provide options to increase rail capacity and provide improvements for both freight and passenger services from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn."

Friday 24 March 2017 - "Vital Ely Rail Project on Track" is the heading of a news statement issued by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership today.

Friday 24 March 2017 - "Improvement plans at Ely North move forward with £8.8m LEP investment" reports Rail Technology Magazine. "The rail network in East Cambridgeshire is set to receive a £8.8m cash injection from two Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the area who will fund studies into improving services in the region, including at Ely North Junction. Network Rail will carry out the studies, which will outline plans to increase rail capacity and upgrades to rail and freight services from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn, Ipswich to Peterborough and Felixstowe to Nuneaton. Of the total investment, £3.3m will be provided by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP and New Anglia LEP each to fund the work, whilst the Strategic Freight Network will contribute £2.2m for the proposed works." South West Norfolk Liz Truss MP, who has campaigned for upgrades to Ely North Junction since 2015, tells the magazine that "she was 'delighted' that funding had been confirmed by the LEPs for preparatory work on the Ely North junction and its adjacent roads and level crossings." She says: "This is a project I first raised with the Department for Transport in 2011, meeting rail ministers as well as lobbying the transport secretary on the significant benefits of upgrading the rail junction ... During the past two years, I have held rail summits pressing for all parties to work together so that a clear understanding of what will be needed in terms of costs and design can be produced” Truss explained.” Rail Technology Magazine adds: "The justice secretary also gave credit to the local councils, Network Rail as well as the LEPs and rail companies along with the Department for Transport who had engaged so successfully with the task," quoting her as saying: “Meeting every month under the Chairmanship of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council leader Ray Harding, they ensured the scheme remained on track with all necessary expenses fully accounted for ... This is a key infrastructure project in the east that will provide a fantastic boost not only to the economy of South West Norfolk but the wider region as well. Work can start on developing the scheme in a couple of weeks and will take 24 months to complete. This will then place the Ely Area Enhancement Project at the front of the queue for the next round of government funding.” Richard Schofield, route managing director for NR’s Anglia route tells the magazine that "the news was a 'fantastic example of the power of local decision making and devolution'".

Friday 24 March 2017 - "More than £8m agreed to fund Ely North Junction improvements. The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the New Anglia LEP have agreed to chip in £3.3m each towards technical and feasibility work into improvements around the Ely north junction. The study, [to be] carried out by Network Rail, will provide options for funders to increase rail capacity and provide improvements for both freight and passenger services from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn, Ipswich to Peterborough and Felixstowe to Nuneaton and beyond" writes Chris Bishop in the Eastern Daily Press. The paper says: "Campaigners say that it will unlock a significant barrier to economic growth in the region, by allowing more freight and passenger services to run on key routes. The LEPs were approached for funding following the government’s decision to defer work on additional capacity through Ely in 2015", and adds: "A further £2.2m will be contributed towards the project by the government’s Strategic Freight Network, which funds improvements to services." The EDP reports that "The £8m investment will also fund a business case, to demonstrate the value of investment by government and other potential funders."

Friday 24 March 2017 - Covering today's news of the funding for the necessary Ely Area upgrade, the Cambridge News reports: "Railways in East Cambridgeshire are set to benefit from an £8.8 million cash injection - improving services through Ely. The project, the first of its kind in the UK, will see both the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and New Anglia LEP fund new rail studies into the region, including Ely North Junction." South East Cambridgeshire MP and Lucy Frazer member of the Ely Area Taskforce says: “I am delighted that the LEPs have come together to support funding to help progress the development of Ely junction to increase the train capacity for both passengers and freight." South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss adds: “I am delighted that funding has now been confirmed by the LEPs for the preparatory work on the Ely North rail junction along with the adjacent roads and level crossings. During the past two years, I have held rail summits pressing for all parties to work together so that a clear understanding of what will be needed in terms of costs and design can be produced." Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP chairman Mark Reeve tells the Cambridge News: “Work to improve the Ely North Junction is critical for unlocking economic growth across not only the LEP area, but across the whole of the East. By working together with New Anglia LEP and Network Rail we are meeting the Government’s challenge to fund feasibility work locally to accelerate the delivery of this scheme.”

Friday 24 March 2017 - "Faster rail links to and from East Cambridgeshire to bring 'significant economic growth' - Ely's long awaited rail improvements are now on track to boost the local economy" writes Anna Savva in the Ely Standard. The newspaper says: "Railways in East Cambridgeshire are set to benefit from an £8.8 million cash injection - improving services through Ely. The project, the first of its kind in the UK, will see both the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and New Anglia LEP fund new rail studies into the region, including Ely North Junction. Network Rail will carry out the work to outline plans for increasing rail capacity and improvements for freight and passenger services from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn, Ipswich to Peterborough and Felixstowe to Nuneaton."

Wednesday 22 March 2017 - The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership meets today to consider the Ely Capacity Enhancement Scheme (item 7).

Tuesday 21 March - A presentation given to the Thameslink Programme Stakeholder Reference Group today contains background information about the deployment dates of GTR's new train fleets and other background information.

Thursday 16 March 2017 - The government publishes the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal, "giving Cambridgeshire and Peterborough greater control over transport,..." The text of the Devolution Deal states the following: "Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is a world leader in science and technology, with unparalleled levels of cutting edge research, growth businesses and highly skilled jobs. The area is already a significant net contributor to the UK economy ... Providing world class connectivity and transport systems, fit for the 21st Century – that connects passengers and freight between Cambridge, Peterborough, our network of market towns and the rest of the country [Page 3]. ... 26. … We recognise that Ely North Junction scheme area capacity improvements provide a key opportunity to open up East Anglia and deliver significant economic value and improve connectivity. Government will work with local stakeholders and Network Rail to deliver the required upgrade commencing work in Control Period 6 (2019-24) [Pages 10/11]. ... 31. In order to maximise the important connections Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has in all directions, and its position as a cross roads of Eastern England, Government commits to work towards replacing rolling stock as part of the new Greater Anglia franchise. Government also commits to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London via Cambridge. The Combined Authority will make the case for improvements to the Thameslink Great Northern Franchise, … Page 12]."

Wednesday 15 March 2017 - We are pleased to announce that issue 1/2017 of our newsletter, The Fenman, has now been published and Members who receive this electronically have been sent their copy. We will be posting printed copies over the next few days to those Members who receive their copies this way. The Fenman issue 1/2017 is now available in the Members' section.

Wednesday 15 March 2017 - " Seven storey office block and 200 bed hotel to be built next to Cambridge North station " says Tom Pilgrim in the Cambridge News, "A seven storey green office block and 222 hotel bed are set to feature in a new business 'quarter' around Cambridge's newest railway station. The new city district business is due to spring up around Cambridge North station that will welcome its first passengers on May 21." Simon Wallis, development director at developers Brookgate told the newspaper: ""There is interest in the market for a hotel in this area. Because it's next to the station it's got an immediate attraction." Architects Perkins + Will estimate that at full capacity the proposed high rise office "could accommodate around 900 workers."

Wednesday 15 March 2017 - Also writing in the Cambridge News, Anna Savva reports: "Plans to change 29 Cambridgeshire level crossings submitted to Government. Network Rail say closing or modifying level crossings will improve safety and reduce delays to trains, pedestrians and motorists." Her article contains a copy of NR's location map of the final set of level crossing proposals in Cambridgeshire. Please note this set includes all proposals for Cambridgeshire crossings, including those not on the Fen Line.

Tuesday 14 March 2017 - "I have pulled together a programme board to really move things forward with a new train station at Addenbrooke’s hospital" writes South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen on her website.

Tuesday 14 March 2017 - Network Rail issues a news release about its proposals for level crossing modifications and closures across Cambridgeshire (see news item below, dated Wednesday 8 March 2017). NR sets out how Objections, representations and letters of support can be made to the Secretary of State for Transport, pointing out that these must be received by Tuesday 25 April 2017. The Association will be making representations of support in respect of proposals which directly affect Kings Lynn-Kings Cross services (see news items below, dated Wednesday 7 December 2016 and Monday 19 September 2016).

Tuesday 14 March 2017 - the Railway Heritage Trust issues an update on Downham Market station, which is being repainted in Network SouthEast colours. Photographer David McDonald has published a set of photographs of Downham Market station here [these show the subsequently installed Network SouthEast signs].

Friday 10 March 2017 - Anna Savva writes in the Cambridge News: "How £36 million Ely bypass will help ease congestion as work begins. A sod cutting ceremony marked the start of work on Ely Southern bypass yesterday [Thursday] afternoon.... Alongside contractors VolkerFitzpatrick, the event was attended, by representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Network Rail, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and MP Lucy Frazer. Set to open in spring 2018, the road has been designed to alleviate a congestion blighted area of the city which currently grid-locks Ely and will include two new bridges to cross the River Ouse and its flood plain, as well as additional railway lines." The newspaper reports: "Once complete it is projected the road will reduce journey times between A10 and Stuntney Causeway by up to 56 per cent for drivers. It will also reduce delays for motorists leaving Ely station by 50 per cent during rush hour." Richard Schofield, Network Rail's Managing Director, Anglia Route, says: "The work on the Ely bypass will make a huge difference to the way people travel in this area. It will enable us to remove a level crossing at the station, which is the first step to changing the way trains travel through the constrained Ely area as we continue to improve the railway as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan."

Friday 10 March 2017 - Network Rail replies to Rupert Moss-Eccardt regarding his request for an Internal Review into his Freedom of Information Request concerning "Queen Adelaide Survey Procurement Support Documentation." (See news item below, dated Sunday 15 January 2017). NR concludes: "... the public interest favours maintaining the exception, and that the requested information should be withheld at this time." We note that NR's reply contains the following background information: "the specific policy in development is the proposed Ely Area Capacity Enhancement scheme, which is intended to address a number of existing constraints on rail capacity in the Ely area. Included in the scope of the scheme are headway reductions, the doubling of Ely North Junction, track layout changes at Ely, bridge strengthening and level crossings. The Queen Adelaide level crossings are a fundamental constraint on freight and passenger capacity, as well as journey time, over the cross-country corridor via Ely between Norwich, Ipswich and Peterborough, and the West Anglia Main Line for services from Liverpool Street station and Kings Cross. The Queen Adelaide crossings therefore form one of a number of interdependent elements within this wider scheme. ... information pertaining to the Queen Adelaide crossings cannot only be evaluated in a local context – in terms of impact on local residents – but also needs to be considered in terms of the crossings’ wider fundamental role in facilitating socio-economic growth in the Anglia region, and ultimately enabling an increase in both freight and passenger capacity in the Anglia Route."

Thursday 9 March 2017 - The inauguration of construction of the Ely Southern Bypass today was marked by the Ely Standard, which reports: "The new £36 million road, which is expected to be completed by spring 2018, aims to reduce journey times for drivers between the A10 and Stuntney Causeway by up to 56 per cent, and it is hoped to slice delays around the city’s rail station in half."

Wednesday 8 March 2017 - Network Rail publishes notice of its proposed Network Rail (Cambridgeshire) Level Crossing Reduction Order (see news items below, particularly those of Wednesday 7 December 2016 and Monday 19 September 2016)

Tuesday 6 March 2017 - The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP board meets to consider investment proposals for Ely Area [rail] Improvements (item 5i).

Monday 6 March 2017 - "Three local politicians join forces to push for upgrade to Ely North rail junction" writes Kath Sansom in the Ely Standard. "Elizabeth Truss MP joined Lucy Frazer MP and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayoral candidate, Councillor James Palmer, at Ely Railway station. Ms Truss has been pressing for the upgrade of the rail junction to take place as quickly as possible. Elizabeth said: 'Significant progress has been made and we are now ready to secure funding to develop the scheme. The LEPs have in principle agreed this money. It will take two years to get the preparatory work done but it means that we will be at the front of the queue in the government’s next spending round. This is a key rail intersection in the eastern region, serving many freight and passenger routes. Once it is upgraded it will allow for a half hourly service on the Fen Line, improved services on the Thetford route, and will enable increased movement of the high value freight trains. The benefits to the economy have been calculated in excess of £0.5 billion so I am delighted that the mayoral candidate, Cllr James Palmer, is joining local MPs in pressing for the scheme to be started as soon as possible.’" The newspaper continues: "In a letter to the Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP and New Anglia LEP, Ms Truss has urged that funding be agreed as soon as possible so that work on the scoping study for the junction and surrounding roads can begin."

Sunday 5 March 2017 - We have produced a document showing 'Fen Line - May 2017 EXPECTED passenger timings' which includes stops at the new Cambridge North station. We have also produced 'Fen Line peak journeys to/from London and Cambridge - our requests.' Both these documents are in the Members' section. These matters will be discussed in The Fenman issue 1/2017; this is expected to be sent to Association members in mid to late March.

Friday 3 March 2017 - Ben Comber reports: "Push to get Cambridge North station services to Peterborough and Stansted" in the Cambridge Independent. He writes: Timetables will next be reviewed in December 2017. ... The following services will be stopping at Cambridge North from May 2017: * Greater Anglia: Norwich to Cambridge (hourly) *Greater Anglia: London Liverpool Street to Cambridge North (hourly) *Great Northern: King’s Cross to Ely (hourly) *Great Northern: King’s Cross to Cambridge North (hourly). The King’s Lynn 8-car scheme currently under development will allow for additional services because, at present, King’s Lynn services are too overloaded to accommodate extra passengers at Cambridge North during peak hours."

Thursday 2 March 2017 - Cambridge City Council's North Area Committee receives progress reports from Network Rail and Greater Anglia - a YouTube video of the meeting can be found here.

Thursday 2 March 2017 - "MP joins forces with City Council chief to campaign to connect new railway station" reports Cambridge Network. "Daniel Zeichner MP has joined forces with Cllr Lewis Herbert, Labour Leader of Cambridge City Council, to campaign for the Cross Country service between Peterborough and Stansted to stop at the new Cambridge North railway station." Daniel Zeichner says: “ Once the railway timetable is reviewed again in December 2017, I will be pressing the Government to realise Cambridge North’s potential as a strategic hub for the benefit of both our city and the sub-region.” Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council says: “The opening of Cambridge North station is a massive bonus for local residents and workers based in north Cambridge but we need a continuing increase in the trains stopping there and I will be working with Daniel, the City Deal and the new incoming Mayor to persuade Cross Country and other train operating companies. One of our core aims from devolution is sharing Cambridge’s prosperity with our wider sub-region and that includes making it far easier for key workers to travel to and from Cambridge by train from affordable housing near rail stations across Cambridgeshire and beyond."

The Cambridge Network reports: "The following services will be stopping at Cambridge North from May 2017:

"Greater Anglia: Norwich to Cambridge (hourly)

"Greater Anglia: London Liverpool Street to Cambridge North (hourly)

"Great Northern: King’s Cross to Ely (hourly)

"Great Northern: King’s Cross to Cambridge North (hourly)

"The King’s Lynn 8-car scheme currently under development will allow for additional services because, at present, King’s Lynn services are too overloaded to accommodate extra passengers at Cambridge North during peak hours."

The new Cambridge North station will be discussed in The Fenman issue 1/2017; this is expected to be sent to Association members in mid to late March.

Thursday 2 March 2017 - Tom Pilgrim reports "calls for Peterborough and Stansted Airport trains to call at Cambridge North" in the Cambridge News. [The Association understands that the timetable for when the station opens is an initial service and that King's Lynn-King's Cross services cannot stop there until the Cambridge-King's Lynn 8-car scheme (train lengthening) is completed as these trains are already too overcrowded. We call for the earliest implementation of this scheme].

Wednesday 1 March 2017 - East Cambridgeshire District Council approves planning application 16/01729/F3M for "extension and improvements to Littleport station car park" with conditions. The formal decision notice and the report considered by the Planning Committee are on the District's Council's website [See news item dated Tuesday 21 February 2017 below].

Wednesday 1 March 2017 - The New Anglia Local Transport Body meets today and considers a report on "Ely Area Capacity Enhancement Scheme Business Case Approval (item 3). The report recommends that: "... that the Local Transport Body recommends to the LEP Board to approve a contribution of £3.3million for Network Rail to complete an outline business case (feasibility study) for the Ely Area Enhancement Scheme...."

Tuesday 28 February 2017 - " Cambridge North Station on track as 450 space car park is finished" reports Freya Leng in the Cambridge News. "Nearly 2,000 hours were spent building the new space which comprises more than 600,000 paving stones in an area spanning more than 12,000sq m - equivalent to the size of two football pitches. ... Work continues to fit-out the main station building," continue the article, " with a ticket office and retail units while new road surfaces and the public square are also currently under construction. It is anticipated the new station will handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day. In the coming months, work will focus on completing the interior of the main building, the cycle shelter and electrical works, before the station opens."

Tuesday 28 February 2017 - "Rail operating profit [before amortisation] fell 35.0% to £26.9m, owing to losses at GTR and known bid costs. Contribution to the DfT of £42.9m" reports the Go-Ahead Group in its Half-year Results today.

Monday 27 February 2017 - The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP Local Transport Panel considers a report (item 4) on Ely Area Rail Improvements with a view to recommending the LEP to contribute to funding for feasibility works.

Monday 27 February 2017 - The Secretary of State for Defence and Urban&Civic Plc have submitted an outline planning application for up to 6,500 dwellings and associated 'new town' facilities at Waterbeach, ref.S/0559/17/OL, sited on the former barracks and airfield. A six-week public consultation on the plans has been launched today by South Cambridgeshire District Council. The District Council has produced broad summaries of what is proposed and of details of public exhibitions and consultation opportunities here and here. The Application Guide may be considered a useful starting point for studying the extensive proposals. The Cambridge News quotes Urban&Civic's Chief Executive Nigel Hugill as saying: "Outside London, Waterbeach is the best brownfield site in the country. Three miles from the Cambridge Science Park with some of the most dynamic employment in the world, Waterbeach can help meet a demonstrable shortage of accessible accommodation in the north of the city, both from an expanding workforce and local residents who have lived here for generations. We've always been clear that this isn't a new town. It's part of Waterbeach" and reports that: "With a population of just over 5,000, residents of the village [Waterbeach] could see this more than treble if the new development becomes fully occupied." Urban&Civic's 'Waterbeach Barracks' website can be found here.

A new town at Waterbeach would have considerable implications for rail services. Chapter 9 - Transport of the Environmental Statement states the following:

"The village of Waterbeach currently benefits from a railway station located to the southeast of the village. The station is located on the King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross line, approximately 1.4km to the south-east of the site (or 1.2km as the crow flies)[Paragraph 9.5.15].

"Waterbeach Station is a relatively short walk from the village centre. It is approximately a 15-inute walk from the Barracks [Paragraph 9.5.16].

"Journey times from Waterbeach to Cambridge are 6-9 minutes. Great Northern services to London King’s Cross can complete the journey in 59 minutes but a more typical journey time is 63-65 minutes – longer in the peak times and evenings. Greater Anglia services to London Liverpool Street are much slower at 84-99 minutes [Paragraph 9.5.27].

"The [transport] schemes that will have most impact of the Application Site include: ... Cambridge North Station, ... Train lengthening Cambridge to Kings Lynn ... [Paragraph 9.3.29].

"... during the first five years the Applicants are keen to implement early phases of development alongside deliverable non-strategic sustainable led infrastructure, with strategic interventions following, during the longer term. ... 1,600 dwellings [is] the threshold [following which] strategic interventions are required. ... non strategic interventions [i.e. shorter-term measures, include] ... Improvements at Existing Waterbeach Station including longer platforms [Paragraph 9.7.6].

"The proposed development construction is anticipated to take approximately 20 years and therefore be [fully] complete by 2037 at the earliest [Paragraph 9.24].

"... development of the remainder of the [growth] allocation at Waterbeach (the land to the east of the application site / between the development and the railway) has been considered ... to understand the likely cumulative impact. This represents the remainder of the Local Plan allocation of housing at Waterbeach and the cumulative impact has been undertaken on the basis of a further 3,500 dwellings being constructed [Paragraph 9.9.3].

"... a relocated station at Waterbeach on land controlled by RLW [in the longer-term and the additional land referred to in paragraph 9.9.3] is assumed and will provide benefit to significant growth at Waterbeach.[Paragraph 9.7.17]."

The above is not a full summary of the very extensive planning application documentation. The potential Waterbeach new town will be discussed in The Fenman issue 1/2017; this is expected to be sent to Association members in mid to late March.

Sunday 26 February 2017 - "We need to be considerably more visionary to account for Cambridge Biomedical Campus" says Chris Rand in the Ely Standard. It already hosts 15,000 employees, but the total could be double that by 2030. To put things in context, that’s more than the population of Thetford or Newmarket or Huntingdon. Most will be travelling to the site each day. And in addition there will be thousands of patients and visitors. ... We’re expecting a Cambridge South railway station around 2020, which is a great start. ... Affordable ‘key worker’ accommodation is planned for the development at Waterbeach barracks, but that will necessitate major improvements to Waterbeach station."

Friday 24 February 2017 - "On behalf of Thameslink and Great Northern I would like to apologise to our passengers who had very difficult journeys yesterday and this morning because of the widespread disruption caused by Storm Doris. Almost all rail networks in the country were affected. The number and severity of incidents across our network was unprecedented in recent years" writes Stuart Cheshire Passenger Service Director, Thameslink and Great Northern. "On Great Northern, trees and debris were blown on to the line in many places and at one point we could only run trains between Letchworth Garden City and King's Cross. What we believe was a large section of a warehouse roof was blown onto the line at Sandy; a tree fell across the line at Meldreth; and overhead lines at Downham Market were damaged. The Fen Line between Cambridge and King's Lynn had to close, as did the route into Moorgate, and we could not access the Hertford Loop section of our route for much of the day. Speed restrictions were in place north of Hitchin for much of the day. We brought in buses where we could and arranged for our passengers' tickets to be accepted on local buses and other rail operators, including the Underground for people travelling closer to London. The national impact of the storm meant there was a shortage of buses to call upon. In some locations e.g. Cambridge, we were able to call upon a large number of taxis to assist with onward journeys. We regret that the effects of the storm continued into this morning, with speed restrictions owing to damaged overhead lines, and displaced trains unable to reach their normal starting points, resulting in a number of cancellations. ... As you will appreciate, after such a major incident we always review, with Network Rail, how we coped and what process improvements we could make for our passengers in such circumstances, particularly the flow of information to them. We encourage passengers who were delayed to claim compensation at www.thameslinkrailway.com/delayrepay ."

Friday 24 February 2017 - New trains in service! Almost unnoticed in the light of the havoc of yesterday's storm damage, one of the new 110 mph air-conditioned class 387 trains worked the 2244 King's Cross-Ely Fen Line service today. We are indebted to FLUA Member Martin Thorne for this information. The class 387 train is recorded as arriving 2 minutes early; these class 387 trains are due to be introduced en masse on Fen Line services from May.

Wednesday 22 February 2017 - Chris Starkie, Managing Director of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, reports to the LEP Board today. His report (Agenda item 6, page 93 of 119) covers the Ely Area Taskforce Summit (see news items dated Friday 27 January 2017 below). Mr Starkie says: "In order to speed up this [feasibility] process and ensure funding is available, New Anglia LEP, GCGP LEP and the rail freight industry have been approached to fund the design work – taking it to a stage where development can begin. The LEPs have been asked for £3.3m each, with the rail industry pledging £2.2m or 25 per cent of the cost. A business case for the project is being worked up and will be considered by the LEP’s Local Transport Body on March 1st. If the LTB recommends support for the project, a paper will be brought to the March 22nd LEP board for consideration."

Tuesday 21 February 2017 - "Planners set to give 80 more parking spaces at Littleport rail station the go-ahead" says Seb Pearce in the Ely Standard, "The spaces, which have been subject of a campaign by Littleport Parish Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council, will be recommended for approval at the district council’s planning committee meeting on March 1." The article continues: "Littleport district and parish Councillor David Ambrose-Smith said: 'This is fantastic news for local residents as well as those looking to relocate to Littleport. The extra spaces will ease congestion around the station gateway and will provide a direct link into the new station at Cambridge’s Science Park once opened. This is yet another good news story for Littleport which will help revitalise the town and make it an attractive place to live.'” [Planning application 16/01729/F3M will be determined by East Cambridgeshire District Council's Planning Committee on Wednesday 1 March 2017 - Item 6].

Tuesday 21 February 2017 - County Councillor Susan Van de Ven reports that Network Rail is no longer promoting its proposals for Barrington Road level crossing, Foxton (see news item dated Thursday 15 December 2016 below). She says: "We’ve now heard from the Network Rail Route Managing Director that the proposal has been withdrawn. It’s good to know that in the end, Network Rail has listened and changed its mind. Network Rail has also acknowledged criticism that it has dropped the ball in addressing the overall problem of the level crossing, expressed in its own feasibility study for closing the crossing and looking at new ways of moving people and traffic over the tracks."

Thursday 16 February 2017 - Josh Thomas of the Cambridge News reports today: " New city 'quarter' with business district, hotel and public square planned for Cambridge North station. ... Councillors met yesterday (Wednesday, February 15) at the joint development control committee to listen to a pre-planning presentation on behalf of Brookgate, the company currently developing the CB1 area near Cambridge railway station. Brookgate is hoping to develop the station square and a new business district around Cambridge’s new railway station, Cambridge North, which is due to open in May. The proposals include an 'urban residential quarter' close to the station and a 1,000,000 sqft business park, hotel, retail sector, station square, and public space. ... Simon Wallis, development director at Brookgate said: 'The first trains will be arriving at the new station in late May. We would hope to have our proposals submitted before then.'”

Wednesday 15 February 2017 - "Commuting to Cambridge by rail about to get easier, councillors say" reports Tali Iserles in 'Spotted in Ely' today, continuing . "A new car park due to be built near Ely Station will make travelling to the new Cambridge North railway station much easier for Ely commuters, councillors say. As reported in Spotted in Ely earlier this month, East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee unanimously gave the green light for the new 128 space car park. The car park will be created on a one acre site, located on waste ground near the old Bowling Alley on The Dock. Cllr Bill Hunt, chair of the asset development committee said today that the car park will make commuting by rail more viable for Ely commuters, especially when the new Cambridge North railway station opens. Cllr Hunt said: 'More and more houses are being built in the local area, businesses are expanding and investing in Ely, and use of the railway station is increasing, so these car parking spaces are essential.' He said the new initiative would positively impact on the lives of commuters, as they would find it easier to find a car park and because the cost of parking would be 'significantly cheaper' than at Ely Station car park." The article concludes: "The car park is expected to be open in the autumn."

Tuesday 14 February 2017 - "Cambridge North Station creates a new gateway to Cambridge and its northern fringes. The development is expected to serve over 3,000 passengers per day, and is seen as a key piece of Cambridgeshire's transport infrastructure. ... [it will] open up access to Cambridge Science Park and several major new developments to the north of Cambridge. ... We've ensured that the passenger route through Cambridge North is clear and direct with constant views of the passenger destination, " says Quentin Doyle, Senior Architectural Designer at design, engineering and project management firm Atkins. Mr Doyle's article, 'Designed for Cambridge', is in an Atkins report 'The Value of Stations' published today.

Tuesday 14 February 2017 - Mr Moss-Eccardt replies to Network Rail, asking: "Am I correct in interpreting your response to understand that there are no suitable and sufficient risk assessments current for the crossings in question? Please note that your reply may have significant implications." He also requests an internal review of the handling of his FOI request "Queen Adelaide B1382 Level Crossings Risk Assessment." Network Rail must respond no later than Wednesday 12 April 2017.

Tuesday 14 February 2017 - Network Rail replies to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information request concerning level crossings at Queen Adelaide in the vicinity of Ely North Junction, saying, inter alia,: "Since the start of 2015, risk assessments were carried out in November 2015 for the crossings in Queen Adelaide. These were the only risk assessments prepared for the crossings in this timeframe. The assessments include information from the traffic censuses. We also hold a gap analysis summary note and a phase 2 gap analysis report. Following searches, we have been unable to locate a traffic flow analysis technical note or a scheme sketch; I understand that design work was not progressed far enough to require a scheme sketch. ... I can advise you that funding has recently been agreed to further progress work in relation to this area of the rail network, as recently reported in the media. 1 The current proposals are much larger than the scope of the project which was being considered in 2015. The documents which you have requested contain information which will be updated to cover the current scope of the scheme and therefore the information in the documents from 2015 is rendered obsolete and is likely to lead to misunderstanding if it is disclosed. 2 As explained in the newspaper report, we are still investigating the various parameters and possible options concerning the crossings and have not made a decision on how to proceed. Whilst significant funding (£8.8m) has been found for further development, we are yet to receive the funds and then go through the investment and procurement processes to start the development of the programme of works. This further development work will be combined with the risk assessments and Cambridgeshire County Council’s work on a possible solution for the roads, in order to work out what the overall solution will look like. As the County Council are still in the process of assessing the implications for roads, we consider that it would not be appropriate to disclose the risk assessments from 2015 and the supporting material, which has been superseded by these subsequent developments. 3 As explained above, we are currently in the process of formulating and developing our approach to the level crossings in Queen Adelaide. Although the requested risk assessments and the supporting information are in themselves finished documents, since they were finished we have continued to formulate our approach to the Ely North junction and the level crossings in Queen Adelaide. As explained above, the situation has recently changed since 2015 and the assessments and supporting information no longer reflect our current approach to the crossings." [See news item below, dated Saturday 28 January 2017].

At the Association's Committee Meeting held on Saturday 11 February 2017 it was "AGREED that the Association continues to support Network Rail's Level Crossing Reduction Strategy as it affects King's Lynn-King's Cross Fen Line services and to submit representations of support to the Secretary of State when an application for an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 is made."

Friday 10 February 2017 - "East Anglia region to see 'biggest ever investment' in rail improvements: Ely is set to get a large slice of the £1.4 billion investment" says the Cambridge News. "Ely is top of train operator Greater Anglia's list of £1.4 billion East Anglian rail upgrades to be delivered over the next decade. The upgrades include Ely North Junction, Queen Adelaide level crossings, as well as re-signalling and bridge strengthening to enable more frequent and reliable services. There are also proposals for an Ely to Soham double tracking project to enable more frequent freight and passenger services" reports Anna Savva today. Her report continues: "Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles is writing to stakeholders across the region, including MPs, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, chamber of commerce and rail user groups, to seek their support in making the case to government."

Wednesday 8 February 2017 - "Greater Anglia highlights key East Anglia rail infrastructure priorities" says the company. In a statement issued today, Greater Anglia announces it is "writing to stakeholders across the region (including MPs, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, chamber of commerce and rail user groups) to seek their support in making the case to government, ministers and other key decision makers for the investment to be made available to Network Rail to implement ten key schemes within the next ten years. ... Greater Anglia believes [its] priorities, ... are consistent with the East Anglian Rail Prospectus and the aims of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce, the West Anglia Taskforce, the Ely Taskforce and the Felixstowe – Nuneaton strategic freight network project ...." The priority list includes: "Felixstowe – Peterborough (and Nuneaton): *Haughley Junction upgrade (to enable more frequent and reliable services) *Ely area upgrades (including Ely North Junction, Queen Adelaide level crossings, re-signalling and bridge strengthening, to enable more frequent and reliable services) *Ely – Soham double tracking project (to enable more frequent freight and passenger services)." [Great Northern, part of Govia Thameslink Railway, not part of Greater Anglia, has a franchise commitment to introduce a "half-hourly" King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross service, and Greater Anglia itself has a franchise commitment to deliver an hourly Ipswich-Ely-Peterborough service. These are dependent on the delayed Ely North Junction upgrade and associated works in the wider Ely area]. The Eastern Daily Press covers the story here.

Tuesday 7 February 2017 - £69 million growth deal for enterprise group serving West Norfolk reports the Lynn News, "Business zones and key transport infrastructure serving the borough [King's Lynn & West Norfolk] are likely to see some of the £69 million growth deal package awarded to the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The award, which was announced by ministers on Thursday, takes the total funding awarded to the LEP to more than £290 million. The newspaper points out: "The growth deal announcement comes only days after the group stated its intention to provide £3.3 million of funding towards a study of the work needed to upgrade the Ely north rail junction.

Saturday 4 February 2017 - Greater Anglia Managing Director Jamie Burles tells MPs and business leaders that "Ely North junction remained the biggest priority for the franchise to open up the region’s railways" reports today's Eastern Daily Press. Mr Burles was speaking at a Norfolk Chamber of Commerce event, held to discuss connectivity. "Mr Burles said Greater Anglia would be installing new mobile phone masts along its railway lines to improve mobile signal and is negotiating with BT to improve the Wifi connections in its stations. Both initiatives, he said, would benefit both railway customers and those living near the lines and stations" says the EDP.

Friday 3 February 2017 - "Rail campaign makes 'significant progress'" reports yourlocalpaper today. "Members of a taskforce, set up a year ago to drive forward the delayed £35m Ely North junction upgrade, met last Friday for fresh talks... The summit, which included councillors, MPs, business leaders and rail representatives, heard funding had been agreed in principle for an action plan which would take two years to complete." [The plan covers the necessary advance design and planning, not construction work]. South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss, who chaired the meeting, tells yourlocalpaper: "the plan would put the project at the 'front of the Government's next spending round'." Chris Starkie, managing director of the new Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) tells the paper: "We recognised the value of this project [Ely North Junction upgrade] and its role was highlighted in our Rail Prospectus for East Anglia ... we have been asked to make a contribution of £3.3m to the project, along with our colleagues at Greater Cambridgeshire and Greater Peterborough LEP and supported by colleagues from the rail industry." Ms Truss says: "The LEPS and freight companies have, in principle, agreed this money," adding: "the junction [is] a key intersection which, once upgraded, would allow a half-hourly passenger service from King's Lynn to London ...." Ms Truss also tells yourlocalpaper: "We also discussed with the rail operators longer trains to serve peak period traffic and designs are underway to support this, particularly with stations that have shorter platforms."

Thursday 2 February 2017 - "More Parking in Ely as Change of Use is Given Go Ahead" says Mark Cooney of Spotted in Ely. "East Cambridgeshire District Council yesterday [Wednesday 1 February 2017] gave the go ahead to clear a piece of land they purchased last year behind Tesco to serve as more parking spaces in Ely and to commuters. The land on The Dock will park up to 128 cars including 8 disabled bays and 2 electrical charging points." As well as showing a potential walk-through route to Ely station, using an aerial photograph, Mr Cooney also writes: "Leading the way on this project is Councillor Bill Hunt and he is keen to get the project started according to councillors this evening." [See news item dated Monday 30 January 2017 below].

Wednesday 1 February 2017 - Today the Cambridge News reports: "New railway station in Cambridge could be built without public money. Work is ongoing to develop a business case for the new station, but investors say their preferred scenario would be to develop the site themselves. ... A meeting was held on Monday to explore the possibility of private funding for a new station near Addenbrooke’s. Investment company, John Laing Infrastructure is looking at the viability of developing the site themselves. It is hoped private funding would accelerate the development of the station. Tony Cahill, investment manager at John Laing Infrastructure said their ideal position would be if they could invest in building the station without having to build any additional infrastructure." Mr Cahill tells the Cambridge News: "there was still a lot of work to be done to model use of the station and understand what kind of delays a new station would create on the line. 'We are hoping there will be massive demand for the new station. We feel the business case is definitely there. Local people on the campus want to use the station. There is already a suppressed demand there. There is no doubt a business case will work, it is just the technical side that needs work. Ideally, we would develop it ourselves if it can be done without other enhancements to the local network.'” The newspaper continues: "Dr Andy Williams, VP for Cambridge strategy and operations at AstraZeneca, was present at the meeting. A spokeswoman for AstraZeneca said a new station would help staff once AstraZeneca moved to the biomedical campus in 2018." And a Network Rail spokeswoman tells the Cambridge News: “We’re working with stakeholders including Heidi Allen MP, AstraZeneca and John Laing who are potentially looking to fund a station on the biomedical science campus in south Cambridge. This is a third party scheme, and we’re working through the implications that building a station at this location would have on the current timetable and future demands.”

AstraZeneca made a presentation about their Cambridge site to Cambridge City Council in July 2014 and their presentation is helpful in understanding the size and implications of their development, now under construction and visible from Fen Line trains. Another document, Cambridge Biomedical Campus: Implications of new construction, on site access and circulation, is published by the Biomedical Campus.

As well as supporting King's Lynn-King's Cross trains stopping at the new Cambridge North station, due to open on Sunday 21 May 2017, the Association's policy is also to "support stops at Finsbury Park (excellent connectivity to the Thameslink Core, the City and the West End) and at any future Cambridge South/Biomedical Campus/Addenbrooke's station." See news item dated Friday 2 December 2016 below. See also our document Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains, published on Monday 14 March 2016.

Tuesday 31 January 2017 - "‘Don’t forget Wisbech rail’ plea ... The benefits of reviving Wisbech’s rail link must not be forgotten as the campaign to improve the region’s network goes on, politicians say" reports the Fenland Citizen. The paper continues: "The warning came as plans for multi-million pound studies of upgrades to routes around Ely and Soham were outlined at a regional summit in Downham Market on Friday. Around £8.8 million will be spent on analysis of the work needed to increase capacity of the Ely North junction, subject to approval from regional business leaders. A further £2.5 million will examine the scheme to dual the track between Ely and Soham, a key route for freight traffic from Felixstowe. But Cambridgeshire County Council leader Steve Count, who also chairs the new shadow combined authority for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, suggested the talks did not take the ambition to put Wisbech back onto the rail network into proper account." Mr Count tells the Fenland Citizen: “The benefits are not just economic. They’re social and they’re worth fighting for.” The newspaper reports: "A statement read on behalf of North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay, who missed the meeting on government business at Westminster, said he was committed to supporting both schemes." The article continues: "He added: 'After many conversations with ministers, and understanding the close links between the importance of Wisbech rail and Ely junction, their expectation is that both projects should be looked at as individual opportunities.' The concerns were raised as it was revealed future expansion was likely to be needed at Ely even if the current scheme is completed. Network Rail officials said the present project was felt to be a 'good medium term option.' ... Representatives of Great Northern and Greater Anglia argued priority should be given to their plans for extra services from King’s Lynn to London and Ipswich to Peterborough, running through March, respectively, because they have already committed to them in their franchise agreements. But Mr Count, who also chairs the new shadow combined authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that is due to begin work later this year, said he may find it difficult to make a financial commitment if he felt the area was not getting a fair share of the benefits."

Tuesday 31 January 2017 - " Longer trains will come to West Norfolk, but not yet, summit is told." Leading a full-page [page 6] about West Norfolk rail services, New Editor Allister Webb's article continues: "Rail firm must deliver on December 2018 pledge, MP warns. ... The current aspiration is for eight-carriage services to run all the way to Lynn, with work both to extend platforms at smaller stations and selectively lock carriages from which passengers cannot step onto a platform. But, although industry officials had previously expressed an aim to introduce longer trains during 2016, Friday’s rail summit in Downham was told they now expect to start running eight-carriage units by December 2018. Chris Rowley, of Network Rail, said: 'We know overcrowding at peak times is a big issue and something that’s been flagged up for years. The bottom line is the development is proceeding well. We’re going for permission next week to progress to detailed design work. From a standing start last year when we had to relay bad news, we still expect to be able to deliver an eight-car railway by the end of this control period (2018-19).'" North West Norfolk MP, Sir Henry Bellingham, tells the newspaper: “We’ve got to absolutely hold their feet to the fire. That is going to solve the problem of massive congestion. At the moment it’s almost sort of Third World standards." [There are a very small number of 8-car King's Lynn-King's Cross services running currently, but these do not stop at Watlington, Littleport or Waterbeach, where the platforms are too short. Most London trains attach/detach 4 cars at Cambridge and serve King's Lynn as single 4-car units. Resolution of the, at times severe, overcrowding by running longer trains to/from Kings Lynn is a long-established aspiration of the Association].

Monday 30 January 2017 - The Ely Standard says: "Room for 128 vehicles, Ely’s latest car park - on a one acre piece of scrubland near the rail station - set for approval. ...senior planning officers, in recommending it for approval, believe the additional parking offered far outweighs any disadvantages. Their conclusion is that it would afford extra parking for [Ely] rail commuters and they expect little extra congestion since most cars will be parked there through a large period of the day. Parking for up to 128 vehicles will be provided including eight disabled bays and two parking spaces will have electrical charging points." [Planning application 16/01159/FU3 will be considered by East Cambridgeshire Planning Committee on Wednesday 1 February 2017. The report to the Planning Committee can be seen here].

Monday 30 January 2017 - The Lynn News says "Millions set to fund studies of East Anglia rail upgrade plans ... A multi-million pound package has been drawn up to pay for detailed analysis of the work needed to upgrade a key bottleneck on East Anglia’s rail network. ... MPs have called for the pressure towards an improved network to be maintained during a summit meeting with council chiefs, business leaders and rail industry officials." West Norfolk Council chief executive Ray Harding, who chairs a task force set up to look into the issues, told the Lynn News that significant progress had been made over the past year and urged all parties to maintain the momentum. He said: “It’s vital to keep this partnership together, moving forward as we have over the last 12 months, with political support.” Officials from Network Rail, told the newspaper that the partnership’s efforts meant the project was now “on the front foot” to see work beginning early in the next spending round, which starts in 2019. Chris Rowley, from the group, said: “I can assure you that’s not the case everywhere. We feel a lot of progress has been made.” Mr Rowley said issues that would need to be resolved included a doubling of the tracks, the strengthening of a bridge to the north of the junction that freight trains currently have to pass over at as little as 20 miles per hour and level crossing improvements. Norfolk County Council’s principal infrastructure and economic growth planner David Cumming, said: “Ely is a blockage right across the rail network. It’s holding back the economy of East Anglia. The scale of the benefits is high.” The Lynn News also reports: "And representatives of Govia Thameslink [operators of Great Northern] and Greater Anglia called for priority to be given to their plans to expand services from King’s Lynn to Cambridge [and on to King's Cross - many new Ely-King's Cross services will operate from May] and Ipswich to Peterborough, through Bury St Edmunds, respectively, as they have been committed to in current franchise agreements."

Monday 30 January 2017 - " Cash boost could mean improvements to Ely North could begin in three years time - conference called by Liz Truss MP told". That's the headline of today's Ely Standard story. "Officials have said the proposed plans will see a £500m boost to the East Anglia economy and see half-hourly trains from King’s Lynn to London. Before the summit got under way, one MP said the region’s ageing rail network left people 'cut off from opportunity'." Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman tells the newspaper: “Ely junction is the bottleneck holding back our entire East Anglian economy, forcing passengers and freight onto our congested roads by preventing rail expansion. Our area is home to some of the most exciting new companies, jobs and opportunities but an old-fashioned, fragmented and under-funded rail network is holding us back and leaving people cut off from the opportunities. Our rail network is fundamental to spreading opportunity to all in the east. The Prime Minister is determined to build an economy that everyone has a chance in. We are committed to a new east - west rail link, but we need to clear the Ely junction to allow it to run.” Elizabeth Truss MP says: “There is a really strong political will to get this done. We are competing with the rest of the country so we need to get ahead of the queue when there are other projects in the country. It is in all of our best interests to get this started and nail down the funding programme so network rail get cracking on with the job. It is complicated but infrastructure is absolutely necessary to get right.”

Saturday 28 January 2017 - "Hopes rise over Ely junction upgrade" is the front page story of today's Eastern Daily Press, West Norfolk & Fens Weekend Edition. The full story, on page 7, is headlined "Work on rail bottleneck could begin in three years." Taz Ali reports: "Improvements to a major bottleneck on the region's railways could begin in three year's time. South West Norfolk MP and Justice Secretary Elizabeth Truss chaired a rail summit at Downham Market Town Hall yesterday. It was attended by MPs, the New Anglia and Greater Cambridge and Peterborough local enterprise partnerships and Network Rail. They heard a task force led by West Norfolk council hopes work on the Ely North junction could be included in the next round of funding for major rail projects, which runs from 2020 - 2029. Ms Truss said: 'There is a really strong political will to get this done.' ... Network Rail said hopes to increase the number of trains going through the junction from six to 11 an hour. Other planned improvements include eight-carriage trains, platform expansions and level-crossing assessments. But the biggest challenge will be designing the infrastructure ..." The EDP story goes on to report: "Both the New Anglia and Greater Cambridge and Peterborough local enterprise partnerships have agreed to put £3.3m [each] while the Freight Network is contributing £2.2m. Officials have said the proposed plans will see a £500m boost to the East Anglia economy and see half-hourly trains from King’s Lynn to London. Before the summit got under way, one MP said the region’s ageing rail network left people 'cut off from opportunity'”. [We endorse the need to further improve King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross rail services to link our areas of (relatively) cheaper housing with the two prime employment markets served by the Fen Line - Cambridge and London - better. Our document Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains was published on Monday 14 March 2016 - see news item of that date, below].

Saturday 28 January 2017 - Rupert Moss-Eccardt replies to Network Rail concerning level crossings at Queen Adelaide [see news item below, dated Friday 27 January 2017] saying: "If it is feasible within the resources you have reasonably available I should like all the support material you have indicated. However if that would take this request beyond the resources you must or choose to expend then I should like them in the following order of priority (first one mentioned being the highest):*All Level Crossing Risk Model (ALCRM) risk assessment results for various options; *Gap Analysis Summary Note; *Traffic flow analysis technical note; *Phase 2 Gap Analysis Report; *Traffic censuses; *Scheme Sketch. I see that you mention ALCRM. If other risk assessments have been performed they should also be included." Network Rail will reply to Mr Moss-Eccardt no later than Friday 24 February 2017.

Friday 27 January 2017 - Network Rail responds to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information request in respect of level crossings at Queen Adelaide [see news item below, dated Tuesday 17 January 2017} saying: "I have reviewed your request and consulted with experts within Network Rail, but I cannot identify the information you require from the details you have provided. To help me meet your request, I would be grateful if you could provide further details, specifically what information you are seeking when you request ‘supporting data used for such assessment’. I understand that supporting data for the risk assessments might include the following:  Scheme sketch;  Phase 2 Gap Analysis Report;  Gap Analysis Summary Note;  Traffic flow analysis technical note;  All Level Crossing Risk Model (ALCRM) risk assessment results for various options;  Traffic censuses. Please can you let me know if your request for supporting data would cover all of these items, whether you only wish to request some of these, or whether you are requesting something else? "

Friday 27 January 2017 - BBC Look East political correspondent says: "Ely junction plans 'will take a while'." On the BBC Look east evening news, Andrew Sinclair asks: "It is probably the most strategically important junction in the region, it’s certainly the most congested - but when will Ely North be improved?" Cambridgeshire County Council leader, Councillor Steve Count tells Look East: "This is hugely frustrating. It has a lengthy process to it." Andrew Sinclair says: "The £200 million junction improvement would make it possible to run more trains from King’s Lynn to Cambridge and on to London, ..." and Elizabeth Truss MP adds: "This scheme would generate £500 million for the local area. In my view, it absolutely has to be done because we need to open up the line to Kings Lynn to be able to have half-hourly services, ...." In reporting that "local businesses have committed almost £8 million to pay for a scoping study, in the hope that it’ll speed up the design and planning process" and standing at Downham Market station level crossing, Andrew Sinclair concludes: "There is a real determination to see this junction upgraded ... the reality is that it is still likely to be several years before we even have a start date for the work."

Friday 27 January 2017 - " New trains tested on Lynn route" reports YourLocalPaper today. "The first train in Great Northern’s modern new fleet is being tested without passengers on the King’s Lynn route," says the newspaper. "Complete with air conditioning, the new trains are to enter service later this year, replacing many of the existing trains. Features include two-by-two seating with tables, power points at every seat and fully-accessible toilets. ... The project is part of an overall plan to replace almost all the trains on the Great Northern route by 2020."

Friday 27 January 2017 - "Cash from LEP poised to break the deadlock over funding next stage of Ely North, Soham and Wisbech to March rail hopes" says John Elworthy in the Ely Standard. "Neil Darwin, LEP’s chief executive, unveiled proposals at a rail ‘summit’ in Downham Market that would see nearly £9 million pumped into three key projects. The offer includes: * £3.3 million to fund a business case for Ely North *£2.2 million to help pay for a new station at Soham and dualling the track *£3.3 million (subject to final board approval) for the next stage of the Wisbech to March proposed reopening." Mr Darwin told the Ely Standard that the money for Soham was subject to the Department of Transport agreeing up to £2.5 million for their ‘station fund’ and the new devolved authority chipping in £2 million. "Improvements at Ely North will cost £200 million upwards says Mr Darwin – what he described as an 'astronomic sum'. But unless the work is agreed it is unlikely other rail improvements – such as the Wisbech to March line- could go ahead."

Friday 27 January 2017 - UPDATE: Chris Bishop's EDP article has been updated. Immediately following the rail summit's ending, he writes: "Talks in Downham Market hear work to end East Anglia’s rail bottleneck at Ely could begin in three years’ time." His breaking news story continues: "MPs and officials met today to discuss upgrading a key junction in Cambridgeshire. They heard £8.8m had been set aside for a feasibility study into what Network Rail regards as a complex scheme. Both the New Anglia and Greater Cambridge and Peterborough local enterprise partnerships have agreed to put £3.3m towards the work, while the Freight Network is contributing £2.2m. South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who chaired today’s meeting, said: 'This the key in fixing this junction. I want to do everything to make sure the project is ready for a chance of getting in early for control period 6.' Control Period 6 is the next round of funding for major rail projects, which runs from 2020 - 2029." Elizabeth Truss told the EDP: "We are competing with the rest of the country so we need to get ahead of the queue when there are other projects in the country. It is in all of our best interests to get this started and nail down the funding programme so Network Rail get cracking on with the job. It is complicated but infrastructure is absolutely necessary to get right.” EARLIER: Talks under way in Downham Market to end East Anglia’s rail bottleneck at Ely" reports Chris Bishop of the Eastern Daily Press. "As the summit got under way, one MP said the region’s ageing rail network left people 'cut off from opportunity'. Experts say upgrading the Ely North junction would boost East Anglia’s economy by £500m and enable trains to run half-hourly between King’s Lynn and London. Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said: “Ely junction is the bottleneck holding back our entire East Anglian economy, forcing passengers and freight onto our congested roads by preventing rail expansion." The EDP points out: "Work was due to start this year. But a review published in 2015 postponed the upgrade for up to seven years. Today’s summit comes a year after South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss hosted a meeting calling for all organisations to work together to ensure the upgrade takes place as soon as possible. Councils, LEPs, Network rail, freight and passenger train operators and Department for Transport all agreed to form a task force and work together on the scheme. The task force, led by West Norfolk council chief executive Ray Harding, will present the progress made so far today."

Thursday 26 January 2017 - Writing in the Ely Standard, Ben Jolley reports: "MPs to hold summit on £35 million Ely rail junction upgrade. Members of Parliament from the eastern region will meet in Downham Market tomorrow (Friday 27) to hold a rail summit on the upgrade of the Ely rail junction. Improvements to the junction, originally expected to cost £35 million, were due to start this year. But a review published in 2015 postponed the upgrade for up to seven years. Discussions will focus on the work required to improve road layout, level crossings and track upgrade in the Ely area. ... The original cost for the works had been estimated at £35 million; however, Network Rail said it will be substantially more due to complexities around level crossings, signalling, structures and the layout of Ely station. ... Councils, LEPs, Network Rail, freight and passenger train operators and Department for Transport all agreed to form a task force and work together on the scheme. The summit comes a year after Miss Truss hosted a meeting calling for all organisations to work together to ensure the upgrade of Ely North rail junction takes place as soon as possible." Elizabeth Truss MP tells the paper: "“After last year’s summit, a task force was formed and I know significant progress has been made in identifying the work required on the rail junction, level crossings and surrounding roads. ... Finance of the scheme has also been discussed and proposals will be presented to MPs. This is a key priority for me and my fellow MPs so we are keen to see the upgrade take place as soon as possible.” The Ely Standard article lists the routes which are served by the Ely Area and reports that Lucy Frazer MP, Jo Churchill MP, Sir Henry Bellingham MP, New Anglia LEP, Greater Cambridge and Peterborough LEP, Network Rail, Department for Transport, councils and train and freight operators will also be attending tomorrow's summit.

Thursday 26 January 2017 - "Talks are being held tomorrow on work required to improve a key rail junction" says the Eastern Daily Press. "Improvements to Ely North Junction, which were originally expected to cost £35m, would have allowed half-hourly trains to run between King's Lynn and London." The newspaper points out that the upgrade scheme was postponed but " this week’s summit [to be held at Downham Market] comes a year after South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss hosted a meeting calling for all organisations to work together to ensure the upgrade of Ely North rail junction takes place as soon as possible. The councils, LEPs, Network rail, freight and passenger train operators and Department for Transport all agreed to form a task force and work together on the scheme. The task force, led by West Norfolk council chief executive Ray Harding, will present the progress made so far at this week’s summit."

Wednesday 25 January 2017 - "Passengers give thumbs-down to quality of region's train services. Rail operators have promised to up their game after travellers hit out" writes Chris Elliott in the Cambridge News. The newspaper states: "Interviews carried out by independent watchdog Transport Focus last autumn found one in 10 people using Great Northern trains were dissatisfied with their journeys – and one in 12 Greater Anglia passengers said they were unhappy. ... Transport Focus spoke to 636 Great Northern passengers, and 1,370 using Greater Anglia." Stuart Cheshire, passenger services director for Great Northern, tells the Cambridge News: “I’m sincerely sorry our service has not been good enough. The biggest driver of satisfaction is punctuality and that has risen since this survey when we were being hit by the poor and slippery weather conditions of autumn. We also have fewer cancellations now caused by a driver vacancy gap and we are pressing ahead with our recruitment and training programme - the biggest in the UK - to further address this. Satisfaction with the trains themselves will improve too as we replace 75 per cent of the Great Northern fleet with £1 billion of new rolling stock - the first modern air-conditioned trains are already in service. And from 2018, passengers [from Cambridge] will have new direct cross-London trains to London Bridge and beyond.” Greater Anglia's Managing Director Jamie Burles says: "... Other improvements planned for the next 12 months include automatic delay repay, the installation of more ticket machines at stations, further implementation of our flexible and durable smart card tickets, the start of a wider roll-out of on-board wi-fi facilities and new great value fares. During 2019/20 we will introduce a complete fleet of new trains across our entire network to transform train service standards in East Anglia, through a £1.4 billion investment programme."

Wednesday 25 January 2017 - Radio station KLFM 96.7 runs the news story on Friday's forthcoming Downham Market Rail Summit, reporting: "Rail summit this week on Ely North Junction upgrade. The King’s Lynn to London rail line runs at half hourly at peak times, hourly at other times. Franchise commitment specified by government to deliver half hourly services throughout the day from May 2017." The radio station also says: "Attending the summit with Elizabeth will be Lucy Frazer MP, Jo Churchill MP, Sir Henry Bellingham MP, New Anglia LEP, Greater Cambridge and Peterborough LEP, Network Rail, Department for Transport, Councils and train and freight operators."

Wednesday 25 January 2017 - "MPs to hold Rail Summit on key junction in eastern region" says a release issued today by Cabinet Minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss. "Discussions will focus on the work required to improve road layout, level crossings and track upgrade in the Ely area. The rail junction is a key intersection serving both passenger and freight lines. Once the upgrade has taken place, the economic benefits have been calculated in excess of £0.5 billion. This week’s summit comes a year after South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss hosted a meeting calling for all organisations to work together to ensure the upgrade of Ely North rail junction takes place as soon as possible. The councils, LEPs, Network Rail, freight and passenger train operators and Department for Transport all agreed to form a task force and work together on the scheme. The task force, led by Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council Chief Executive Ray Harding, will present the progress made so far at this week’s summit in Downham Market." Elizabeth Truss comments: "After last year’s summit, a task force was formed and I know significant progress has been made in identifying the work required on the rail junction, level crossings and surrounding roads. Finance of the scheme has also been discussed and proposals will be presented to MPs this week. This is a key rail intersection in the eastern region, serving many freight and passenger routes, and once it is upgraded will allow for half hourly service on the Fen Line, improved services on the Thetford route, and will enable increased movement of the high value freight trains. This is a key priority for me and my fellow MPs so we are keen to see the upgrade take place as soon as possible."

Tuesday 24 January 2017 - "New trains being tested between King’s Lynn and Cambridge" writes the Eastern Daily Press' Chris Bishop today. The article says: "The first modern, air-conditioned train of Great Northern’s new fleet has started testing on the route between King’s Lynn and Cambridge. The train, which will enter service later this year, offers two-by-two seating with tables and power points throughout for those who want to work or play and charge their devices, modern passenger information systems and spaces for people in wheelchairs." The EDP has a photograph of one of the class 387 test trains at King's :Lynn station and an interior view. GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden tells the newspaper: “In just a few short years, we’ll be moving from one of the oldest fleets in the country to one of the newest.”

Tuesday 24 January 2017 - The Cambridge News reports: "Trains arriving at three Cambridgeshire stations will be longer and carry more passengers. Platform extension work to start next month and be ready by the end of August." [The stations involved, Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth] are the "village stations" between Cambridge and Royston on the main line between King's Lynn and King's Cross but are not served by Fen Line trains. The longer trains will be the new class 700 units, which will not serve the Fen Line. From May, King's Lynn-King's Cross services will be operated by 110 mph class 387 trains. See news items dated today and Friday 20 January 2017].

Friday 20 January 2017 - Today's Lynn News headlines an article by Allister Webb, News Editor, "West Norfolk rail services 'among Britain's worst ... Improvement demanded as testing begins on new trains set for Lynn line.' Mr Webb writes: "Tests have begun on new trains to serve West Norfolk after a report showed the borough had some of Britain's least reliable rail services. ... but the firm [Great Northern] says new trains, which were tested for the first time at the weekend, will help address the problem. ... Great Northern admitted the current service was not up to standard and said it was working with Network Rail to address issues relating to power supplies, signalling and track maintenance." The newspaper features a photograph of the 8-car class 387 train in King's Lynn's platform 2 on Saturday 14 January 2017 (see news item of that date below). The newspaper article quotes Stuart Cheshire, Great Northern's Passenger Service Director, speaking about the new trains [due to enter Fen Line service in May 2017] and also reports: "The company says the new stock is more reliable and will provide power sockets for passengers, wheelchair spaces and other features specifically designed for disabled travellers, plus fully accessible toilets."

Friday 20 January 2017 - "Downham Market station cafe ‘set to remain closed for at least six months’" reports the Lynn News today. The paper goes on to say: "A popular Downham bar and cafe is likely to remain closed for several more months while repairs are carried out, its owners have warned. Talks have taken place over the future of the former Railway Arms premises at the town’s rail station. And company bosses say they want another local operator to take over the site when work is complete. ... Ms Truss ... called on Govia, which is the parent company of Great Northern, the operator of most of West Norfolk’s passenger train services, to re-open the station’s waiting room. The company has said it will look into the issue. Rail industry officials are expected to return to Downham next week for the second rail summit, hosted by Ms Truss, to discuss what progress has been made in recent months towards improvements in train services and track infrastructure."

Wednesday 18 January 2017 - Following a meeting at Downham Market station on Friday 13 January 2017 (at which the Association was represented) meeting organiser Elizabeth Truss MP comments: "GTR recognise that the Railway Arms and café were very unique so I am pleased that they want to secure an independent local person to take on the new tenancy. Repair works need to take place on the building so any new facility will probably not be operational for at least six months. However I am keen to see this progressed as quickly as possible and will continue to work with GTR and local councillors in moving the project forward. In the mean time I would like to see the waiting room reopened and GTR are looking at how this can be accessed by passengers. The Railway Arms and café proved to be a fantastic asset to the station and town, welcoming visitors and local residents, so it is important that the special character is maintained whilst also offering an excellent opportunity for a new business venture."

Tuesday 17 January 2017 - At its Board Meeting held today, the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP deferred Item 5 'Growth Deal Update' (which includes Ely North Junction) until its next Board Meeting, to be held on Tuesday 17 March 2017.

Tuesday 17 January 2017 - The Leaders of Cambridgeshire County Council and of East Cambridgeshire District Council send open letters to the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP to "express their concerns with the LEP regarding the exclusion of Wisbech Rail from other rail improvement projects (such as Ely North upgrades)." Councillor Steve Count (Leader, Cambridgeshire CC) writes, inter alia: "To be successful, the Wisbech [rail] scheme needs capacity in the Ely area and there is strong logic to funding all of the works together, as to not do so risks marginalising of the Wisbech scheme and capacity could be allocated to other projects. It is my view that the best way to move the agreed way forward from the December [GCGP LEP} meeting and the clear case to accelerate the Wisbech rail project is to commit the necessary funding now. I therefore propose the following additional recommendation: ... To agree to commit the necessary funding from the Wisbech Access Growth Deal allocation to complete the GRIP 3 study for the Wisbech rail project and to seek early confirmation from the DfT that this is an acceptable and appropriate use for which to draw down the funds." On Tuesday 16 January 2017 Councillor James Palmer (Leader, East Cambridgeshire DC) had written to Councillor Count, inter alia: "As a Council we fully support the need to make improvements at Ely North Junction, but these improvements cannot be done in isolation. It is disappointing that the Wisbech Rail and Soham Railway Station have not been addressed as being of significant important to the Ely North Junction proposals and unlocking the growth that is so desperately needed in the Districts . ... Could you please ensure that the [GCGP LEP] Board understand the importance of these rail projects and that they are properly considered and included in the Ely North Junction Improvement scheme and include Soham, Ely and Wisbech in as the Ely Rail Improvement. This would then reflect discussions that we have had previously." Councillor Palmer's letter was included as part of Councillor Count's letter to the GCGP LEP. The full text of two open letters can be viewed here.

Our news item dated Wednesday 29 July 2015 (see below) in reporting on Cambridgeshire County Council's publication of the Outline Business Case of the Wisbech rail project, stated: "Page ix [Page 16 of 138] 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.'"

Since publication of the Outline Business Case, the new Greater Anglia franchise has included a commitment to double the Peterborough-Ipswich service (via Ely) to hourly (see news item dated Wednesday 24 August 2016 below). The contractually committed GTR 2 tph King's Cross-King's Lynn "half hourly" service is contained in the DfT's Train Service Requirements dated December 2015 (pages 362-365 of 397 refer). See also news item below, dated Thursday 26 May 2016.

Tuesday 17 January 2017 - Network Rail replies to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information Act request in respect of level crossings at Queen Adelaide [see news item below, dated Sunday 15 January 2017]. The company seeks further information from Mr. Moss-Eccardt. He replies, saying: "could I have the risk assessments and supporting data for the last couple of years, please? So from the start of 2015? I imagine that won't be more than one or two for each crossing."

Tuesday 17 January 2017 - Abellio announces "Abellio UK (“Abellio”) has signed an agreement to sell 40% of the Greater Anglia rail franchise to Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”), pending final regulatory approvals. This fulfills Abellio’s long-standing objective of finding a suitable partner to run Greater Anglia in a 60:40 joint venture." [Greater Anglia runs trains from Liverpool Street to Ely/King's Lynn and from Cambridge to Norwich and Stansted Airport. The main King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route is operated by the unrelated Govia Thameslink Railway, trading as Great Northern, which does not form part of the Greater Anglia franchise].

Monday 16 January 2017 - Cambridge City Council's South Area Committee considers a Cambridge South Station Project Update report this evening (Agenda pages 19-21 of 46). The report states: "John Laing is a major investor in the Biomedical Campus and has experience of delivering privately funded stations elsewhere. They are leading and funding the current feasibility work, with support from Astra Zeneca and the County Council. ... The [current] work, which is in the very early stages of the Network Rail’s GRIP (Guide to Rail Investment Process) process, is focusing on timetabling analysis. As this is crucial to whether or not a station is feasible. It is important because if a train stops at the new station it impacts on the timetables along its entire journey and it may lose its ‘path’ through the network, or interfere with the paths of other trains. This timetabling work is closely linked with that for Cambridge North Station, the East Anglia Franchise and Thameslink [including Great Northern]. ... A key issue currently being explored is whether it is feasible to have a station with just the current two tracks. Both the new bridges over the railway in the Addenbrooke’s area have provision for four tracking that is likely to be needed at some point in the future. The new station will at the very least need to make passive provision for future additional tracks. The new station would have to go through the full planning application process which will involve an assessment of the environmental impact." The meeting is at Cherry Hinton Village Leisure Centre at 7pm.

Sunday 15 January 2017 - Mr Moss-Eccardt makes a new Freedom of Information request to Network Rail, asking them to provide him with "the risk assessments and, supporting data used for such assessment for each and every of the three level crossings that cross the B1382 in the village of Queen Adelaide, Cambridgeshire."

Sunday 15 January 2017 - Mr Moss-Eccardt replies to Network Rail, stating: "I am writing to request an internal review of Network Rail Limited's handling of my FOI request 'Queen Adelaide Survey Procurement Support Documentation'. [See news item dated Wednesday 11 January 2017]. Although I acknowledge that documents in preparation can be exempt, cannot believe that applies to risk assessments. If the risk assessments of each of the crossings are incomplete, please confirm that explicitly, for each crossing. Similarly the strategic options risk assessment from 2015 - if it is still in preparation then providing it to inform the policy development at the County Council would make any proposals, for which the County is spending good money, unsafe. Again can you explicitly confirm that that risk assessment is incomplete and also describe what is missing or what makes it unsuitable." Mr Moss-Eccardt's full response can be seen here.

Saturday 14 January 2017 - We can report that the first class 387 has reached King's Lynn this evening. Units 387129 and 387108, forming a test train, were observed by a number of members. We are very grateful to those who sent us photographs. The 110mph class 387 trains are due to enter Fen Line service in May 2017.

Friday 13 January 2017 - "MP in talks over closed pub and cafe" reports yourlocalpaper. Elizabeth Truss MP had called the meeting, saying: "I am keen to ensure that the building is put back into use as soon as possible." She also told the paper that "the station was a key gateway to the town and Fens and that it was vital the potential of the site was 'maximised'".

Wednesday 11 January 2017 - Network Rail replies to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information request concerning level crossings in the Queen Adelaide area (see news item dated Tuesday 21 December 2016). Network Rail says: "The Queen Adelaide level crossings are included in the GRIP 1-3 Option Selection Ely Area Capacity Enhancements scheme. At the time of your request, we anticipate that the funds to continue developing the scheme will be available in 2017. However, there is no funding commitment to an overall scheme in our Control Period 6 (covering the period 2019-2024). In the meantime, we are working with Cambridgeshire County Council, who are conducting a review to understand the circumstances from a road perspective and whether there are any road-based solutions that could be reached for the crossings. Therefore, we are still investigating the various parameters and possible options concerning the crossings and have not made a decision on how to proceed. ... We have not yet selected a single option (stage 3 of the GRIP process) or secured funding. The process is likely to continue for some time and the requested information forms part of a continuing process and as such, is material in the course of completion. ... disclosing the requested information at an early stage of the process would harm our ability to discuss the options and decide how to proceed. Disclosure of the requested information would also be misleading as no final decision has been made on how to proceed." Network Rail's full reply can be seen here.

Wednesday 11 January 2017 - The East Cambridgeshire Local Plan Further Draft - January 2017 envisages some 3160-3315 new houses at Ely (pages 84/85 - map here) and some 2466 new houses at Littleport (page 104 - map here). These figures from the draft plan are indicative; the Council's consultation is here.

Monday 9 January 2017 - Continuing the Cambridge News' extensive reporting of the fast-developing Fen Line scene, reporter Tom Pilgrim writes today: "[Cambridge] Train station footfall hits 11 million a year as city looks to Cambridge North station to help alleviate pressure. Cambridge North station is opening in May and discussions on a new station for the Biomedical Campus are ongoing. The number of people entering and exiting Cambridge on a train has rocketed to 11 million a year as the city looks ahead to the opening of its second railway station later this year. ... The city's newest station, Cambridge North, opens in May, while local businesses are also lobbying for a station to be built to the south of the city, near Addenbrooke's Hospital. The growth of the city's businesses and commuting population has put pressure on its transport infrastructure and it is hoped two new stations would relieve the burden. Cambridge North, which Network Rail says is 80 per cent complete, will feature three platforms and is projected to handle 3,000 passengers a day. The £50 million station, managed by Greater Anglia, is expected to receive Greater Anglia and Great Northern services to London King's Cross and London Liverpool Street." Mr Pilgrim adds: "A new station to the South of Cambridge at Addenbrooke's Hospital has also been called for by the city's businesses. Business lobby group Cambridge Ahead produced its Case for Cambridge report in 2015 arguing that a new station would help stop the city being 'held back by a need for infrastructure investment'. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZenenca, which is moving its headquarters to Cambridge, has co-funded a study into the feasibility of a station to the south of the city. Discussions are believed to be ongoing between the company, infrastructure experts John Laing and Network Rail." The Cambridge News also reports: "Malcolm Lowe-Lauri, Executive Director at Cambridge University Health Partners, said: 'Discussions continue to take place with Network Rail regarding building a new railway station for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the south of Cambridge. The station is a vital piece of infrastructure which many organisations have been working to deliver. Last year AstraZeneca co-funded a study for the station with John Laing which demonstrated the feasibility of building a station at the campus. The study included an initial analysis of potential timetable options to be validated in the coming months through close engagement with Network Rail and train operators. The need is clearly there with thousands of employees, patients and visitors travelling every day even before AstraZeneca begin to move to the site at the end of this year and Papworth Hospital come in 2018.'"

Monday 9 January 2017 - The Cambridge News was given a tour of the Cambridge North station site and an article by Chris Elliott contains photographs of how far the construction work has progressed. "Work on the £50 million station started two years ago, and the building itself, which has three platforms – London outbound, London inbound, and King’s Lynn via Ely – is very close to completion. When open it will have a ticket office, shopping facilities, seven barrier gates, a 450-space car park, and a covered 1,000-space, two-storey cycle park, partly lit by solar roof panels. The platforms are linked by a 27-metre bridge, and there are also lifts large enough to accommodate cycles." Helen Warnock, area director for Network Rail, tells the Cambridge News: “Our teams have been working very hard to get the new station ready and we’re on track for opening in May. ... The station will be very well used, we’re sure, with an initial forecast of 3,000 passenger journeys a day.”

Wednesday 4 January 2017 - "Unofficial website reveals what could be the first timetable for new Cambridge North Station. The first possible details of trains from London, Ely, Birmingham and King's Lynn to Cambridge's brand new train station have been revealed" reports the Cambridge News. The newspaper continues: "Built on the line between Cambridge and King’s Lynn, it will be served by trains from Great Northern and Greater Anglia, which are expected to take passengers directly to Ely, Birmingham New Street, London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport. The official timetable for trains stopping at the new station has not yet been made public, but one website has revealed part of what may be its opening schedule. OpenTrainTimes.com is an unofficial resource mapping train journeys across the UK. It uses data from Network Rail, which has been made available to coders and app designers, to plot potential future train times up and down the country. According to the site there are 363 journeys due to stop at the station between Monday, May 22 and Saturday, May 27, including several non-passenger freight trains. The earliest train to stop at the new station appears to be 04.54 from King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross, which will stop at the station on the Monday. Run by Great Northern, this service also stops at Waterbeach, Ely, Littleport, Downham Market and Watlington. The final service to stop at the station could then be the 23.15 from King’s Cross back to King’s Lynn." The article, by Cambridge News reporter Adam Care, points out that: "The timetable is not official, and has not been confirmed by any of the train operating companies which will service the station."

Tuesday 3 January 2017 - "Christmas sees Cambridge North station 80% complete" reports Network Rail: "Major progress was made over Christmas at the site of the new Cambridge North station, which is now 80% complete, to get it ready for its opening in May this year as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan. Work took place over the festive period to build platforms, install tracks for a new bay platform and to fit overhead wires. The footbridge, lift shafts, stairwells and main station building were all built over the course of last year at the site of the new station, which is anticipated to handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day. The new station will alleviate the pressure on the existing Cambridge station, where people currently leave the train in order to travel by other means to the science and business parks. Helen Warnock, Network Rail’s area director for West Anglia, [and speaker at our last Annual General Meeting held in November] said: 'We used the Christmas period to link the new tracks and signalling equipment to the existing infrastructure, which could only take place while the railway was closed. With only a few more months to go until opening, work is well under way to build a station that will provide an extra link to the north of the city and support the growth of the local economy as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.'” [In line with our call " Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains", we note NR says: "It is expected that the station will encourage new businesses to the area as well as aid the expansion of existing businesses, and encourage additional employment opportunities. In the meantime, the station will serve staff already working at the Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre." Cambridge North station is due to open on Sunday 21 May 2017].

Thursday 29 December 2016 - The Ely Standard reports: "Ely railway station team voted the best by passengers", going on to say: "Staff at Ely railway station has won a customer service award after being nominated by passengers. The team won an Institute of Customer Service award for helping to brighten passengers’ journeys after being nominated during National Customer Service Week in October 2016. Train operator Greater Anglia encouraged rail users to nominate station teams or individuals across the network who 'go the extra mile' to make passengers’ journeys pleasant and stress-free." [Like Cambridge station, Ely is operated by Greater Anglia, not GTR (Great Northern)].

Thursday 29 December 2016 - " King’s Lynn’s rolling stock has truly come of age" says the Lynn News, reporting that GTR's average rolling stock is 21 years. The current class 365 units which run on King's Lynn-King's Cross services were built in 1994/5. These units are occasionally supplemented by class 317 units, dating from the mid 1980s. Greater Anglia, which operates Fen Line services to/from Liverpool Street uses class 379 trains (which are 5 years old) also supplemented by older class 317 units. From May 2017, King's Lynn-King's Cross services will be operated by 110 mph class 387 units, which are about 2 years old (see news item dated Monday 10 October 2016). Greater Anglia will replace its trains in 2019/20 with a brand new fleet (see news item dated Monday 17 October 2016).

Friday 23 December 2016 - The Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group met Network Rail recently to discuss platform extension works. Today's Royston Crow reports that the work "will take six months". Fen Line Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains normally pass through these stations without stopping - regular users will be able to see the works, necessary to permit operation of future Thameslink trains to/from Cambridge, under way as their train passes through.

Thursday 22 December 2016 - Network Rail publishes its CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan: Update December 2016. Projects include: Thameslink (page 7), Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement (page 27), Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade (page 28), Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car (page 34), Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - East Coast Capability (page 61), Intercity Express Programme (IEP) - East Coast Power Supply Upgrade (page 63), ECML Traction Power Supply Upgrade (page 65), Gordon Hill Turnback (page 66), Stevenage Turnback (page 67), East Coast Connectvity Fund (page 140), Cambridge North New Station (page 163) and Ely to Soham Doubling (page 169).

Tuesday 21 December 2016 - Rupert Moss-Eccardt writes to Network Rail: "Dear Network Rail Limited, Cambridgeshire County Council are currently considering closure of level crossings on the B1382 in Queen Adelaide. They refer to a number of documents in their RFQ for the consultants involved. These are * Risk Assessment of Strategic Options for Ely North Junction (Nov 2015); * Suitable and Sufficient Risk Assessments: Queen Adelaide-Kings Lynn Level Crossing (Nov 2015); Queen Adelaide-Norwich Level Crossing (Nov 2015); Queen Adelaide- Peterborough Level Crossing (Nov 2015) * Ely Area Constraints - Draft Briefing Note (Aug 2016). I requested them from the County Council but they say they can't as they are your documents so I am now requesting them from you. My request to the County is here. To save time, if you baldly assert commercial confidentiality I will seek an internal review. To help with the public interest test, this will significantly affect the lives of several residents and reduce property values. At the same time there is the assertion this will save lives so there is clearly a great deal of public interest." Network Rail replies [on 22 December] that they "will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible and in any event by 24 January 2017."

Tuesday 21 December 2016 - Cambridgeshire County Council rejects Mr Moss-Eccardt's request for information regarding the Queen Adelaide survey procurement documentation (see news story dated Saturday 3 December 2016 below). The County Council states, inter alia, "1. The information contained in these documents includes commercial information which is confidential and that confidentiality is protecting Network Rail's economic interests - disclosing information about estimated costs would harm any eventual tendering process for work; 2. The information is part of ongoing work to develop Network Rail's options for the level crossings and a final decision is not likely to be made for some time. However, we hope to have the results of the traffic study by mid 2017." [The road traffic survey work is an important part in bringing forward proposals for the delayed Ely North Junction project; this project now embraces the entire Ely Area]. Mr Moss-Eccardt replies to Cambridgeshire County Council, stating: "I am writing to request an internal review of Cambridgeshire County Council's handling of my FOI request 'Queen Adelaide Survey Procurement Support Documentation'. I don't think that commercial confidentiality applies here, particularly in the regulatory regime in which Network Rail operates. The risk assessments are public documents. Now you have clarified that all documents requested are owned by NR I shall go to them (which will also demonstrate the incorrect application of the confidentiality exemption)."

Thursday 15 December 2016 - "Changes to Foxton level crossing met with mixed reaction from local residents " says Adam Care in today's Cambridge News. "Proposed changes to the Foxton level crossing have been met with a mixed reaction by local residents" says the newspaper, continuing:"Network Rail held a public consultation event in the village [yesterday], where it presented its revised plans for the A10 crossing. The new-look crossing includes a change to the diversionary route for pedestrians and cyclists, and comes after strong negative feedback from local residents. It is due to be closed as part of a major revamp of regional crossings - but is the only affected crossing to be reconsidered in the face of public outcry." [The updated proposals affect the C06 Barrington Road crossing and the A10 level crossing and are crossed many times each day by Fen Line King's Lynn-King's Cross services].

Wednesday 14 December 2016 - Great Northern launches its new depot at Hornsey, north London today. Great Northern says: "Hornsey now boasts a new state-of-the-art maintenance building, built by Siemens using main contractor Volker-Fitzpatrick, large new sidings and improved servicing for the following additional modern trains which Great Northern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will run:

"Class 387 trains for Great Northern services between London King’s Cross and Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn (entering service now)[these trains will operate north of Cambridge from May 2017]

"Class 700 trains for new Thameslink services across London to the south from many Great Northern stations between the capital and Peterborough and Cambridge (trains arrive on Great Northern in 2017 and begin running as Thameslink in 2018)

"Class 717 trains for Great Northern suburban services from Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Stevenage to and from Moorgate in the City of London (arriving late 2018)."

Tuesday 13 December 2016 - "West Norfolk rail passenger numbers rise, but growth rate slowing, new figures show" reports the Lynn News today. "Use of West Norfolk’s rail network is still rising, but much more slowly than in recent years, new figures have shown" says the newspaper, "More than 1.62 million people are estimated to have accessed the borough’s three stations during the year to the end of March, according to latest data from the Office for Rail and Road." The Association's Chairman, Colin Sampson, tells the paper that "while West Norfolk’s figures were still rising, totals for other Norfolk stations, including Norwich, Diss and Yarmouth, were all falling." Peter Smith tells the Lynn News the figures reflected "the faster rate of new home construction around Downham and Watlington, compared to Lynn" and claims "if you’re starting your journey at Lynn, you’ll probably get a seat. If you get on at Downham or Ely, you haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance.” In the Lynn News article, Colin Sampson stresses that "political and business leaders [are] keeping up the pressure to secure better services."

For selected growth statistics derived from the ORR 2015/6 station usage estimates see the news item dated Tuesday 6 December 2016 below.

Monday 12 December 2016 - "A10, A1307 and 'transformative' rail options in the frame: Hopes for 'big ticket' projects in next round of Cambridge City Deal funding" reports the Cambridge News today. "Considerations are already being made for tranche two funding, and Cllr Lewis Herbert would like to see the door opened to "big ticket" items" says the paper, continuing: "The City Deal will need to consider the East-West rail link, which was also confirmed in the Autumn Statement. Cllr Lewis Herbert has said he hopes to enter discussions with Network Rail on potential synergies. We could see City Deal money being used for new railway stations at Addenbrooke’s, Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn. There is also an eye on improving rail facilities at Ely station and a new station at Soham. There is also a commitment to increase the Cambridge to King's Lynn service's frequency to half hourly. There will be improvements to the London – Cambridge corridor, as well as new rolling stock on the line."

Sunday 11 December 2016 - From today, the threshold for 'Delay Repay' has been lowered to 15 minutes on Great Northern services. Other operators' services, including those run by Greater Anglia, retain the 30 minutes lateness threshold for now. We advise Members who might wish to claim under the 'Delay Repay' scheme to make sure to note the train operator for the service on which they have been delayed.

Friday 9 December 2016 - "Fears of 'absolute gridlock' in Cambridge as AstraZeneca prepares to move to Biomedical Campus " writes Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News. The newspaper reports on the meeting of the City Deal executive board held on Thursday 8 December and says" "Fears have been voiced about parts of Cambridge becoming mired in 'absolute gridlock', frustrating people trying to get to work or sick people trying to access hospital. Cllr Francis Burkitt, vice chairman of the City Deal board, said: 'We are building a biomedical campus but we are not doing anything to improve the transport in the area. I know we want to build Cambridge South station at Addenbrooke's, but that is some years off and the employees are arriving there now and will be coming in force.'"

In welcoming the commitment for King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross trains to call at the new Cambridge North station, currently under construction, albeit with timetable development phased in stages and in calling for all Fen Line trains on the route to run non-stop to King's Cross south of Cambridge, our policy is also to "support stops at Finsbury Park (excellent connectivity to the Thameslink Core, the City and the West End) and at any future Cambridge South/Biomedical Campus/Addenbrooke's station." See news item dated Friday 2 December 2016 below.

Friday 9 December 2016 - "New Talks to Boost Rail Links" is the front page story of today's 'yourlocalpaper'. The paper says: "Fresh talks are planned in a bid to drive forward the delayed Ely North junction upgade. South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss is to spearhead a rail summit in the new year ..." The article, by Sue Irving, continues: "The talks are set to take place almost a year after MPs, business and council leaders, rail officials and Department for Transport representatives held a similar meeting in Downham Market. A commitment was made then that money would be found to progress a feasibility study into the project, which would include level crossing and road improvements." Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, reports the newspaper, "told Justice Minister Ms Truss, her correspondence was a 'helpful' reminder of the importance of the Ely area infrastructure to rail services in the region." 'yourlocalpaper' says: "Campaigners want improvements to the junction, which has long been a bottleneck on the line form Norfolk to the capital, to be made a priority when the next funding period starts in 2019."

Friday 9 December 2016 - A report discussed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority today, states: "The East Coast Route Study will be published for consultation in 2017, however it is thought that the strategy that is likely to be proposed can be summarised as: • Remove bottlenecks and the constraints of mixed traffic; • Adopt digital signalling and traffic management; • Enable higher more uniform speeds; • Build resilient infrastructure; • Deliver enhancements in steps; and • Broaden funding opportunities [Paragraph 2.15]." The forthcoming East Coast Route Study is of relevance to the Fen Line: King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services use the East Coast Coast Main Line south of Hitchin to access London.

Wednesday 7 December 2016 - At its meeting held today, Cambridgeshire County Council's Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee resolved to: "a) approve the County Council’s draft response to Network Rail’s proposals including the main points as detailed in sections 2.2-2.4 of the report, and in accordance with the recommendations set out in Appendix 4 of the report; b) approve the notification to the Secretary of State for Transport, when consulted, that the County Council intends to object to as many of the proposals as are unresolved by the time the Transport & Works Act Order application is made [Item 7 refers]."

Network Rail proposes closure/alteration of the following 15 crossings on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route: C35 Ballast Pit, C06 Barrington Road [NR has revised its proposals for C06 Barrington Road - see news item also dated today and shown below], C28 Black Horse Drove, C01 Chittering, C25 Clayway [Littleport], C24 Cross Keys [NR has revised its proposals for C24 Cross Keys - see news item also dated today and shown below], C34 Fysons, C33 Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing), C31 Littleport station, C02 Nairn's No 117, C04 No 20 [Meldreth], C07 No 37 [Harston], C26 Poplar Drove [NR has revised its proposals for C26 Poplar Drove - see news item also dated today and shown below], C03 West River Bridge, C27 Willow Row/Willow Road [NR has revised its proposals for C27 Willow Row/Willow Road - see news item also dated today and shown below].

We wrote to Network Rail on Monday 19 September 2016 (see news item of that date) to advise them that we SUPPORT their proposals for the 15 crossings on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route. We added "... in respect of C31 Littleport station [barrow crossing] we suggest an early involvement of the Highway Authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) if this has not already commenced, that the proposal is non-prejudicial to any longer-term (unfunded) multi-story car park with footbridge schemes, that additional walking time will be required for car park users, that there is a need to deal with the flooding issue in the subway, that the proposed ramp and the subway should be well-lit, and that there will be a need for an additional ticket machine and card reader for the southbound platform. As stated above, we have noted the significance of this proposal in accommodating platform lengthening works currently being considered as part of NR's Cambridge to King's Lynn 8-car scheme [page 34] development and we urge that the C31 Littleport station proposals be given high priority.”

Wednesday 7 December 2016 - Network Rail is holding a public information event to see updated proposals for the closure of C06 Barrington Road level crossing (at Foxton, on the King's Lynn-King's Cross route) as a result of feedback from consultation sessions held earlier in the year. The changes at Barrington Road are significant so an information session will be held so that project managers can explain the updated plans in person. The revised plans include changing the diversionary route to make it shorter and safer and to integrate it with the new shared pedestrian and cycle facilities on the A10. The public information event will take place at Foxton Village Hall and Sports Pavilion on Wednesday 14 December from 2pm to 7pm.

Changes to NR's proposals for level crossings in Cambridgeshire following earlier public consultations also include revised proposals for C26 Poplar Drove and C27 Willow Row/Willow Road (Littleport) and C24 Cross Keys (Ely).

Wednesday 7 December 2016 - Following the Chancellor's announcement on 23 November of £450m to trial digital signalling on its network, Network Rail has outlined its work on establishing Strategic Outline Business Cases to accelerate the targeted deployment of the Digital Railway programme. NR says: "Through using a mix of conventional and digital technologies, we hope to demonstrate that this will cost-effectively solve critical capacity and performance challenges on the railway." The eight Strategic Outline Business Cases currently being developed include: "London North East Route: leveraging the opportunity of renewing life expired assets to meet capacity and performance needs from London King’s Cross to Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (East Coast Main Line)." The East Coast Main Line is used by King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross trains between Hitchin and King's Cross.

Wednesday 7 December 2016 - The latest issue of RAIL magazine contains [page 22] an interview with Richard Schofield, Anglia Route Managing Director, Network Rail. In it, he speaks about Ely North Junction to RAIL's Richard Clinnick. Mr Clinnick writes: "He also highlighted the issue around Ely North Junction, where improvements are required to improve capacity for freight from Felixstowe, and for a better frequency to King's Lynn. 'There is no funding in this Control Period for Ely,' he said. 'The MPs are so helpful to keep the awareness of the issue going. We are working on CP6 and Liz Truss [Conservative MP for South West Norfolk] is working on plans. There is a desire to keep this momentum going.'"

Wednesday 7 December 2016 - "What does new rail shake-up mean for Norwich and Ipswich?" asks today's Eastern Daily Press. The EDP is reporting on the proposed reform of the rail industry announced yesterday by Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling. A key question the newspaper asks is: "So will this speed up the Ely [North] Junction - the key junction between Norwich and Cambridge which will improve frequency between King's Lynn and [King's Cross] and Norwich [and Cambridge]?" The answer given is: "It doesn't look likely at the moment. The DfT confirmed that the East West body would only go as far as Cambridge under the current plans' so Network Rail is still responsible for Ely Junction at the moment."

Tuesday 6 December 2016 - The Cambridge News reports "Reaction as it emerges East-West rail link will be developed by private companies." Francis Burkitt, vice chair of the Greater Cambridge City Deal, told the newspaper: "It's good news that the Government recognises the importance of rail for our region, and the City Deal looks forward to working on this as soon as possible. The long-distance link from Oxford is exciting, but I hope that the project will also be able to upgrade local rail services at the same time. For example, it might speed up the creation of a new station at Addenbrooke's, and the original East-West project was also asked to look at double-tracking the line from Cambridge via Dullingham to Newmarket, and also improving the railway between Cambridge and Ely, Norwich and Ipswich."

Tuesday 6 December 2016 - Official 2015/6 station usage estimates issued today by the Office for Rail and Road show that three - Ely, King's Lynn and Downham Market - of East Anglia's ‘top 12’ busiest stations are on the Fen Line. Cambridge with 10.9 million users is the busiest station of all in East Anglia. We define East Anglia as Cambridge (including Peterborough), Norfolk and Suffolk - 75 stations in total.

After Cambridge (+5.1%), Peterborough (+2.2%), Norwich (-0.6%) and Ipswich (-0.3%) in that order, Ely (2.1 million, +3.1%) is at position no. 5, followed by Huntingdon (+2.0%) and St. Neots (+5.4%). Position no. 8 is taken by King's Lynn (0.97 million, +0.3%). Stowmarket (+2.5%), Diss (-1.0%) and Bury St. Edmunds (+1.3%) follow; at position no.12 is Downham Market (0.5 million, +1.8%).

Waterbeach (0.42 million, +10.4%) showed the biggest percentage increase for a Fen Line station. Littleport (229,00, -3.5%) showed a decline (in total, 34 East Anglian stations have shown a decline). Watlington (149,000, +3.5%) is the quietest Fen Line station and holds position no 31 of 75 in East Anglia.

Monday 5 December 2016 - "Anger over rail price fares- but increased compensation for delays is welcomed" reports Adam Care in the Cambridge News. Chris Burton of Raifuture suggested the problems with punctuality across the region were “showing up problems in the infrastructure”. He told the newspaper: "It’s not dangerous, but the thing [is] when do you do the repairs?". Mr Burton continued: “The main thing is dealing with the major engineering issues that need sorting out, putting extra trains and routes from Cambridge to Liverpool Street, and sorting out Ely North.” He also spoke to the Cambridge News about the benefits the new Cambridge North Station would bring when it opens in May. The Newmarket Journal reports "Train operator announces delay compensation extension, but campaigners say sort service out first". The paper says:"Great Northern says that, from this weekend, it will give refunds to passengers if trains are delayed by as little as 15 minutes. The announcement came with confirmation that its fares will rise by an average of 1.8 per cent next month. ... Charles Horton, chief executive of Great Northern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink, said customers on the Lynn to London route would be among the first in the country to benefit from the extended scheme." The Newmarket Journal continues: "But West Norfolk Labour activist Jo Rust, who sits on the party’s national policy forum for transport issues, said the measure did not address the major problems facing passengers. ... 'Improve the service, not the compensation scheme.'"

Monday 5 December 2016 - Further to Network Rail withdrawing its proposals for C23 Adelaide [footpath] crossing, the company has now confirmed to the Ely Standard that it has withdrawn its proposals for C26 Poplar Drove level crossing (see news item dated Monday 19 September 2016 below). The newspaper says: " A public inquiry is now almost certain to decide which, if any, [of the remaining] closures can go ahead or indeed if all can go ahead."

Saturday 3 December 2016 - Rupert Moss-Eccardt has written to Cambridgeshire County Council making the following request under the Freedom of Information Act: "In the RFQ for 'A TRAFFIC STUDY INVESTIGATING QUEEN ADELAIDE LEVEL CROSSINGS' (issued 12th September this year), there is a list of documents that will help with the assessment. These are listed as: • Risk Assessment of Strategic Options for Ely North Junction (Nov 2015) • Suitable and Sufficient Risk Assessments - Queen Adelaide- Kings Lynn Level Crossing (Nov 2015); Queen Adelaide- Norwich Level Crossing (Nov 2015); Queen Adelaide- Peterborough Level Crossing (Nov 2015); • Ely Area Constraints- Draft Briefing Note (Aug 2016). Could you please send me copies?" Cambridgeshire County Council must respond promptly and normally no later than 5 January 2017).

Friday 2 December 2016 - "A new rail summit will take place in the new year in a renewed bid to accelerate work on a key upgrade of West Norfolk’s rail link to London" reports the Lynn News today. The newspaper says: "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, following praise for the campaign to upgrade the Ely north junction from transport secretary Chris Grayling. Mr Grayling, in a letter dated 30 November 2016, said the project would be “well placed for early delivery” ... [in CP6] if a strong business case can be made. The Lynn News continues: "He added: 'I have been impressed to hear of the efforts of local stakeholders working together to accelerate delivery of the Ely area enhancement proposals.'” Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss told the newspaper: "“I am very pleased the Transport Secretary has recognised the work done by MPs, councils, LEPs, Network Rail and the passenger / freight train operators in progressing the upgrade of the Ely rail junction." The South West Norfolk MP has also issued a statement today, saying: "In the New Year I am holding a rail summit and the message to the Secretary of State will very much be this; the Ely Area enhancement programme will generate millions of pounds for the UK economy, will support jobs, drive forward investment and will be a fantastic boost for business and employment in the eastern region."

Friday 2 December 2016 - "AstraZeneca tunnel gives renewed hope for underground Cambridge congestion solution" reports Paul Brackley in the Cambridge Independent today. His article covers the construction of a tube train sized 128-metre tunnel between two AZ buildings on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus "in a matter of weeks." Though built for other reasons, the project could be considered as a pilot project for the possible construction of a Cambridge underground railway. AstraZeneca's Cambridge strategy chief, Andy Williams, told the paper: “We’re going into the campus towards the end of 2017 and into 2018 ... it [is] looking busy now. They are naturally saying ‘What’s it going to be like when we get there? What does that mean when Papworth Hospital is there?’ They’ve got 2,000 [staff] coming in 2018 as well." Mr Williams also tells the Cambridge Independent that AZ "has co-funded a feasibility study into a train station at Addenbrooke’s with John Laing, the company developing the Forum building on the campus. We’re doing more feasibility work and partnering with Network Rail. We believe we can timetable it on the two-track [section]. If it can’t we’ll need a further track, and we don’t know how long that would take. If it can be done on the two-track, we believe it can be in place in 2019 or possibly 2020, which would be extraordinary. It’s not just about patients, visitors, ourselves and the other businesses – we think it can help free up central Cambridge." Mr Williams asks: "Is everybody who comes to Cambridge station wanting to go to central Cambridge? No, it’s not in the right place.”

We welcome the commitment for King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross trains to call at the new Cambridge North station, currently under construction, albeit with timetable development phased in stages. In calling for all Fen Line trains on the route to run non-stop to King's Cross south of Cambridge, our policy is also to "support stops at Finsbury Park (excellent connectivity to the Thameslink Core, the City and the West End) and at any future Cambridge Biomedical Campus/Addenbrooke's station."

Wednesday 30 November 2016 - Cambridgeshire County Council is working with Network Rail over the next few weeks to survey traffic over the Queen Adelaide level crossings. Anna Savva reports in the Cambridge News in an article headed "Survey to help Network Rail crossing plans" that "In partnership with Network Rail, Cambridgeshire County Council is carrying out the traffic study at three level crossings on the road from Ely to Prickwillow. It will look into the number of people and types of vehicles using the crossings and what routes people are taking on their daily commutes. The council said the work will help the rail company and its partners improve the area’s rail capacity. It is hoped the survey will enable Network Rail to understand the flow of traffic in and out of the area and set a more efficient schedule for the crossings." She goes on to say that : "People can expect to see traffic counter tubes on the road, cameras or people by the side of the road carrying out the surveys, but road users will not be stopped as part of the surveys." [Please note that Ely North Junction crossing, mentioned in a separate part of the article, is a public footpath crossing, located on the Ely to Peterborough line].

Tuesday 29 November 2016 - "Daredevil [sic] bus drivers, motorists and cyclists jump level crossings in Cambridge area 350 times" reports Raymond Brown in the Cambridge News today. He says: "British Transport Police (BTP) have released shock details of how drivers have ignored the safety barriers ...Foxton level crossing had the most breaches. In 2014 there were a staggering 86 and 56 the following 12 month period making it the worst in Cambridgeshire. ... Ely was in second place with 15 increasing to 22 in the last year." The article highlights some of the risk-taking road users have taken: "In Ely the signaller had started to lower the barriers when two lorries went through the red lights. At Cambridge a bus driver was approaching the crossing and the lights were flashing but the driver 'just drove through'. In Foxton a signaller when a truck swerved to miss the barriers. In Ely someone actually removed the barrier. In Littleport a lorry has gone over the crossing and touched the barrier causing sparks to fly and breaking the barrier. At Waterbeach a bus jumped the red lights and a barrier caught the back of the vehicle as it came down. Also at Waterbeach a woman ran across the crossing at the front of a train narrowly avoiding death. In another incident in Waterbeach a cyclist is almost killed when she goes through the barrier and narrowly avoids being run down by a train."

Members raised the issue of level crossing safety at our AGM on Saturday 19 November, one pointing out that level crossings are now the biggest safety hazard to rail users. As well as the safety of passengers and train drivers being put at risk, the inevitable hold-ups following an incident cause delays to passengers, including large numbers travelling to work and business appointments in Cambridge and London. We support Network Rail's level crossing proposals for crossings on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Lynn route (see news item dated Monday 19 September 2016 below).

Tuesday 29 November 2016 - Today, in the House of Commons, Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was asked by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham: "Will he also ensure that other schemes to the east of Cambridge, "such as the vital Ely North rail junction and improvements to the A47, also go ahead on time? He will be aware that they are crucial to the future economy of west Norfolk and other parts of Norfolk." Mr Hammond replied: "I will certainly pass on my hon. Friend’s comments about that particular rail scheme to my right hon. Friend the Transport Secretary. My hon. Friend will know that we have a large programme of rail infrastructure in place and that the additional funding for the east-west rail link [Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge] that was announced last week was outside that core rail programme." [Column 1386].

Monday 28 November 2016 - We have today written to Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and CrossCountry (XC) advising them that: "We are writing to convey the Association’s formal response to two timetable consultations.

"1 Govia Thameslink Railway 2018 timetable consultation – formal response:

"Having consulted members of the Association over the last two months by means of items on our website www.flua.org.uk , by an article in issue 3/2016 of our newsletter The Fenman, and by discussion at our Annual General Meeting held on 19 November 2016, we now attach a finalised version of our formal response (pdf attached). This pdf document also includes the detailed analysis and reasoning underlying our answers to your questions which follow below.

"Qs 75/82 Do you have any specific comments in relation to services between London Kings Cross and Kings Lynn?

"Our response: 2 tph to/from all Fen Line stations is demonstrably essential during peaks - including the inadequately served Cambridge afternoon peak. All Fen Line trains should call at Cambridge North as soon as possible. 2 tph to/from all staffed stations at other times is promised by the Government and we urge the early completion of the infrastructure works necessary to meet this firm commitment. We welcome more, longer, 8-car trains.

"Q14 Do you support proposals to approach engineering works differently? Please indicate all options you support. * Reduced frequency on some routes after 2300 on Weekdays and Saturdays; * Earlier last trains on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays on some routes; * Later first trains on Sunday mornings on some routes; * Don't support proposals to change the current engineering works hours; * Any further comments on proposal?

"Our response: we have consistently pushed for first and last train times to be protected; these services are important to the whole service offer. We consider using the well-established notation 'train regularly affected by engineering work - check your journey' to be better.

"Q81 … on balance do you agree that curtailing the Moorgate to Stevenage services at Watton-at-Stone from May 2018 until further notice to protect proposed frequency increases on the Hertford North, Cambridge and Peterborough routes is the right approach?

Our response: in representing some of the 104,000 users per day on the GN Mainline services, we support this approach.

"2 Cross-Country 2017 timetable consultation – formal response:

"We support the proposal to strengthen the Cross-Country 0519 Birmingham New Street-Stansted Airport service to assist in alleviating overcrowding between Ely and Cambridge and that we note that work is progressing on resolving crowding issues regarding the Cross-Country 1727 Stansted Airport-Birmingham New Street service."

Monday 28 November 2016 - " Network Rail under fire from Cambridgeshire County Council over proposed level crossings in East Cambs and Fens" writes John Elworthy in the Ely Standard. The article refers to the forthcoming meeting of Cambridgeshire's Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee to be held on Wednesday 7 December 2016 - Committee Agenda item 7 refers. The Committee is being recommended to object to the proposals for crossings at: C35 Ballast Pit, C06 Barrington Road, C25 Clayway [Littleport], C34 Fysons, C33 Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing) and C04 No 20 [Meldreth] and to enter holding objections, pending discussions, to the proposals at: C24 Cross Keys, C07 No 37 [Harston], C26 Poplar Drove, C03 West River Bridge and C27 Willow Row/Willow Road. Various provisos are also specified for some of those proposals which are recommended for support, including the Littleport station barrow crossing which is "the most abused crossing on the line (117 [reported incidents] in 15 months)." There are also recommendations for proposals which are not on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross line.

Monday 28 November 2016 - Speaking to Jenny Chapman of the Cambridge News, AstraZeneca's Cambridge Strategy and Operations chief Andy Williams says that "a lot" of relocating AstraZeneca staff "have chosen to live down the train line to Royston and up to Ely ..." The newspaper interview continues: "We now reach a point on the tour bit of our meeting where we are looking down upon a neat little strip of land next to the energy centre, which Andy hopes will become a railway station [Addenbrooke's/Cambridge Biomedical Campus station]. 'We grabbed the opportunity for a station and AstraZeneca is paying for the feasibility studies, which would not have happened if the council had to do it. We are taking a risk, but we will get all the money back from the developers if the station is built.'”

Wednesday 23 November 2016 - "The government will also bring forward £100 million to accelerate construction of the East-West Rail line western section and allocate £10 million in development funding for the central rail section" says the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, today in his Autumn Statement. The central section refers to a line between Cambridge and Bedford (the overall East-West Rail route continuing to Oxford). This scheme has been linked to the provision of a new station at Addenbrooke's/Cambridge Biomedical Campus (see news item dated Wednesday 16 November 2016).

Friday 18 November 2016 - "I am pleased to hear the good news that Littleport Station has secured an additional 80 car parking spaces, increasing the car parking capacity to 115 spaces next summer 2017. ... I would like to thank all the councillors involved in ensuring this" says North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay.

Thursday 17 November 2016 - Littleport district and parish Councillor David Ambrose-Smith the Ely Standard today: “This [the Littleport station car park extension scheme]is fantastic news for local residents as well as those looking to relocate to Littleport. The extra spaces will ease congestion around the station gateway and will provide a direct link into the new station at Cambridge’s Science Park [Cambridge North] once opened. This is yet another good news story for Littleport which will help revitalise the town and make it an attractive place to live.” Councillor Hunt also told the newspaper that "there are no plans to increase charges, making parking at the station an attractive alternative to travelling on the congested A10." The Ely Standard reports that an additional 80 parking spaces will be provided "with the potential for further expansion in the future."

Wednesday 16 November 2016 - The National Infrastructure Commission has today recommended that the government "and it should invest in developing as soon as possible detailed plans for ... the next phase of East West Rail (which would complete the link to Cambridge[from Oxford, via Milton Keynes]. The Commission's Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Corridor: Interim Report states: "Early study work, sponsored by Network Rail, the EWR Consortium and DfT, has identified a single corridor that would offer best value in the development of this section: running from Bedford to Cambridge via Sandy. As well as enabling rail journeys between Oxford and Cambridge in little over one hour, the development of this corridor could provide a catalyst for development ... around Addenbrook[e]s on the south side of Cambridge [paragraph 4.20]. ... It will also be important to consider ...proposed schemes for the development of stations at Addenbrook[e]s ...[paragraph 4.21]".

Tuesday 15 November 2016 - The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterbrough LEP Local Transport Panel considers (item 5) a report on Ely North Junction with a view to accelerating its upgrade.

Tuesday 15 November 2016 -" 'Bold' new light rail and metro options could be back on the table for Cambridge" says the Cambridge News, in an article by Josh Thomas today. The newspaper quotes Cambridge City Council leader Councillor Lewis Herbert speaking at a Cambridge City Deal public meeting and saying: "“How do we make the most of what is a larger sum of money? I say we have an opportunity to engage with the opportunity of rail and metro. ... We have seen private investment bring forward the Addenbrooke’s station faster than it would have been under Network Rail ... A scheme for an underground in Cambridge would have to get funding up-front. It is quite possible private sector finance could be part of it.”

Tuesday 15 November 2016 - Star Radio reports: "Hooray – Littleport Station gets new car park extension." The Cambridge based radio station goes on to say: "News that land has been secured for an additional 80 car parking spaces at Littleport Station has been joyfully received by both parish and district councillors. The two councils have tirelessly worked for many years to increase capacity of this car park which will now total 115 spaces and should be up and running by the end of summer 2017." East Cambridgeshire District Council says today: "now commuters in Littleport can be assured of sufficient parking facilities and take advantage of ever increasing rail connectivity in our area."

Tuesday 15 November 2016 - The North East Freight Partnership’s Rail Partner Group receives a Network Rail update presentation on the forthcoming East Coast Route Study, which states: "The overriding issue is speed mix - Even 4 track sections are capacity limited when traffic runs at different speeds - Line speeds will increase over time to drive journey time down, worsening the problem." The NR update also says: "New physical infrastructure is an expensive solution: you need a lot of it for a small increase in capacity. Major bottlenecks shape the service structure: Welwyn ...." [Kings Lynn-Kings Cross services are among those constrained by the double track bottleneck in the Welwyn area, which includes but is not restricted to the double track Welwyn Viaduct. The remainder of the East Coast Main Line traversed by Great Northern Fen Line services (between Hitchin and Kings Cross] is four tracked].

Monday 14 November 2016 - A reminder is given of the Association's 31st Annual General Meeting to be held on Saturday 19 November 2016, at St. John's Church, King's Lynn, starting at 2 pm. Leaving King's Lynn station, turn right, the church is in front of you. Please use the front door, opposite the car parking area.

Our guest speaker is Helen Warnock, Area Manager, West Anglia & North London Line, Network Rail. As usual, a rail management panel will also be in attendance to answer Members' questions. The Agenda for the Meeting has been placed in the Members' section.

Non-members are welcome - please note you will be asked to join on the day!

Sunday 13 November 2016 - The GTR 2018 timetable consultation will be discussed at Saturday's AGM. We have placed a copy of our draft response to GTR's questions in the Members' section; this includes a summarised background of the evolution of, and the reasoning behind, our draft response. The current issue of The Fenman (Issue 3/2016) also outlines our draft response. We will finalise our response to GTR's consultation following the Annual General Meeting (see news item dated Thursday 27 October 2016).

Friday 11 November 2016 - "MP hopes to ‘secure’ Downham Market [station] pub site’s future" says the Lynn News, reporting that South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Liz Truss "explained that she understands the loss that residents and commuters will feel now the Railway Arms on platform one of Downham train station has ceased trading. She said: 'I was very disappointed by the closure of the Railway arms and station café. I am a regular commuter between Downham and London so I know the closure will be a great loss to the community and rail travellers. I have called a meeting with Govia Thameslink, the managing agents and local representatives to try and secure future operations at the site.'”

Thursday 10 November 2016 - "Government working to deliver new Addenbrooke's station in Cambridge 'as soon as possible'" writes Josh Thomas for today's Cambridge News. "MPs gathered on Tuesday to discuss the West Anglia Taskforce report. During the talks, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Paul Maynard confirmed the Department for Transport would be working closely with Cambridgeshire County Council and said they would deliver improvements, including a new railway station at Addenbrooke’s, 'as soon as we can'." The paper says: "The new station, it is hoped, will help the city cope with the “next wave of growth”, providing better transport links for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and allowing more regular trains between Cambridge and London."

Tuesday 8 November 2016 - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Paul Maynard MP says during the Commons debate on the West Anglia Taskforce Report today: "Suggestions include ... a new station at Addenbrooke’s, supporting growth in Cambridge’s biomedical sector. The hon. Member for Cambridge [Daniel Zeichner MP] asked for an update, and I am happy to confirm that we are working closely with Cambridge[shire] County Council to deliver that as soon as we can. I do not have any precise timings yet, but the detailed study of the viability of the new station is being undertaken with the county council and I hope to have more news soon. The hon. Gentleman has raised that with me, and I shall keep a careful eye on it. In his role as shadow Transport Minister he can, I am sure, ask about it again each time we face each other at the Dispatch Box."

Tuesday 8 November 2016 - Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner, calls on the government today to back a new station at Addenbrooke's/Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Mr Zeichner is speaking in a Parliamentary debate on rail improvements in Cambridgeshire and the East Anglia region [Westminster Hall, West Anglia Taskforce report, 2.30 pm to 4 pm. House of Commons Debate Pack here]. Daniel Zeichner MP says: “If Cambridge is to remain a world class city we need to invest in infrastructure. The Government know about the need for a station at Addenbrooke’s, and have just awarded a new franchise bringing new trains, but now we need the line improvements and stations to match."

Monday 7 November 2016 - News from Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Devolution Partnership, published today, says that "The devolution proposal to Government includes: ... "Transport infrastructure improvements such as ... Ely North Junction." The proposals also include "Rail improvements, including ... new rolling stock, improved King’s Lynn, Cambridge, London rail." Councillors will be voting on the devolution proposals next week.

Tuesday 1 November 2016 - The East West Rail Consortium has awarded a contract to Atkins Consultants on 31 October to deliver a Conditional Output Statement (COS) regarding the potential enhancements to the existing rail links between Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich. The Consortium states: "The railway infrastructure between from Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge is already in place, however, the routes are potentially underused. Sections of single track restricts performance and capacity. The potential for the Eastern Section would be to double track the line through Dullingham and Newmarket. This study is the first step of the long term planning process to identify future rail enhancement schemes as options for investment and delivery. The East West Rail overall EWR rail link is being planned in three distinct phases: the Eastern Section between Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge; the Central Section between Cambridge and Bedford, and the Western Section between the Bedford and Oxford. The final conclusions from the study output are expected to be completed by May 2017." [Services from Cambridge to Norwich run over the Fen Line from Cambridge to Ely North Junction, where they diverge].

Monday 31 October 2016 - Correction: Paragraph 2 on page 4 of The Fenman issue 3/2016 has the word 'staffed' missing. The third sentence of that paragraph should read "2tph to/from all staffed stations at other times is promised by the Government and we urge the early completion of the infrastructure works necessary to meet this firm commitment." The diagram on page 2 which shows the Government MINIMUM train service requirement is correct.

Monday 31 October 2016 - "Ely Area Rail Improvements GRIP 1 – 5 study (up to and including detailed design)on improvements to increase the number of train paths through Ely, including through the Ely North bottleneck, in preparation for Network Rail delivery from 2019" are included in 'Planning for Growth: A position statement from England’s Economic Heartland’s Transport Forum' [page 17] published today. The document discusses rail journey times and includes the proposed Cambridge-Oxford East West Rail project.

Friday 28 October 2016 - "Frothy Coffee 1, Cider 0 " is the Lynn News' front page story today. The story covers the closure of the 'Railway Arms' pub and 'Fenland Express' cafe at Downham Market station.

Thursday 27 October 2016 - The West Anglia Taskforce launches its 5 point call for action for the Cambridge-Liverpool Street line today reports the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP. The Taskforce's brochure can be found here. The 5 points are: (1) Cambridge in 60 [minutes] and Stansted in 40 [minutes]– Liverpool Street services; (2) Improving service levels to other communities along the route to support growth; (3) A new timetable by 2020 to take advantage of new, faster and longer trains; (4) Four-tracking the railway [south of Harlow] in the mid-2020s as a precursor to Crossrail 2 opening in 2033; (5) Progressing Crossrail 2 ahead of submitting a Hybrid Bill by 2019. The Taskforce envisages a "proposed new station south of Cambridge to support jobs growth at Cambridge Biomedical Campus" ['Addenbrooke's station'] by 2022. We support this proposed new station. ITV coverage of today's West Anglia Taskforce's campaign launch is to be found here.

Thursday 27 October 2016 - We have published the latest issue of our newsletter 'The Fenman' today and have sent copies to members with an 'email membership' as well as to selected persons in the railway industry. 'Postal members' will receive their copies in the next few days. In this issue, we urge members to take part in Govia Thameslink Railway's 2018 timetable consultation, asking that we be copied in to any responses they may make. The 2018 timetable consultation will also be discussed at our forthcoming Annual General Meeting, to be held on Saturday 19 November 2016 at King's Lynn. Helen Warnock, Area Director for Network Rail, will be our guest speaker. We will finalise our response to GTR's consultation following that meeting.

Thursday 27 October 2016 - "It's the end of the line" says the main front page headline on the Eastern Daily Press (West Norfolk and Fens Edition) today. The newspaper reports on the closure of the award-winning 'Railway Arms' pub and 'Fenland Express' cafe at Downham Market Station. The Ely Standard continues the story: "‘Excessive’ rent demand prompts closure of popular and Camra award winning railway pub - A notice was posted this week on the window of the Railway Arms, on platform one at Downham Market station. In the note, the tenants of seven years, who also run The Fenland Express café on the platform, blamed the closure on a 'proposed rent increase, which we regard as excessive, and which, in our view, would adversely affect the viability of the business'". The paper continues: "A spokesman for Great Northern, which runs rail services from Downham Market to Cambridge and London, said it was surprised to learn the tenants had handed back the keys to their unit. 'It was our understanding that negotiations were under way via our managing agent, and a very modest rent increase was offered,' the spokesman added. ... 'We would be very willing to talk to the tenant to understand why this offer was unacceptable.'”

Monday 24 October 2016 - On tonight's BBC Look East Evening News, political correspondent Andrew Sinclair reports on the prospects for the region's infrastructure in November's Autumn Statement from the Chancellor. He says: "At Ely station trains are crowded because until the junction is improved they can't run any more through here." Head of Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, Neil Darwin, adds: "We know the roads are busy, we know the rail is creaking and fundamentally we need to see that investment comes through pretty quickly to keep up with the growth."

Monday 24 October 2016 - Bury St. Edmunds MP Jo Churchill was the Keynote Speaker at the Suffolk Rail Conference, held this morning. Looking forward, Mrs Churchill considered how improvements to vital intersections like Ely, can be delivered. Addressing conference delegates, Mrs Churchill said: “It is vital to meet all the aspirations of stakeholders across the region, such as the Port of Felixstowe, the biggest and busiest container port in the country, relying on rail links via Ely North to the Midlands and beyond… The Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP has said, upgrading the Ely area is their top priority and they are working closely with New Anglia LEP and the South East LEP to lobby for the investment.” A set of the slides displayed at the Conference, including background material on the Ely Area, can be found here .

Monday 24 October 2016 - Network Rail issues a statement on the building work at the new Fen Line station at Cambridge North. NR's statement includes a photograph of the footbridge span which will link the platforms on the King's Lynn-King's Cross main line being lifted into position and says: "Cladding has also been installed on the lift shafts at the site of the new £50m station, which is anticipated to handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day. The new station will alleviate the pressure on the existing Cambridge station, where people currently leave the train in order to travel by other means to the science and business parks." Helen Warnock, Network Rail’s area director for West Anglia, says: “It’s been all hands to the pump on site over the last few months to build the lift shafts and station buildings, and this bridge links all of those together so you can really see the station taking shape. All of our work here is gearing up to provide that vital link to the north of the city when the station opens next year, and to support the growth of the local economy as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.” Helen is the Guest Speaker at our forthcoming Annual General Meeting, to be held at King's Lynn on Saturday 19 November.

Friday 21 October 2016 - Network Rail published a timelapse Youtube video today, marking another important milestone in the construction of the new Fen Line station at Cambridge North (also known as Cambridge Science Park station). The footbridge span was lifted into position over the lines adjacent to the Kings Lynn-Cambridge-Kings Cross main line on Friday 14 October 2016. The station is due to open in May 2017. Initially, already overfull Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains will not be able to stop at the new station; Network Rail's Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car project is designed to overcome this, as are GTR's interim timetable proposals. We urge members to take part in GTR's 2018 timetable consultation (and send us a copy of any response they submit) as Cambridge North is one (of many) important issues covered by this consultation.

Tuesday 18 October 2016 - "Ely will not be left behind amid focus on Norwich to London line, says rail boss" report's today's Eastern Daily Press [page 5, West Norfolk and Fens edition]. "Rail infrastructure around Ely is 'flashing at the top' of Network Rail's list of priorities, a boss of the body responsible for the country's rail tracks and signals has said" reports today's newspaper. "Richard Schofield insisted they would not ignore the crucial rail link to the west of Norfolk and Suffolk as a result of the ambitious franchise covering the Norwich to London link" the newspaper goes on to say, continuing: "The upgrade to the Ely junction bottleneck was expected to pave the way for more twice-hourly train services between King's Lynn and London. Mr Schofield said: 'The Ely area, if we had a list of priorities, it would be flashing at the top because it is integral to freight services from Felixstowe, capacity on the West Anglia, King's Lynn services from King's Cross. Ely becomes one of the key priorities. We are focused, working with the local enterprise partnership, on funding the development so we can keep the momentum going. It is on the list of priorities for CP6 (the works programme between 2019 and 2024).'" The main Eastern Daily Press story, which covers the new Greater Anglia franchise, is here. [Greater Anglia runs trains to and from Liverpool Street; the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross service is operated by Great Northern, part of Govia Thameslink Railway].

Monday 17 October 2016 - GTR has published the 'top 6 destinations' for its stations to assist in understanding the 2018 timetable consultation proposals. We list headline figures here (year to March 2015): Fen Line stations' top 2 destinations are listed below (station order reflects total footfall size, largest to smallest):

Ely - 1 Cambridge, 2 London; King's Lynn - 1 London, 2 Cambridge; Downham Market - 1 London, 2 King's Lynn; Waterbeach - 1 Cambridge, 2 London; Littleport - 1 Cambridge, 2 London; Watlington - 1 Kings Lynn, 2 Cambridge. We intend to report more fully in the next issue of The Fenman, due in early November.

Taking passenger flows to/from London destinations only, the GTR figures show that approximately 88% of Fen Line passengers travel to/from King's Cross or are estimated to travel beyond King's Cross to destinations using the cross-London Thameslink Core "if direct trains were available" (the relevant King's Cross/Thameslink Core percentages for Fen Line stations north of Ely are 89% and, for Ely and Waterbeach combined, 87%). Total Fen Line estimates for Liverpool Street are 11% and for other London destinations, 1%.

Monday 17 October 2016 - An "exclusive" Youtube video, produced by railnet, showing the first test train to Cambridge run by a new 100 mph class 700 Thameslink train, can be viewed here These trains will be used on the proposed Cambridge to Brighton and Cambridge to Maidstone East/Ashford International services. King's Lynn-King's Cross services will be operated by 110 mph class 387 trains (see news item dated 10 October 2016). .

Monday 17 October 2016 - "New Greater Anglia rail franchise launches with all trains set to be replaced" headlines the Cambridge News today. The paper continues: "Two new fleets of 1,043 carriages will be introduced to the franchise between Spring 2019 and Autumn 2020, built by Bombardier in Derby (665 carriages) and Stadler in Switzerland (378 carriages) ... Journey times are set to fall on average 10 per cent including trains from London to Cambridge in 61 minutes." We have previously reported that the fastest journey time between Liverpool Street and Cambridge (May 2016 timetable) is 65 minutes (0803 and 0833 Liverpool Street-Cambridge services) whereas the fastest transit between Kings Cross and Cambridge is 46 minutes (0844, 0944, 1044, 1144, 1244, 1344, 1444, 1544 Kings Cross-Kings Lynn services)[see news item dated Friday 18 March 2016].

Monday 17 October 2016 - "Franchise heralds 'new dawn' for rail in East Anglia" is the title of Greater Anglia's publicity launch about its new investment-led franchise. Its headlines are: "New ‘Greater Anglia’ franchise to deliver £2 billion worth of transformative improvements for passengers including a full fleet of new trains" and "Special Offer’ to attract more people to take the train."

Sunday 16 October 2016 - The new East Anglia rail franchise begins today. Current operators Abellio (click here for video) are using the "Greater Anglia" name for this new franchise, which is expected to run until 2025. Greater Anglia will continue to operate the peak King's Lynn/Ely to Liverpool Street services, as well as the Norwich to Cambridge via Ely route. Govia Thameslink Railway, trading as "Great Northern" will continue to operate the main King's Lynn-Ely-Cambridge-King's Cross route - this is part of the "Thameslink, Great Northern and Southern" management contract with the government, which lasts until September 2021.

Thursday 13 October 2016 -"New £4m public square to open at Cambridge station on Monday" reports Adam Care in the Cambridge News today. In a statement announcing the opening, a Greater Anglia spokesman told the newspaper: “the square will be surrounded by a range of quality food and retail options, creating opportunities to eat, drink, shop and socialise. As the centrepiece for CB1, Cambridge station and the surrounding development, Station Square will act as the beating heart of this exciting new city quarter for Cambridge." The square will open on Monday 17 October 2016 and the Cambridge News notes: "There will be no changes to Citi bus routes, but passengers are advised to allow a few extra minutes to account for ongoing work in front of the station to install new traffic lights, that may cause delays."

Wednesday 12 October 2016 - Great Northern holds a 2018 timetable consultation 'roadshow' at Cambridge station from 1700 to 1900. There will be a similar event at Kings Cross station on Tuesday 8 November 2016, from 1630 to 1900.

Monday 10 October 2016 - The 110mph class 387 trains, which are to be introduced on King's Lynn-King's Cross services next year, have run on Great Northern in passenger service for the first time today. Click the link for a video which shows the interior and exterior of these trains, produced by Jonathan Morris.

Tuesday 4 October 2016 - We have added a Note for Members (setting out extracts from the GTR 2018 timetable consultation) and a Summary of the GTR 2018 timetable consultation data and preliminary analysis to the Members' Section. Members may obtain a printed copy of our documents by contacting Andy Tyler by email or in writing. If you work in the rail industry or for a public body and would like copies, please send your work email address to Andy Tyler and these will be emailed to you.

Friday 30 September 2016 - Network Rail publishes its CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan Update September 2016. The document states: "The Department for Transport has now formally accepted the re-planning of the enhancements portfolio for CP5 which was proposed in the Hendy Review." We would draw particular attention to the following schemes: Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement [page 27], Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade [page 28], Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car [page 34], and Cambridge North New Station [page 160].

Wednesday 28 September 2016 - The latest issue of RAIL magazine, published today, reports on the East Anglia Rail Summit, held on Wednesday 7 September at Westminster. The Summit covered the newly-awarded East Anglia Rail Franchise [services to/from Liverpool Street, not to/from Kings Cross]. An article by RAIL's Assistant Editor Richard Clinnick, quotes MP Chloe Smith: "'We know there's a lot still to do. That focuses on the lines coming off the Great Eastern Main Line,' she said, highlighting Ely North Junction as a key improvement to boost capacity" [page 12]. Another article [page 13] quotes NR Principal Strategic Planner, London & South East, Chris Rowley: "On Ely North Junction, Rowley said: 'One of the key things for the cross-country route is the passenger aspirations. Govia Thameslink Railway wants two trains per hour to Kings Lynn, 2tph Norwich to Cambridge is an aspiration, CrossCountry wants more to Stansted Airport, and maybe there are trains to Wisbech. That adds to a major pinch point. We are liaising with Local Enterprise Partnerships and there is a clear view of what we want. We need to think of freight and passengers.'" Another article by Richard Clinnick in the same issue [page 22] reports Transport Minister Paul Maynard responding to a question "about the Ely North Junction improvements, which have been delayed, he [the Minister] said 'Projects not being delivered entirely in CP5 can have preparation work started in CP5 even if the main work is carried out in CP6, so it becomes more seamless.'"

Tuesday 27 September 2016 - In another announcement about new trains, Great Northern announces "Air-conditioned trains breeze on to Great Northern this autumn." The statement says: "Air-conditioned trains will be breezing onto the Great Northern route for the first time ever next month, as the rail firm gives passengers cooler, more comfortable journeys between the capital and Peterborough and Cambridge. ... And from May next year, subject to work to be carried out by Network Rail, these first new trains will also run on the Fen Line, between Cambridge and King’s Lynn." The trains (which are less than two years old and are currently running on Thameslink services between Bedford and Brighton) are listed as featuring "*Greater reliability than existing trains *Two-by-two seating with tables and power points throughout for those who want to work or play and charge their devices *Modern passenger information systems *Spaces for people in wheelchairs, fully accessible toilets and other features for people with disabilities."

The statement also says: "If Great Northern is able to extend its fast King’s Cross-Cambridge ‘flyers’ to Ely in May 2017 (this depends on Network Rail infrastructure changes) then this will not only double the service between Ely and Cambridge/King’s Cross to two trains per hour, but it will help serve the new station at Cambridge North; stopping services from King’s Lynn to Cambridge would also stop at Cambridge North from May 2017, providing an initial service of two trains per hour at the new station. By 2019, Cambridge North is proposed to have twice the number of trains – four per hour. Two from King’s Lynn and two from Ely (and vice versa)."

Thursday 22 September 2016 - "New trains to bring 'touch of pampering' as part of nine-year plan" reports today's Ely Standard. The article, by Kath Sansom, reports on the reactions of rail campaigning organisation Railfuture to the recently-announced award of the East Anglia franchise, to Abellio, saying "Railfuture has welcomed the plans but hopes the promises live up to expectations in post-Brexit Britain and say what must remain a priority is pushing for the March to Wisbech line to re-open, Ely North junction improvements, a new station at Soham and adding a line from the Soham to Ely section." Railfuture is reported as saying in its magazine Raileast: “The future augurs well for passengers who might well feel a touch pampered by these new trains, even though four years will pass before they become widely evident." [The East Anglia franchise covers services running to/from Liverpool Street; Fen Line trains to/from Kings Cross are operated by Govia Thameslink Railway, trading as "Great Northern"].

Tuesday 20 September 2016 - "Stations are going to make a rail difference" reports Josh Thomas in the Cambridge News today [page 8] "with a new station, Cambridge North, due to open in May 2017 and another, at Addenbrooke's, which it is hoped will open in 2019." The paper continues: "Plans for Cambridge North have been under discussion for some time, but it is hoped another station in the south of the city near Addenbrooke's hospital, provisionally called Cambridge South, will be completed far more quickly." Leader of Cambridge City Council, Councillor Lewis Herbert tells the Cambridge News: “I think they are aiming for six trains per hour through Addenbrooke's."

Tuesday 20 September 2016 - In an article by Chris Elliott, the Cambridge News [page 2] reports today: "Help us improve train services say rail chiefs". The newspaper says: Govia Thameslink Railway has launched a public consultation exercise on what it calls the “biggest timetable shake-up in a generation.... On the Great Northern route [which includes King's Lynn-King's Cross Fen Line trains] the rail operator says ... next year [2017 - in advance of the main 2018 changes][it] aims to double the frequency of services from Ely, with air-conditioned trains." The Cambridge News states: "Exact timings of trains in 2018 have not yet been published, but GTR says it will be boosting capacity and wants to know what services people are keen to see" and goes on to quote Phil Hutchinson, head of timetable development and consultation for GTR, as saying: “We are proposing a complete redesign of the timetable by looking at which journeys are most important to passengers. ... Operationally, each route would be self-contained so that if a problem occurs it does not affect other routes."

Monday 19 September 2016 - The Evening Standard reports today: "Finally rail bosses announce major shake-up of London commuter trains... but it won't arrive until 2018".

Monday 19 September 2016 - GTR's statement regarding the 2018 timetable consultation is to be found here. The full consultation document contains a number of questions, which can be answered using GTR's survey response form. Proposals for Great Northern Mainline, which includes Route GN1 Kings Lynn-Ely-Cambridge-London Kings Cross, are summarised in Information sheet 2. GTR has also published a station-by-station comparison chart. Please also see news item below, dated Thursday 15 September 2016 (the date the consultation formally started).

Monday 19 September 2016 - We have today written to Network Rail to advise them: "that, having taken into consideration the amendments made since the first round of consultation, and noting that you have withdrawn the proposal to close C23 Adelaide crossing, the Association SUPPORTS Network Rail's plans for the closure/alteration of the following 15 crossings on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route: C35 Ballast Pit, C06 Barrington Road, C28 Black Horse Drove, C01 Chittering, C25 Clayway [Littleport], C24 Cross Keys, C34 Fysons, C33 Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing), C31 Littleport station, C02 Nairn's No 117, C04 No 20 [Meldreth], C07 No 37 [Harston], C26 Poplar Drove, C03 West River Bridge, C27 Willow Row/Willow Road. Given that the proposal at C31 Littleport station would greatly help in accommodating platform lengthening works currently being considered as part of NR's Cambridge-King's Lynn 8-car scheme work, we urge that the level crossing proposal for Littleport station be given high priority." We also add the following comments in respect of the Littleport station proposal: In respect of C31 Littleport station [barrow crossing]: “we suggest an early involvement of the Highway Authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) if this has not already commenced, that the proposal is non-prejudicial to any longer-term (unfunded) multi-story car park with footbridge schemes, that additional walking time will be required for car park users, that there is a need to deal with the flooding issue in the subway, that the proposed ramp and the subway should be well-lit, and that there will be a need for an additional ticket machine and card reader for the southbound platform. As stated above, we have noted the significance of this proposal in accommodating platform lengthening works currently being considered as part of NR's Cambridge to King's Lynn 8-car scheme [page 34] development and we urge that the C31 Littleport station proposals be given high priority.”

Sunday 18 September 2016 - The Institution of Engineering and Technology has invited interested Association members to a lecture at Cambridge University Engineering department, Trumpington Street, Cambridge on the ETCS signalling system. The lecture "An Overview of the European Train Control System (ETCS)" will be held on Thursday 17 November 2016, from 1800 and requires registration in advance.

Friday 16 September 2016 - "One solution [to Cambridge becoming a victim of its own success] is a hotly anticipated new train station, which is being built to the north of the city. Cambridge North is due to open in May 2017" reports the Daily Telegraph today. The newspaper says: "The station will be connect[ed] to Ely, King’s Lynn and Birmingham to the north, sending trains southbound to Cambridge, London King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport. The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway will also serve the station. Near the suburb of Chesterton, the station will also, crucially, be within walking distance of Cambridge Science Park." Chris Carey of Bidwells estate agency tells the paper: “It will take enormous pressure off the city,... People working in the Science Park and London commuters will be very attracted by it.” Martin Walshe, director of Cheffins, another estate agency, tells the Daily Telegraph: “Three thousand passengers are expected to use the station every day ....”

Thursday 15 September 2016 - Govia Thameslink Railway launches a three-month consultation on the 2018 Great Northern timetable today. A similar consultation has also been launched for GTR's Gatwick Express, Southern, and Thameslink services and some of the documentation covers all four GTR brands. GTR says: the consultation" sets out proposed changes to the timetable which will be operated by GTR in 2018 following completion of the Thameslink Programme. ... This consultation will be the earliest a train operator has released proposals in advance of the planned changes allowing sufficient time for meaningful and on-going engagement."

We welcome this opportunity for rail users to become involved in the detailed planning of this major timetable change and will advise members as to what the implications are for their own Fen Line station in due course, following our detailed scrutiny and analysis of GTR's proposals. Please check the Members' Section from time to time. The consultation closes at 17:00 on Thursday 8 December 2016. GTR has provided a survey response form which they ask individuals to use in making their own responses. We invite members to send a copy of their responses to us or to contact us directly, by email or in writing, about any issues and concerns they may have. It would be very helpful to receive members' communications before Saturday 22 October 2016, the date of the next Committee Meeting. There will also be an opportunity to discuss GTR's proposals at the Annual General Meeting, to be held on Saturday 19 November 2016 at King's Lynn, and we will submit our formal, finalised response to GTR following that meeting.

The full timetable consultation document shows proposed service patterns and structures for Mondays to Fridays between 0700 and 2200. In the case of the Fen Line, '0700 to 2200' refers to arrival times at and departure times from Kings Cross. Following their analysis of the responses to this three month consultation, GTR will launch a second stage consultation with greater information and timetable details.

Fen Line King's Lynn-Ely-Cambridge-Kings Cross services will be known as Great Northern Mainline Route 1. GTR has also issued a summary information leaflet summary information sheet for Great Northern Mainline services. For individual stations please refer to GTR's station by station comparison chart.

There will be an opportunity to discuss the proposals with GTR timetable planning staff at Cambridge and at King's Cross 'Meet the Manager' events - check GTR website or station posters for details.

Monday 12 September 2016 - Network Rail will be holding a public consultation exhibition today at Littleport Village Hall, Victoria Street, Littleport from 2 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., to consult on its preferred options for proposals to close/amend the following level crossings in Cambridgeshire used by Fen Line Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains: Black Horse Drove, Willow Row/Willow Road, Poplar Drove, Littleport station footpath level crossing, Clayway, West River Bridge. Network Rail has withdrawn its previous proposal to close the Adelaide crossing [this is a footpath crossing, not the road level crossing at Queen Adelaide, which is not, nor has been, part of the current proposals].

Thursday 8 September 2016 - Network Rail will be holding a public consultation exhibition today at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, Wollaston Road, Cambridge, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., to consult on its preferred options for proposals to close/amend the following level crossings in Cambridgeshire used by Fen Line King's Lynn-King's Cross trains: Nairns No 117, Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing), Chittering, Fysons, Ballast Pit, No Name No 37 [Harston], Barrington Road [Foxton], and No Name No 20 [Meldreth].

Network Rail will also be holding another public consultation exhibition on Monday 12 September 2016 at Littleport Village Hall, Victoria Street, Littleport from 2 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., to consult on its preferred options for proposals to close/amend the following level crossings also in Cambridgeshire and used by Fen Line Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains: Black Horse Drove, Willow Row/Willow Road, Poplar Drove, Littleport station footpath level crossing, Clayway, Cross Keys, and West River Bridge. Network Rail has withdrawn its previous proposal to close the C23 Adelaide crossing [this is a footpath crossing, not the road level crossing at Queen Adelaide, which is not, nor has been, part of the current proposals].

Monday 5 September 2016 - East Cambridgeshire District Council submits planning application 16/01159/FU3 for a new 128 space public car park with associated external works, CCTV and lighting, together with a footpath link between the new car park and the existing public car park on Angel Drove, Ely. The associated Design and Access Statement states: "Due to its proximity to the railway station it is expected that the car park use will be for commuters/railway users thus alleviating demand on other car parks currently used by Railway users. The new link footpath will also offer a safe passage for those using the existing Angel Drove car park to the railway station" [page 2].

Friday 2 September 2016 - "Strike action affecting services at Lynn’s railway station has been suspended" reports the Lynn News, "following talks between managers and union leaders. Members of the RMT union had been due to take industrial action next Wednesday, September 7, in a dispute over reforms to ticket services. But the walkout has been halted following talks at the conciliation service ACAS ...."

Thursday 1 September 2016 - GTR has advised us of the following: "INDUSTRIAL ACTION SUSPENDED - Normal Great Northern and Thameslink service on Wednesday 7 September 2016. The strike action, that had been planned by station staff in the RMT union on Wednesday 7 September, has been suspended. Great Northern and Thameslink expect to run the planned service on that day. You can follow this incident on Twitter using #RMTStrikeGNTL "

Wednesday 31 August 2016 - The latest issue of RAIL magazine reports [page 14] Great Eastern Main Line Task Force [similar to the West Anglia Main Line Taskforce] Chairman Mark Pendlington as saying "we are trying to move Ely North's improvements from Control Period 6 (CP6)) to CP5 if we can." [Mr Pendlington is also Chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership].

Wednesday 31 August 2016 - Pages 92-95 of the latest issue of RAIL magazine contain a fully illustrated article, "The £50m stimulus to Cambridge's needs", by Paul Stephen. The article states: "Situated on the Fen Line and funded by the Department for Transport's New Stations Fund, it adds another stop for trains running between Cambridge and Ely ... With a proposed service pattern of up to five trains per hour, Cambridge North will be managed by Abellio under its new Anglia franchise, although Great Northern trains are also expected to call here. ... The station itself consists of two 254-metre platforms that can accommodate 12-car trains. The easternmost platform faces the Up line of the Fen Line, whilst the other is an island platform facing the Down line on one side and forming a south-facing bay on the other for terminating services with full turn-back facilities." [ Although regular Fen Line travellers have been able to see the steady progress for some time now, the RAIL article includes "behind the scenes" photographs and an aerial view].

Thursday 25 August 2016 - The RMT Union has announced 24 hour strike action by its GTR station staff members on Wednesday 7 September 2016. The Union says: "The impact of the Govia proposals cannot be underestimated. GTR want to close ticket offices, or cut them to morning peak only, at 83 stations from as far afield as Kings Lynn and Bognor Regis. As a means of doing this they plan to introduce a new multi-functional role of Station Host which RMT estimates will result in a cut of at least 130 jobs." The Union's full announcement can be found here. GTR's response to the RMT can be found here. GTR has also stated: "If strike action goes ahead, it is likely to have a significant impact on train services as they [station staff] perform train dispatch at some stations. Some ticket offices may also be closed. Services on the morning of Thursday 8 September may also be disrupted. Great Northern and Thameslink are currently finalising their plans and an update will be posted here [link to the GTR website] with the latest information as soon as it is available."

At the Association's Committee Meeting held on Saturday 11 June 2016 it was "AGREED that GTR’s proposed changes to ticket selling arrangements at King’s Lynn would be assessed following six months of operation, the start of such changes being expected later in the year."

Wednesday 24 August 2016 -The Department for Transport today confirms Abellio as operator of the new East Anglia Rail Franchise. The new franchise will start on Sunday 16 October 2016 and includes trains running to and from Liverpool Street, as well as Norwich-Ely-Cambridge services (many of the latter are to be extended to Stansted Airport). There is to be a doubling of the Peterborough to Ipswich service (via Ely) to hourly. The East Anglia franchise does not include the Kings Lynn-Kings Cross 'Great Northern' services operated by Govia Thameslink Railway.

Tuesday 23 August 2016 - Network Rail is moving to the second stage of its consultation exercise regarding proposals for changes to various crossings in Cambridgeshire including those used by Fen Line King's Lynn-King's Cross trains. See news item dated Saturday 11 June 2016 to see the Association's support for these crossing proposals. Since the first round of consultation, Network Rail has withdrawn its proposals to close crossing C23 Adelaide footpath crossing. A list of the current proposals for Cambridgeshire can be found here. Network Rail will be holding a public exhibition at Cambridge on Thursday 8 September 2016 (2pm to 7pm) and another at Littleport on Monday 12 September 2016 (2pm to 6.30pm).

Tuesday 16 August 2016 - The Lynn News reports today that "Rail staff at stations including Lynn have voted to take strike action in a dispute over proposed changes to ticketing services. RMT union officials say 70 per cent of their members voted in favour of industrial action in a ballot, which concluded today... 'In light of this strong mandate from our members, our National Executive Committee will be considering the course of industrial action.'” A Govia Thameslink Railway spokesman told the Lynn News: “We note that only one in four (26.9 per cent) voted for strike action, with more than half of RMT station staff members ignoring the ballot."

Tuesday 16 August 2016 - The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) has "today confirmed a 70% vote in favour of strike action in its ballot of members on Govia Thameslink Railways over a threat to jobs, pay and safety from the impact of ticket office closures and the reorganisation of the workforce. In addition nearly 80% voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike. The result will now be considered by the union executive." The issue is over GTR's proposed reorganisation of station staff. RMT says: "GTR want to close ticket offices, or cut them to morning peak only, at 83 stations from as far afield as Kings Lynn and Bognor Regis. As a means of doing this they plan to introduce a new multi-functional role of Station Host which RMT estimates will result in a cut of at least 130 jobs." The results of the RMT ballot are shown here

At the Association's Committee Meeting held on Saturday 11 June 2016 it was "AGREED that GTR’s proposed changes to ticket selling arrangements at King’s Lynn would be assessed following six months of operation, the start of such changes being expected later in the year." .

Friday 12 August 2016 - The BBC reports "Stretham rail crash: Probe after train hits Land Rover on track" following an accident where the 1354 King's Lynn-Kings Cross train hit a vehicle at Nairn's No 117 crossing, located between Ely and Waterbeach stations. Severe delays for passengers have been reported, with buses operating between Ely and Cambridge and a shuttle train service running between King's Lynn and Ely. We have formally supported Network Rail's proposal to completely close Nairn's No 117 level crossing as part of its Anglia Level Crossing Reduction Strategy (see news item dated Saturday 11 June 2016 below)

Friday 12 August 2016 - Today's Lynn News reports: "Devolution 'can secure rail work' in Norfolk and Suffolk." The article, by News Editor Allister Webb, reports: "For several years, politicians and rail campaigners from across the region have been lobbying for the Ely north junction, seen as a critical bottleneck on the route between Lynn and London to be upgraded ... the project has been included in the plans for a new combined authority for Norfolk and Suffolk, for which public consultation ends on August 23. If established, it would be expected to work with a similar body for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on areas such as transport. And West Norfolk Council leader Brian Long said that, by including it in the deal, it was clear that devolution was a way of accelerating the work." The newspaper quotes Councillor Long as saying: "If devolution doesn't go ahead, that will not be brought forward and we won't see them done until about 2020. It won't stop us pushing, but the most likely way is through the commitment to devolution."

Thursday 11 August 2016 - Short-term freight capacity options for the Felixstowe to the West Midlands and the North corridor include "track infrastructure capacity enhancement" at "Ely Station and Ely North Junction areas" says Network Rail in its Freight Network Study - Draft for Consultation today [Page 06]. "Longer term interventions" could include "a new avoiding line at Ely" [page 100]. NR's consultation closes on Tuesday 8 November 2016.

Thursday 11 August 2016 - "Cambridge MPs and campaigners make their priorities clear for region's new rail operator" reports the Cambridge News today. Views urging Abellio East Anglia, the winning bidder for the East Anglia Rail Franchise, to adopt as priorities are set out in the newspaper's article. [The King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross service will continue to be operated by Govia Thameslink Railway, under the Great Northern brand, as this is part of the separate Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise].

Wednesday 10 August 2016 - South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet Minister Elizabeth Truss has welcomed today's news about the award of the East Anglia Rail Franchise to Abellio East Anglia. She says: "This significant investment will see more carriages and free wifi on routes to Cambridge via Thetford as well as increased cross country services which is good news for South West Norfolk residents and is something I have long been calling for. I have also been pressing for improved services, longer trains on the Fenline and will maintain the pressure to ensure the Ely North junction upgrade progresses as quickly as possible. Today's announcement demonstrates the significant commitment to improving East Anglia's rail infrastructure which is great news for Norfolk and is a fantastic boost to the local economy."

Wednesday 10 August 2016 - In welcoming the new East Anglia franchise award, the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP says: " As a LEP, improving our rail links is a high priority for us. We have already invested in changes to King’s Dyke Level Crossing, a study into the Wisbech to Cambridge line, and are an active member of the West Anglia Taskforce, and are campaigning for vital improvements to Ely North junction.”

Wednesday 10 August 2016 - The Department of Transport has announced that Abellio East Anglia will run the East Anglia Rail Franchise from October 2016. Abellio currently runs Liverpool Street-Cambridge trains (a small number of these run to/from Ely and King's Lynn during peak times, Mondays to Fridays). Abellio also operates the Norwich-Cambridge service (which is to be extended to Stansted Airport). The entire Abellio fleet operating in East Anglia is to be replaced by new trains "within four years of the start of the franchise." The DfT's Interactive Map shows - under "West Anglia" - "a new station at Cambridge North [to be] provided with at least 2 trains per hour throughout the day, one of which operates direct to and from Liverpool Street", "1 additional evening peak service from Liverpool Street to Ely", "2 additional fast trains per hour off-peak [from Liverpool Street]: 1 train serving Bishops Stortford and 1 train serving Cambridge" and "new trains with free Wi-Fi from February 2019." Abellio has issued a statement welcoming the Government's decision. The new franchise will run until 2025 and does not cover King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services, which are operated by Govia Thameslink Railway.

Extensive press coverage of Abellio's successful bid includes articles by the Cambridge News and the Evening Standard.

Monday 8 August 2016 - "The same company building the £50million station to serve Cambridge Science Park [Cambridge North station] has now won the £35 million contract to build Ely's southern by pass " reports the Ely Standard today. The newspaper continues: "VolkerFitzpatrick will be responsible for building the 1.7km long single carriageway road with a separate bridge over the Great Ouse." [The Ely Southern Bypass will enable the subsequent closure of Ely Station Level Crossing, a potential constraint on greatly increased train movements north of Ely Station].

Sunday 7 August 2016 - "Devolution money may unlock millions of private sector funding in Cambridge's infrastructure" reports John Vale of the Cambridge News today. The article says devolution could deliver: "Transport infrastructure improvements such as ... Ely North junction, rail improvements, including a new station at Soham, (new rolling stock, improved King's Lynn, Cambridge, London rail), and build[ing] on the case to develop the Wisbech-Cambridge rail connection." Talking to the newspaper, Cambridge City Council leader Councillor Lewis Herbert is quoted as saying work is ongoing "to create a regional transport body made up of all six counties in the East." Consultation on devolution for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough closes on 23 August 2016. "The combined authority could be set up as early as February" according to the Cambridge News.

Friday 5 August 2016 - "Plan promises £70m shot in the arm to revitalise region " reports the Cambridge News today [pages 4/5]. "The package of measures planned by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough (GCGP) local enterprise partnership would help build new roads, railways and training centres, to help foster economic growth across the region. Some of the schemes currently being considered for investment include vital capacity improvements to enable the Ely North Rail Junction to come forward... The so-called growth deal is also earmarked to dovetail with other projects such as devolution and the City Deal." The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP is also home to more national transport studies than any other, [including East Coast Main Line Study, East West rail between Cambridge and Oxford, Ely North Junction, new railway stations at Soham and in the south of Cambridge/Bio-medical Campus, Reopening the Wisbech to March railway line, and the West Anglia Main Line Improvements Taskforce] but the newspaper reports the LEP as noting "delays in the new [East Anglia] rail franchise announcement, key rail improvements moved back post-2019, and other congested routes are concerns."

The Cambridge News displays a diagram from the LEP document 'Growth Deal Three' [page 7] which sets out proposed new major housing developments. This includes 8,500 new houses at Waterbeach, 3,000 new houses at Ely, 2,700 new houses at Downham Market, and 7,500 new houses at King's Lynn - all places with Fen Line stations.

Thursday 4 August 2016 - We have today published The Fenman issue 2016 no 2 and members with email subscriptions should have received their copies today; please let us know if this is not the case. Postal members' copies have now been posted and should arrive shortly; again, please advise us if you do not receive your copy in the next few days. A copy of the latest issue has been posted in the Members' section of the website.

Monday 1 August 2016 - "Cambridge's new station is taking shape" is the headline of Network Rail's news release issued today and, as regular Fen Line travellers will know, "taking shape" is indeed the right description. NR says: "Two lift shafts are now in place at the site of the new £50m station, which is anticipated to handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day. The new station "part of Network Rail's Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better railway for Britain" will alleviate the pressure on Cambridge station, where people currently leave the train in order to travel by other means to the science and business parks." We look forward to Fen Line trains being able to call at the new station as soon as possible - the next issue of our newsletter, The Fenman, will be covering some of the complex issues involved. Today's NR news release contains a number of pictures which show how the construction work is coming on in leaps and bounds.

Thursday 28 July 2016 - The Lynn News reports today: "King's Lynn station staff to be balloted for strike action." The newspaper says: "Rail staff in Lynn are to be balloted for strike action in a dispute over proposed reforms of ticketing services. The station is one of more than 80 affected by the plans, which would see ticket offices either fully or partially closed and replaced with staff serving passengers on concourse areas in new "station host" roles. Union leaders claim the measures will lead to job losses and a reduction in the quality of services to passengers. But Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the parent company of West Norfolk's main rail operator Great Northern, says it is disappointed by the union's stance."

Thursday 28 July 2016 - Network Rail publishes the East West Rail: Central Section Engineering Summary Report (dated 15 February 2016). This covers the 'missing' Cambridge to Bedford area section of the former Cambridge-Oxford railway, crossing the East Coast Main Line in the Sandy area. NR has also published its East West Rail Central Section brochure.

Wednesday 27 July 2016 - The Evening Standard reports today "A dramatic escalation of the Southern Rail dispute has been announced by union leaders. More than 1,000 stations staff are to be balloted for strike action not only across Southern but now also including Thameslink [including Great Northern] and Gatwick Express services. The dispute, originally involving just train guards on Southern, will now spread right across the UK,s largest franchise operated by Govia Thameslink Railways (GTR). ... The station staff ballot result will be announced on Tuesday 16 August. The announcement comes just 24-hours after the TSSA transport union declares the result of its separate strike ballot among Network Rail engineers and heightening the threat of major summer disruption revealed in yesterday's Evening Standard. RMT leaders predict overwhelming support for the station staff ballot with a series of 24-strikes expected to follow halting, cancelling and delaying trains across the franchise which stretches as far afield, through London, from King's Lynn to Bognor Regis. Walkouts by guards and station staff could be combined for maximum effect. The dispute is over plans announced by GTR to be introduced next month which will change the way ticket offices are staffed and operated - ticket offices will be closed at 83 stations or have opening hours drastically reduced." The RMT Union puts its case here and the GTR response is here.

Tuesday 26 July 2016 - "The threat of summer disruption on the railways increased today after engineers working for Network Rail announced a ballot for strike action. Union bosses forecast overwhelming support for the strike call when the result is announced on August 15" reports the Evening Standard. The paper says: "The NR dispute involves more than 250 key senior maintenance engineers who are on call 24/7. They are demanding an increase in payments for out of hours on-call standby duties." Members will know of the ongoing disputes between Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Unions over issues connected with Driver Only Operation (DOO) on Southern services; all GTR's Great Northern services are DOO-worked.

Thursday 21 July 2016 - "Waterbeach new town has 'reasonable capacity' for 10,000 homes - with first buildings finished 2019" writes John Vale in the Cambridge News. His article continues: "The proposed new town north of Waterbeach has taken its first step in the formal planning process, with its first preliminary planning application having been lodged. Developers Urban & Civic, which has been appointed by the Ministry of Defence to lead development of the former barracks area, has submitted a so-called environmental impact assessment (EIA) scoping report.... [Urban & Civic says] And it says this could form part of a wider development of up to 10,000 new homes, in partnership with land to the east of the site being promoted by RLW Estates." The newspaper says that Urban & Civic is likely to submit "a planning application including detailed plans for its infrastructure ... by the end of the year. The new town should be built over a 20-year timeframe, with construction starting in 2018 and the first completions in 2019." Urban & Civic's Waterbeach webpage is here. Details of RLW Estate's "Denny St Francis" proposal can be found here. We understand that the rail industry has been talking to the prospective developers about a potential new Waterbeach station, should the new town go ahead, possibly on a site to the north of the existing one.

Thursday 21 July 2016 - The August issue of Modern Railways magazine reports: "GTR now plans to use class 387 EMUs [110 mph electrical multiple unit trains] on Great Northern services from London [King's Cross] to Cambridge/King's Lynn, with driver training already underway and entry into service planned for the autumn."

Thursday 21 July 2016 - The Evening Standard website reports: Commuting along the Fen line: Why record numbers of London homebuyers are heading to Downham" - Norfolk's 'gingerbread town.'" The paper continues: "An explosion in the number of people moving out of London and its immediate hinterland and venturing into the Fens has prompted plans to upgrade commuter services between the capital, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. This autumn Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs the service between King's Cross and King's Lynn known as the Fen Line, will launch a consultation on proposals that include introducing new wi-fi-enabled trains capable of running at 110 miles per hour. It will also consider increasing the frequency of London trains to every half hour. And when Cambridge North station is opened in May next year Fen Line services could be diverted through the new station, speeding up commuter times." The item quotes FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler: "More and more people are moving into the Fen Line area," explains Andy Tyler, secretary of the Fen Line Users Association. "I should think they are moving further out from London because of the high property prices, and the main grumble and grouse they have is overcrowding. What I hear all the time is people saying they are treated like cattle. I think that is a bigger issue than journey time for most people." Ed Bennett, valuer at Wilson & Betts estate agents, told the ES: "Bennett says around a third of buyers moving into Downham, and into nearby towns like Watlington, are coming out of London and are not overly concerned by the journey time. For the money that they can save on property they are not that bothered. They can always work on the train. As prices rise in London people are looking further along the train line." The Evening Standard concludes: "Exactly when the proposed improvements will materialise is uncertain, and Tyler says 'constant procrastination' over how to upgrade the service was another reason for passenger unrest. A spokesman for Govia confirms that a public consultation on the plans will take place later in the year." [The Association is keen to see faster journey times, but the current emphasis of members' concerns is on overcrowding]. The Evening Standard story appeared yesterday in the print edition of the paper, in an article entitled "Going flat out for the Fens" by Ruth Bloomfield.

Wednesday 20 July 2016 - "Mayor of London backs rail boost that would slash journey times between Cambridge and the capital" reports the Cambridge News: "The [West Anglia] taskforce says that new funding must be secured to build a further two tracks between Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne, as an early phase of the Crossrail project, accelerating delivery of 25,000 new homes and up to 10,000 new jobs. The work could also provide an additional four trains per hour to some stops and significantly reduce journey times from Cambridge to London [Liverpool Street]. A key cornerstone of these improvements would be a new railway station serving the Biomedical Campus, which is already well on the way with the help of private funding." The Mayor of London's news release is here.

We have previously reported that the fastest journey time between Liverpool Street and Cambridge (May 2016 timetable) is 65 minutes (0803 and 0833 Liverpool Street-Cambridge services) whereas the fastest transit between Kings Cross and Cambridge is 46 minutes (0844, 0944, 1044, 1144, 1244, 1344, 1444, 1544 Kings Cross-Kings Lynn services).

Wednesday 20 July 2016 - GTR and Network Rail have published their Joint Performance Improvement Update today, dealing with punctuality, the main operational issues and proposed improvements. The document states: "The right train specification between now and 2018 - Much effort has been put into this workstream and the fundamental work is broadly complete. The outline for the new December 2018 timetable has been defined and we are preparing to take this forward, with a public consultation due to start soon."

Wednesday 20 July 2016 - "Trio of GTR Class 387/1s readied for move to Great Northern duties" says the latest issue of RAIL magazine [page 33] in reporting on the move of three units to Hornsey Depot for crew training. The article continues: "This replaces the original plan to use cascaded 377s, which will instead move to other parts of the GTR system, as well as Southeastern." [Regular travellers will often see one or more of these 110 mph class 387/1 units in the carriage sidings outside Hornsey depot - on the left-hand side of the train when running towards Kings Cross. They are white overall, but have distinctive dark green doors with bright yellow inserts as well as carrying the 'Thameslink' name on their sides].

Monday 18 July 2016 - Lisa Goodman and John Prest of Network Rail attend Littleport Parish Council to present an update on the options currently being considered within the consultation exercise in relation to the underpass and barrow crossing at Littleport Station. The draft Minutes of the Meeting [subsequently adopted at the Parish Council meeting of 19 September 2016 as a true record] show that the Parish Council has reservations about the proposed use of the slip road underpass. The Meeting also noted that "the improvement of Littleport Station appeared in [East Cambridgeshire] District Council’s corporate objectives as being of prime importance" and that "the envisaged growth of the village which will ultimately result in more vehicles needing to park at the station to allow residents to commute to their places of work."

Friday 15 July 2016 - "A public meeting heard details from Cllr Lewis Herbert, [Cambridge] city council leader and chairman of the City Deal board, about a new station at Addenbrooke's" reports the Cambridge News. The paper continues: "He said the expectation was for the station to have been built within five years, with private funding having been secured. He also said timetable works had identified three services up and down that could stop there each hour."

Thursday 23 June 2016 - Modern Railways magazine reports "GTR is to retain the '387s', which will be transferred to its Great Northern services to Cambridge and King's Lynn." The magazine says that the trains referred to are 29 class 387/1 110 mph units.

Tuesday 21 June 2016 - A copy of the presentations made to the GTR stakeholders' conference held on Wednesday 15 June 2016 has been placed in the Members' Section.

Monday 20 June 2016 - "'Exciting times' ahead at Cambridge Biomedical Campus with new train station potentially on the way" reports the Cambridge News. "Exciting times" lie ahead at Cambridge's flagship new Biomedical Campus, with its globally important work set to be boosted by the arrival of a new railway station. The newspaper had earlier revealed that a study co-funded by AstraZeneca and infrastructure specialists John Laing had found "a new railway station could be delivered at the site next to Addenbrooke's ... sooner rather than later." The article, by Jon Vale, continues: "Some 6,000 new jobs are due to be created at the Biomedical Campus in the next five years, with as many as 15,000 being created there by 2031."

Saturday 18 June 2016 - The Queen Edith's Liberal Democrats' website states: "Addenbrooke's station on track" adding: "Provisional options have been drawn up include three locations and timetabling for trains coming from the existing Cambridge station, plus Whittlesford, Meldreth, Royston, Stansted Airport, London Liverpool Street and London Kings Cross.

Friday 17 June 2016 - The proposed Norfolk and Suffolk devolution agreement, published today, contains the following text: "The Government recognises that Ely North Junction area capacity improvements provide a key opportunity to open up East Anglia and deliver significant economic value and improve connectivity. Government will work with local stakeholders and Network Rail to deliver the required upgrade commencing work in Control Period 6 (2019-24)" [paragraph 32] and "The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge" [paragraph 33]. The East Anglia devolution website contains more details of the proposed devolution.

Friday 17 June 2016 - The devolution proposal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, published today contains the following text: "We recognise that Ely North Junction scheme area capacity improvements provide a key opportunity to open up East Anglia and deliver significant economic value and improve connectivity. Government will work with local stakeholders and Network Rail to deliver the required upgrade commencing work in Control Period 6 (2019-24)" [paragraph 26] and "31. In order to maximise the important connections Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has in all directions, and its position as a cross roads of Eastern England, Government commits to work towards replacing rolling stock as part of the new Greater Anglia franchise. Government also commits to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London via Cambridge."

[This latter wording is different to that of paragraph 33 of the proposed Norfolk and Suffolk devolution deal, which states that the rail corridor is "between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge" - i.e. the King's Cross route is specifically identified in the proposal covering Norfolk. The wording for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough necessarily allows for the West Anglia Task Force continue its existing work in developing the Cambridge-London Liverpool Street route. See news item below dated Friday 18 March 2016 for a detailed comparison of fastest London to Cambridge train times (May 2016 timetable) which shows that the fastest journey from King's Cross is 46 minutes, compared to a fastest time from Liverpool Street of 65 minutes].

Paragraph 31 of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution proposal also says: "The Combined Authority will make the case for improvements to the Thameslink Great Northern Franchise, and improvements to create a parkway station for Peterborough at Whittlesea...." [paragraph 31]. The East Anglia devolution website contains more details of the proposed devolution.

Friday 17 June 2016 - "New "Cambridge South" railway station moves closer than ever after major study says it can be built" says today's Cambridge News. The newspaper continues: "The investigation by infrastructure experts John Laing co-funded by AstraZeneca has found it is possible to build the station on the current twin tracks... both parties now believe the station could be built sooner rather than later, as part of a landmark project funded by the private sector." Cllr Ian Bates, chairman of the county council's economy and environment committee, told the newspaper's Jon Vale: "Cambridgeshire County Council is very supportive of a new station for Addenbrooke's and the Biomedical Campus." The Cambridge News reports that John Laing and AstraZeneca will now co-fund further detailed technical studies to assess the viability for a privately funded station, including working closely with the Department for Transport, Network Rail and train operators "to develop a more detailed analysis of the rail operational requirements." [We are seeking easy rail access for Fen Line users to both the Cambridge North station currently under construction, and to any future Cambridge South/Biomedical Campus station - see news item dated Monday 4 January 2016].

Wednesday 15 June 2016 - At the Govia Thameslink Railway Stakeholder Conference today it was announced that the preferred option for future King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services was the class 387 train. We understand that these trains, which are capable of 110 mph operation, have 2 by 2 seating and are wifi-enabled. The conference was also told that the cross-London Thameslink proposals, due to commence in 2018, included a Cambridge North-central London-Brighton "semi-fast" service twice an hour, and a Cambridge-central London-Maidstone East "stopping" service, also twice an hour. Please note that the above information is subject to final confirmation.

GTR has supplied a copy of the presentations made to today's conference and members can read this in the Members' Section.

Saturday 11 June 2016 - At the Committee Meeting today it was RESOLVED that:

"the Association supports Network Rail's plans for the closure/alteration of the following 16 crossings on the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route:

"C23 Adelaide, C35 Ballast Pit, C06 Barrington Road, C28 Black Horse Drove, C01 Chittering, C25 Clayway [Littleport], C24 Cross Keys, C34 Fysons, C33 Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing), C31 Littleport station, C02 Nairn's No 117, C04 No 20 [Meldreth], C07 No 37 [Harston], C26 Poplar Drove, C03 West River Bridge, C27 Willow Row/Willow Road.

"Given that the proposal at C31 Littleport station would greatly help in accommodating platform lengthening works currently being considered as part of NR's Cambridge-King's Lynn 8-car scheme work, we urge that the level crossing proposal for Littleport station be given high priority."

In respect of C28 Black Horse Drove, we note that, although RAIB Report 12/2006 [Paragraph 32] states "The crossing lies on the boundary between the counties of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk but is just inside Cambridgeshire" it would seem prudent to thoroughly check the relevant jurisdictions and, in any event, to consult the Norfolk authorities.

In respect of C31 Littleport station [barrow crossing] we suggest an early involvement of the Highway Authority (Cambridgeshire County Council) if this has not already commenced, that the proposal is non-prejudicial to any longer-term (unfunded) multi-story car park with footbridge schemes, that additional walking time will be required for car park users, that there is a need to deal with the flooding issue in the subway, that the proposed ramp and the subway should be well-lit, and that there will be a need for an additional ticket machine and card reader for the southbound platform. As stated above, we have noted the significance of this proposal in accommodating platform lengthening works currently being considered as part of NR's Cambridge to King's Lynn 8-car scheme development [page 35] and we urge that the C31 Littleport station proposals be given high priority.

Information about the Transport and Works Act Order Process - Anglia Level Crossings Proposals can be found here. The current round of consultations closes on Friday 1 July 2016; comments can be sent to anglialevelcrossings@networkrail.co.uk or via NR's Online Survey. Network Rail has confirmed that a second round of consultation on the preferred option for each level crossing will take place in August/September 2016.

Friday 10 June 2016 - Network Rail is holding a consultation exhibition today to cover proposals for changes to various level crossings. The exhibition will run from 2pm to 7pm today and will be held at Browns Field Youth & Community Centre, 31A Green End Road, Cambridge. The proposals include several crossings used by Fen Line trains [see news item below, dated Thursday 26 May 2016].

Thursday 9 June 2016 - GTR issues a statement today entitled "GTR improves station modernisation plans after consultation." The statement continues: "GTR has improved its station modernisation plans following discussions with the two rail consumer groups Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, and feedback from passengers during a public consultation. Both consumer groups have welcomed the changes. GTR wants to modernise the way it operates 83 of its busier stations on Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink for the benefit of passengers, many of whom now buy their tickets online, or use Oyster, contactless and smartcards. Where sales from ticket offices are low, GTR wants to bring staff out from behind the windows and on to the concourse to work where they're needed most, as Station Hosts, providing assistance and helping sell tickets. All the modernised stations will be staffed from the very first train the very last, seven days a week. This will drive other customer benefits - GTR will also be able to increase the opening hours of facilities passengers have told us are important, such as waiting rooms, toilets and lifts." The statement includes a list of stations affected and a summary of the consultation feedback along with GTR's response. The only Fen Line station affected by these changes is King's Lynn, where GTR intends the Ticket Office to remain open 0700-1100 Mondays to Fridays, and the station Host hours to be 0500-2200 Mondays to Saturdays, and 0745-2200 on Sundays.

Wednesday 8 June 2016 - RAIL magazine reports today: "Class 700s will begin running on the Great Northern network from next year. Manufacturer Siemens said on June 3 that the trains would run between London King's Cross and Peterborough and Cambridge from 2017. Then, from 2018, they will run from Cambridgeshire onto the Thameslink network, using the Canal Tunnel that links the East Coast Main Line with the TL network at St Pancras International." The magazine also says: "Class 377 Electrostars will begin running on the GN network from October, replacing the British Rail-era electric multiple units. In the longer term, Class 387/1s will also be used on GTR trains on the ECML, making use of their 110mph capabilities." [See news item dated Wednesday 25 May].

Wednesday 8 June 2016 - Network Rail is holding a consultation exhibition today to cover proposals for changes to various level crossings. The exhibition will run from 2pm to 7pm today and will be held at Littleport Village Hall, Victoria Street, Littleport. The proposals include several crossings on the Fen Line, [see news item below, dated Thursday 26 May 2016] one of which is the pedestrian crossing between the platforms at Littleport station. The proposal there is that "users requiring access to the east [London bound] platform will be diverted to the existing underpass, via a new ramped access off the low level Station Road, 100 metres south of the level crossing [i.e. the pedestrian crossing between the platforms, which is proposed for closure, and not the adjacent road level crossing, which is to rema1n open]. Since the opening of the A10 bypass the queues when the [road] level crossing is closed are significantly less than previously. With this in mind it is proposed to close the underpass to all vehicular or motorised traffic and use it as the means of getting between the platforms." Network Rail also says: "The level crossings in this initial phase of the Anglia Level Crossing Reduction Strategy do not include any new bridges or underpasses, and offer benefits which are currently affordable and deliverable."

Wednesday 8 June 2016 - "Rural level crossings could be closed or modified in the Ely area" writes Kath Sansom in the Ely Standard today. The newspaper article gives examples of some of these and draws readers' attention to the Network Rail Anglia crossing proposals website.

Tuesday 31 May 2016 - Network Rail creates 'virtual route' to provide better service for freight and national passenger operators, to become responsible for major issues which cross NR Route [region] boundaries. This applies particularly to freight companies, e.g. those running on the Felixstowe-Midlands/North route through Ely including Ely North Junction, and to 'national' passenger train operators, such as Cross-Country, which also operates through the Ely area. We raised concerns with cross-boundary issues potentially affecting GTR Thameslink Great Northern services [see news item dated Thursday 19 May 2016] and we are uncertain as to whether the new 'virtual' route (which is to be led by Paul McMahon, who has been appointed by NR as its Managing Director for Freight and National Passenger Operators) will include Govia Thameslink Railway operations in its scope. GTR currently runs services in five of Network Rail's eight geographically-based Routes: Anglia, London North Eastern & East Midlands, London North Western, South East, and Wessex. Network Rail's Route geography is shown here.

Thursday 26 May 2016 - Network Rail has issued leaflets in connection with its consultation exhibitions to be held in connection with level crossing proposals (see news item dated Monday 23 May 2016). The Littleport exhibition, to be held on Wednesday 8 June 2016, will cover the following crossings on the Fen Line: Black Horse Drove, Willow Row/Willow Road, Poplar Drove, Littleport station footpath level crossing, Clayway, Cross Keys, Adelaide, and West River Bridge; and the Cambridge exhibition, to be held on Friday 10 June 2016, will cover these crossings used by Fen Line trains: Nairns No 117, Jack O'Tell (Adam's Crossing), Chittering, Fysons, Ballast Pit, No Name No 37 [Harston], Barrington Road [Foxton], and No Name No 20 [Meldreth].

Thursday 26 May 2016 - The Office of Rail and Road grants consent to Network Rail for the disposal of land at Chesterton Sidings; this is to facilitate the construction of Cambridge North station and associated developments.

Thursday 26 May 2016 - The Department of Transport has published revised franchise details for Govia Thameslink Railway, in conjunction with the Govia Thameslink remedial plan dated 12 February 2016 (the latter addresses issues which had arisen on non-Great Northern parts of GTR). The revised documents include the Govia Thameslink franchise agreement execution version and the Train Service requirements (dated December 2015). The latter includes the "half-hourly" commitment for King's Cross-King's Lynn services from May 2017 (pages 362-365 of 397 refer). We have updated our summary of the Fen Line "half-hourly" government service requirement to source this from the DfT's December 2015 Train Service Requirements document.

Wednesday 25 May 2016 - Modern Railways magazine June 2016 edition reports: "Govia Thameslink Railway's fleet of 29 Class 387/1 EMUs [currently running on cross-London Thameslink services] is to be retained by the operator and will not be transferred to Great Western Railway, according to industry sources." The article on page 10 continues: "GTR is to use the '387s' on Great Northern services to Cambridge and King's Lynn. Their top speed of 110mph is higher than that of the 100mph Class 377s previously earmarked for these services, and this is expected to free up additional capacity on the East Coast main line over the two-track Welwyn viaduct, which is currently a major constraint." [We understand the Class 387 to have two-by-two seating - a detailed technical specification is available here. The government's policy paper Rolling Stock Perspective 2016 (published Wednesday 18 May 2016) contains details of rolling stock provision].

Monday 23 May 2016 - Network Rail is to hold public exhibitions on proposals to close and/or downgrade a number of level crossings in Cambridgeshire, including a number on the Fen Line. The exhibitions are to be held at Littleport (Wednesday 8 June, 1400-1900, Village Hall) and Cambridge (Friday 10 June, 1400-1900, Browns Field Youth & Community Centre) prior to further consultations due to take place in the late summer. The Eastern Daily Press and the Ely Standard have published lists of affected crossings, from which it appears that crossings at Adelaide, Black Horse Drove, Clayway, Cross Keys, Ely North Junction, Littleport Station, Poplar Drove, Willow Row/Willow Road, West River Bridge are included. More details will be posted as soon as we have them. Network Rail states: "None of the crossings in this proposal involve closing public A or B roads."

Thursday 19 May 2016 - ORR, the Office of Rail and Road has today published its first major consultation on the 2018 periodic review process, which will determine rail spending/investment priorities for Control Period 6 (CP6, 2019-2024). The consultation document outlines the proposed way forward, taking on board recent major changes; the consultation closes on Wednesday 10 August 2016.

The ORR document makes reference, inter alia, to the Hendy Review, saying [page 4]: "As a result of the Hendy review, there has been a significant change of several billion pounds to planned enhancement work, some of which has now moved from control period 5 (CP5, 2014-2019). There are now around £9.5bn of enhancements planned for control period 6 (CP6, likely to be 2019 to 2024). When combined with planned asset sales - which would reduce future income streams e.g. from property rents) over CP6 - and uncertainty about the performance and efficiency levels that Network Rail can achieve by the end of CP5, this may imply some tough choices." Along with MPs, Councils, LEPs and local business communities, we are concerned that the "unfinished business" of CP5, including the Government July 2012 HLOS "Named Scheme" of Ely North Junction and the promised "half hourly" King's Lynn-King's Cross service, specified by government contract to be started in May 2017, are honoured with the minimum delay.

The consultation document also states: "We propose to regulate at a route-level, supporting both the changes being made by Network Rail and a greater focus by routes on the needs of their customers." Soon to mark a continuity of a quarter-century, the successful King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross service crosses the internal Network Rail administrative/organisational boundary between its Anglia Route ["region"] and its London North Eastern Route ["region"] at Meldreth, just east of Royston (a point based on Nineteenth Century railway company ownership boundaries). On behalf of the ultimate consumer, the fare-paying rail passenger (many of whom have based home and employment location decisions on the integrity of the King's Lynn-King's Cross service) we have spent much time stressing to the railway industry and to politicians the need for the end users' interests to take precedence over internal administrative/organisational considerations. We therefore note that the ORR consultation document also states [page 4]: "Alongside this shift towards routes, we propose to adopt a tailored approach to the regulation of Network Rail's system operator role: its timetabling, capacity management, analysis and long-term planning functions. This would support it in making improvements to achieve better use of the network and also protect the ability of train operators to move passengers and freight across route boundaries."

We will scrutinise and report on events as they unfold, with the aim of continuing to represent passenger users of the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross rail service.

Friday 13 May 2016 - Today's Cambridge News reports, in an article by Jon Vale, on the visit of Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, to the new Cambridge North station yesterday. He tells the paper: ""My visit left me in no doubt that Cambridge deserves world class transport infrastructure, and that is what we will be delivering through the months and years ahead. ... "We have invested over £50m into Cambridge North station to improve journeys for passengers, and I am pleased to see the progress that has been made so far. Once open in 2017, I am confident that the new station will make a significant difference to commuters' journeys, as well as linking this vital Science Park directly into the rail network." Click here to see a Cambridge News video of Mr McLoughlin talking about the new Fen Line station.

Friday 13 May 2016 - Brian Long, the newly elected leader of King's Lynn & West Norfolk Council, says in today's Eastern Daily Press [page 18]: "... we must deal with west Norfolk's infrastructure issues head on - improvements to the Ely North junction are paramount to the economy of this area."

Friday 13 May 2016 - Govia Thameslink Railway announces free unlimited wifi at over 100 main stations, including King's Lynn. Connection instructions are here.

Thursday 12 May 2016 - "Secretary of State visits new station in Cambridge as work ramps up one year before completion" announces Network Rail today. The company goes on to say: "The Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, visited the site of a new £50m station north of Cambridge today (12 May 2016), to see the progress that has been made one year before it officially opens to the public. Work is well under way at the site, where 60 tonnes of steelwork has been put into place. Progress is also being made on the installation of the track, points which allow trains to move from one line to another, overhead line cabling, power supply and platforms." Regular Fen Line travellers have seen the steady progress of work on Cambridge North station, which will open up access to the employment and education cluster located close by. Though there is still one year to go before the station opens, the new station is already very impressively taking shape.

Thursday 12 May 2016 - The Office of Rail and Road has today issued its decision on long distance access rights for the East Coast Main Line. The ORR says: "the result is that we have approved the applications from Virgin Trains East Coast and from FirstGroup. We have not approved applications from the Great North Eastern Railway Company Limited (GNER)." 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, though we continue to maintain our monitoring of the ORR's work.

Thursday 5 May 2016 - Network Rail replies to Gareth Wright's Freedom of Information request concerning Waterbeach services (see news item dated 13 April below). The company states: "The timetable specification for services between Waterbeach to Cambridge / London is still under discussion and is yet to be confirmed. This information will be available in December 2016 when the May 2017 subsidiary timetable is published. I have been advised that the current level of twice hourly of service will not decrease. The specification which will determine the final journey time is still in the process of being agreed. This information will also be available December 2016 when the May 2017 subsidiary timetable is published."

Tuesday 3 May 2016 - "We've also discovered the long running saga over improvements to train services to and from King's Lynn have hit yet another delay. Last year Great Northern Trains promised newer rolling stock on the Fen Line "this summer" which was welcomed with caution. However in the last few days it's been announced the new carriages won't appear on our services until December" writes local radio station KLFM96.7's News Editor Ross Birkenshaw in the Lynn News today.

Friday 29 April 2016 - "'We want improvements to West Norfolk's Rail link too', government officials insist" reports the Lynn News. The DfT has issued a statement following criticism from two senior business users, saying "We continue to work with Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway to improve services and create more capacity on the Cambridge to King's Lynn corridor. We are clear that this will include upgrading Ely North Junction." The newspaper says: there is growing concern about when the long-awaited half-hourly service, which was due to begin in May next year, and proposals to allow longer trains to run between Lynn and Cambridge will actually start. However, the DfT insists that the project will still take place and other schemes to increase capacity in the meantime are being developed."

Friday 29 April 2016 - Today's Lynn News carries the full text of the letter from local business leaders Ben Colson and Darren Taylor about delays to the upgrading of the King's Lynn-King's Cross rail service. In their letter, they say: "The commitment to extra capacity and half -hourly trains is at best shallow and grudging, and now delayed, despite the commitment by Government and the train operator to deliver from next year, and the so-called new trains are not fit for purpose for trip lengths of 100 miles. We fear that we are being deliberately misled by the Department for Transport and the rail industry, and it is time that they address the issue openly with us, for it is the economy in this area and local businesses that suffer from all this uncertainty."

Friday 22 April 2016 - "Has train upgrade run out of steam?" is the headline on the front page of today's Lynn News, which, as well as showing the two businessmen involved, shows a train indicator board showing "London Kings Cross" and "Delayed". The page 1 story continues: "Pledges to provide more and longer trains on the line serving West Norfolk have been dismissed as 'shallow and grudging' by two senior business leaders. Ben Colson, chairman of the King's Lynn BID Steering Group, and Darren Taylor, chairman of Lynn's Town Centre Partnership, have warned the area's economy will suffer without swift action. They said: 'We are concerned that the commitment to find a proper and lasting solution may be less than fulsome, in favour of a short-term fix, with the sticking plaster splitting open in a very short period of time.'" In another article on page 4, by Allister Webb, News Editor, the Lynn News says: "Two of West Norfolk's most senior business leaders say they fear the area is being 'misled' over efforts to improve its rail links." The article continues: "... In a jointly-signed letter, Mr Colson, chairman of the King's Lynn BID Steering Group, and Mr Taylor, chairman of Lynn's Town Centre Partnership, warned the area's economy would suffer without a clear commitment to improvements. They say that delays to the introduction of longer and more frequent trains on the route show the commitment to improvements is 'shallow and grudging.'... They [also] said: "We fear that we are being deliberately misled by the Department for Transport and rail industry. It is high time that they address the issue professionally and openly with us, for it is the economy in this area and local businesses and jobs that suffer from all this uncertainty.'" North West Norfolk MP, Sir Henry Bellingham, has backed the businessmen's letter, calling for "Great Northern, the main operator of passenger services to and from Lynn, ... [to] have its franchise reviewed if half-hourly trains do not run from May next year, as provided for in its contract." Great Northern told the Lynn News that "such a sanction would be 'unfair'" saying "the company was ... working with the Department for Transport and Network Rail on a scheme to double the length of its trains between Lynn and Cambridge from four to eight coaches."

Friday 22 April 2016 - "Rail improvement hopes are dashed once more" writes David Bale in today's Eastern Daily Press [page 17]. "Transport bosses have dashed hopes that extra funding would be provided for a crucial study holding up more twice-hourly train services between King's Lynn and Cambridge and Norwich and Cambridge at the Ely junction" says the paper. While the Department for Transport has pledged to support the work being done by local councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to progress the study, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in a letter to Ms Truss that there was 'no prospect' of the government or Network Rail providing funding for the improvements before 2019." The EDP says: "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss held a rail summit in February in Downham Market with fellow MPs and Network Rail, and campaigners agreed to seek to secure funding for a development study into the scheme as early as possible to make sure that work will be ready to start in 2019."

Thursday 21 April 2016 - "Transport Secretary: Prioritising level crossing work over Ely North Junction upgrade has benefits" says Jordan Day's article in the Ely News today. The newspaper continues: "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 - something which rail groups have been campaigning for years. ... The Minister added: 'I warmly welcome the commitment of local authorities, LEPs and other stakeholders to seek to secure funding for further development work during control period 5 (2014-2019). My department and Network Rail will do everything possible to support this and work in partnership with local stakeholders.'"

Thursday 21 April 2016 - South West Norfolk MP and Cabinet member Elizabeth Truss has issued a statement Department for Transport to support development work on Ely North rail junction": "Department for Transport to support development work on Ely North rail junction" today. This follows receipt of a letter from Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport. In his letter, the Secretary of State says: "I understand the frustration that the delays to Ely North Junction improvements will cause to customers, which we very much regret. However, allow me to make clear that these major works are only being delayed, not cancelled. In addition, the retiming of the works will allow for Better coordination and integration of safety critical level crossing works In the Ely area. As such, I am confident that the scheme to be delivered in Control Period 6 (2019-2024) will be of greater overall benefit to users." Elizabeth Truss says: "I am extremely pleased that the Department for Transport recognises that Ely North rail junction is key in helping drive forward the economic growth in the eastern region. During the rail summit I held in February in Downham Market with fellow MPs, Network Rail said that a development study needed to be done to re-configure the junction and road layout. I am therefore pleased the Transport Secretary has committed to supporting this work so that the scheme can be progressed in Control Period 6. I will be having further meetings with Network Rail and Department for Transport officials to monitor progress."

Monday 18 April 2016 - "Cambridge North sees commuters get much needed service improvement - commuting into and out of Cambridge will become easier in 2017 when a new train station, being built by VolkerFitzpatrick opens in Chesterton" reads a statement by engineering and construction company VolkerFitzpatrick, issued today. The statement continues: "The project is the first major enhancement project to be delivered by VolkerFitzpatrick and their partners Atkins and Network Rail as part of the Anglia Route Collaboration (ARC), set up to carry out improvements on the rail network during the control period 5 (CP5) rail infrastructure phase." It quotes Richard Schofield, Network Rail's route managing director, as saying: "The new station will both provide benefits to passengers in terms of better connections and journey times, and will also help the economic growth of the area and improve people's journeys in and around the city of Cambridge." Benefits of the new station as stated as: "The new Cambridge North Station will complement existing services operating in the city but also improve access and travel times to the Cambridge Science Park. The station is expected to handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day." [Regular Fen Line travellers are able to see that the construction of the new platforms and tracks are well in hand and, very notably, that the lift shafts for the station footbridge are steadily gaining in height. We are very supportive of the new Cambridge North station, which will give easy access from King's Lynn and all other Fen Line stations to the surrounding jobs cluster, and we look forward to its opening next year. The quoted expected number of users, which will include those from the Cambridge area using it to travel onward to their destinations as well as those, such as Fen Line users, travelling to it as their destination, suggests that it will be about as busy as the station at Kings Lynn, which gives an indication of how important this new station is likely to become].

Monday 18 April 2016 - The Cambs Times reports today that Cambridgeshire "County council leader Steve Count writes to communities minister Greg Clark calling for 'urgent talks' on devolution - meanwhile East Cambs 'ratifies' agreement." East Cambridgeshire District Council spokesman told the paper: "chief executive John Hill and council leader James Palmer would work to "ensure the inclusion of key infrastructure projects and priorities in the current and future devolution deals for East Cambridgeshire". [The projects listed include the delayed Ely North Junction upgrade and Soham Railway Station and the doubling of track on the Peterborough-Ely-Felixstowe route. The draft East Anglia devolution agreement revealed that "The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge [paragraph 33]." See news item dated Wednesday 6 April 2016 below.]

Monday 18 April 2016 - King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council have today granted Outline Planning Permission for an Outline Application with some matters reserved for mixed use development comprising car parking, business use and 9 dwellings on Storage Land, Station Road, Watlington (ref. 15/01306/OM). The accompanying Revised Transport Statement (August 2015) states [paragraph 3.6.3] "The proposed development also includes 52 car parking spaces for users of the rail station."

Friday 15 April 2016 - "Safety fears in Cambridgeshire village as overflowing station sees cars park on double yellow lines" is the headline of Florence Snead's story in the Cambridge News today. The article continues: "A village station's car park in Cambridgeshire is so full that people have resorted to parking on double yellow lines - sparking safety fears. Residents in Waterbeach are calling for their railway station car park to be extended amid concern for people's safety in relation to vehicles overflowing from the site." Resident Kate Grant is quoted as telling the newspaper: "People would like to see the car park bigger but every time we have asked they have said the new station is coming and we can't make a case for it." A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway [which operates Kings Lynn-Kings Cross services which serving the station as 'Great Northern'] said: "Network Rail has a goods yard which we may be able to extend into, but it is not an easy fix because there is a significant difference in levels between the two. We will continue to do our best to help find a solution." Cambridgeshire Police confirmed: "Parking on double yellow lines is illegal. It can cause an obstruction and can put other road users and pedestrians at risk. We have been and will continue to ticket people who park on double yellows."

Thursday 14 April 2016 - "Measures to reduce overcrowding on trains to and from West Norfolk are a 'high priority' for industry bosses, according to a new report" reveals the Lynn News today. The paper continues: "Attention has focused on the need for longer and more frequent trains following last autumn's announcement that work on the long-awaited upgrade of the Ely north junction will not begin for at least another three years. ... The new Anglia Route Study, compiled by Network Rail, highlights the ongoing work to find ways of allowing eight-coach trains to run between Lynn and Cambridge, instead of the current four-coach units. The document said: 'The industry, funders and local stakeholders are in agreement that this is a high priority.'" FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler told the Lynn News: "Many peak services are grossly overcrowded. Longer trains can't come too soon. We urge all speed in finding a cost-effective method." The article also says: "The study also details the work being undertaken to enable two passenger trains an hour to run more often at non-peak times" and quotes FLUA chairman Colin Sampson who, in welcoming a pledge contained in the region's draft devolution agreement, published last month, for the government to assist the development of a business case for improvements to services between Lynn, Cambridge and London, says: "We look forward to seeing a business case for infrastructure improvements." [The Anglia Route Study's findings are discussed, along with other aspects of railway planning and financing, in our recently published Background Note here].

Wednesday 13 April 2016 - Gareth Wright has submitted the following Freedom of Information request to Network Rail:

"Dear Network Rail Limited,

"Waterbeach village in Cambridgeshire currently has a train service into London and Cambridge twice an hour morning an evening and a regular service at weekends and off peak. The journey time for the quickest trains is 1 hour 1 minute. The maximum train length of trains stopping at Waterbeach station is 4 carriages due to platform length at this station and other stations further up to Kings Lynn.

"A new train station, Cambridge North, at Chesterton Cambridge, is due to open in May 2017. This will take trains of up to 12 carriages in length and will also provide services into London.

"Can Network Rail confirm please if services will change from Waterbeach to Cambridge/London once the new station is open? Will there still be a twice hourly service into Cambridge and London from Waterbeach and will a journey time of 1hr 1min still be offered?"

Currently waiting for a response from Network Rail Limited, they must respond promptly and normally no later than 12 May 2016.

Monday 11 April 2016 - The Lynn News reports today - "Downham Market residents welcome £350 million science hub proposal" - on the consultation on the scheme for the Centre for Advanced Knowledge Engineering, promoted for the town. Peter Twist, director of investment company Aventa, revealed to the Lynn News that "Network Rail have told the firm they are committed to having two trains an hour serve the town from next year, despite continuing concerns over delays to the proposed upgrade of the Ely north junction and the wait for longer trains."

Sunday 10 April 2016 - The Association has issued a Statement, which reads:

Network Rail published their Anglia Route Study document and supporting material on 24 March 2016. This is our response.

We applaud the initiative taken by MPs, Councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships in kick-starting a Feasibility Study for the Ely area in conjunction with Government and Network Rail now. Let's get the preparatory planning and design work under way and hit the ground running in 2019:

"Ely North Junction Capacity Improvements: Following the review of enhancements undertaken by Sir Peter Hendy, this scheme has been deferred to CP 6 [2019-2024]" Anglia Route Study, page 35.

"Its very good news that the rail industry is now pragmatically examining how off-peak gaps (maybe not all) can be filled with 2 trains per hour from King's Lynn in the current funding period [2014-2019]:

"Network Rail is working with industry partners to understand how any of the off-peak gaps in service between King's Lynn and Cambridge can be filled with a 2tph [2 trains per hour] pattern in CP5 [2014-2019]." Anglia Route Study, page 69.

Many peak services are grossly overcrowded and that's before Cambridge North station opens next year. Longer trains can't come too soon. We urge all speed in finding a cost-effective method:

"An option is currently being developed which examines lengthening services on the Kings Lynn to Cambridge section [of Kings Cross trains] to eight carriages. ... There is peak crowding on these services particularly between Ely and Cambridge. ... lengthening of services will provide additional on-train capacity to support additional calls, such as at Cambridge North station. The industry, funders and local stakeholders are in agreement that this is a high priority. ... further work is required on the development of infrastructure options to understand if costs can be reduced." Anglia Route Study, pages 68 and 69.

And in response to a related development (first publicised in the draft East Anglia Devolution Agreement, around the same time as the Anglia Route Study) we say:

We're also pleased to see government is to continue assisting the West Anglia Taskforce in developing the business case for improvements to the Kings Lynn-London Kings Cross rail corridor.

"The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge." [Paragraph 33, draft East Anglia Devolution Agreement]

We have also published today a Background Note about the Anglia Route Study and railway financing and planning.

Thursday 7 April 2016 - "Future of Downham on agenda at town meeting" writes Louise Hepburn in today's Eastern Daily Press [page 18]. The annual town meeting is to be held tonight. In a summing up issues that the town faces, the article says: Delays to improved rail links." Downham Market is placed on the rail line between King's Lynn and London King's Cross. Improvements to the Ely Junction would have seen more trains operating on the service and delays to the project are considered a major setback for west Norfolk."

Wednesday 6 April 2016 - The Ely Standard reports today on a special meeting for East Cambridgeshire District Council to discuss the proposed devolution deal for East Anglia. The meeting, to be held on Wednesday next week, will consider a report from Chief Executive John Hill , which includes a recommendation that Council members "instruct the Chief Executive and Leader of Council to ensure the inclusion of key infrastructure projects and priorities ... in the current and future devolution deals for East Anglia: ... Ely North Junction ..." [The draft East Anglia devolution agreement states: "The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge [paragraph 33]."

Monday 4 April 2016 - Network Rail issues its Enhancements Delivery Plan - March 2016. Page 3 states: "This edition of the Enhancements Delivery Plan does not reflect responses made to the Department for Transport's recently concluded consultation on the Hendy review, or a number of ongoing change control submissions for individual projects. These will be reflected in the subsequent updates to the plan."

Saturday 2 April 2016 - "Behind the scenes at new Cambridge North railway station - the first step towards a rail revolution" - The News joined city MP Daniel Zeichner, Network Rail officials and top councillors for a tour of the proposed Cambridge North station yesterday." Today's Cambridge News shows pictures of the rapidly-advancing work at the new Cambridge North station, including one of a Fen Line train passing the new platforms - but not (yet) stopping. Mr Zeichner told the newspaper "... the key message to Network Rail today is this has got to be delivered to the new timetable. "It's got to be delivered for next May [2017]. They've assured me today there's no reason why that can't be done. Cambridge has been waiting too long for this station already." Richard Schofield, Network Rail's route managing director, is quoted as saying: "The new station will both provide benefits to passengers in terms of better connections and journey times, and will also help the economic growth of the area and improve people's journeys in and around the city of Cambridge." The Cambridge News story continues: "'It's great to see the pace of the development has picked up so radically,' said City Deal board chairman and city council leader Cllr Lewis Herbert. 'The opportunities for the Cambridge North station are tremendous, because it links up with the guided busway and other buses, and will enable a lot of people to travel in and out of the city without the need to battle into Cambridge.'" [The new Fen Line station offers the potential for those working in the Business Park/Science Park/Innovation Centre area to travel directly to their places of work]. The newspaper also reports: "Cllr Herbert also predicted good news with regards to a new station at Addenbrooke's, saying: 'The project team between the county council and Network Rail are reporting back good news. ... Hopefully there will be a station at Addenbrooke's, not on the scale of Cambridge North, but one which will enable trains to stop near that equally busy location, particularly with the rate of jobs growth at the Biomedical Campus. We're hopeful we'll see an announcement early in the summer.'" Cllr Ed Cearns, vice chairman of [Cambridgeshire] county council's economy and environment committee, is quoted by the Cambridge News as adding: "I'm delighted to see the progress that has been made so far. ...We now need a station at Addenbrooke's, to enable a metro-type system that connects the whole of our growing and successful city."

Saturday 2 April 2016 - In today's Eastern Press David Bale covers the new King's Lynn Enterprise Zone [page 14], noting that "Business and council leaders have also pledged to keep pushing for a dualled A47 and for the upgrade to the Ely North rail junction , which is key to more and faster train services in the region." Speaking about the Enterprise Zone, Mark Pendlington, New Anglia LEP Chairman told the EDP: "We are also investigating dualling the A47 and upgrading the Ely North rail junction. The geography of King's Lynn is right and it's full of potential."

Friday 1 April 2016 - "New £50m station for Cambridge North" says Network Rail today, continuing "Work has begun on a new station north of Cambridge, due to open in May 2017, which is expected to handle 3,000 passenger journeys a day." NR also says: "Funded by the Department for Transport and developed by Network Rail in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, it will provide an alternative connection point for commuters in the north east of the city, as well as improved access and journey times for passengers. The track, points, overhead line cabling and power supply are all being built on the site currently, with work due to start on constructing new lift shafts and platforms from next month." Cambridge MP David Zeichner visited the site today and speaks about it here. Regular Fen Line travellers will have passed the site twice-daily and been able to see the construction work so far. We will continue to report on progress on this new Fen Line station, due to open on 21 May 2017, which will give access to job areas such as the Cambridge Business Park, the Cambridge Science Park and the St John's Innovation Centre.

Thursday 31 March 2016 - "'This has to stop' says Great Northern train operator as investigation reveals £750,000 bill from Baldock bridge strike" writes Ross Kempsell in the Comet today. "Network Rail figures obtained by the newspaper show the bridge is hit five times a year on average - the most recent was earlier this month - with the total repair and compensation costs between 2003 and 2015 totalling £750,000." North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald tells the Comet: "The bridge is regularly hit by lorries, and every time there are train delays and this is an irritation for passengers and a cost for passengers. I have in the past asked if the road could have a lorry restriction and I will contact Herts Highways on this." Speaking for Govia Thameslink Ltd, which runs the Great Northern line, Roger Perkins tells the Comet: "For the sake of our passengers, this has to stop. Trains can continue to run over some bridges at low speed if they are hit but at Baldock because of its construction, Network Rail signallers have to block the entire rail line until it has been inspected by a qualified engineer." [Kings Lynn-Kings Cross Great Northern trains are affected by delays every time the bridge is struck].

Thursday 31 March 2016 - "Rail link could bring big jobs boost to town: Minister hails vision for Wisbech" is the Eastern Daily Press' front page story today. The full story by John Elworthy, on page 25, reveals: "Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, believes a line between Wisbech and March would help establish Wisbech as a dormitory town for Cambridge. Speaking on a visit to Wisbech yesterday, he said the proposed link would 'make more jobs available, a greater choice of jobs, higher paid jobs, and would help people who may want to work in Cambridge to live in Wisbech.'" [Any new Wisbech-March-Cambridge service would pass through Ely North Junction].

Wednesday 30 March 2016 - Following Govia Thameslink Railway's plans to change the way station ticket sales (including at Kings Lynn) operate, they have told us that they received a large amount of feedback from passengers and stakeholders, both via London TravelWatch (LTW) [London TravelWatch report here] and Transport Focus (TF) [Transport Focus report here] and directly [for our response, see news item dated 12 March 2016]. Govia Thameslink Railway has told us: "we will review this feedback and discuss with LTW and TF the issues they have raised, to identify the full extent of the concerns together with the actions we need to take to address them. We will be updating our website with more station specific information shortly, including ticket availability. We will be upgrading ticket machines, new smartcards and an improved on-line booking system."

Wednesday 30 March 2016 - "New hope for line between Wisbech and March - Boost for Rail Link Campaign" is the front page headline in today's Eastern Daily Press. Page 2 contains the full story, by John Elworthy, reporting on the planned visit by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Greg Clark to Wisbech to discuss with councils the proposed 'garden town' and the associated reopening of the Wisbech to March line. Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: "We'll be stressing that the success of the proposal depends crucially on a commitment from central government and other parties to providing very significant investment, particularly the rail link from Wisbech [via March] through to Cambridge ...." [Any Wisbech-Cambridge trains would require paths through Ely North Junction].

Wednesday 30 March 2016 - In today's Cambridge News the story on page 7 is "Huge potential for rail to link up with housing" which follows on from Network Rail confirming that the preferred corridor for the central section of the East West Rail project runs through Sandy. Network Rail yesterday issued an announcement, stressing that, although the broad corridor via Sandy has been established, "further analysis and consultation will take place to determine options for a 'line on a map' route" before this is chosen. Rail Minister Claire Perry is quoted by Network Rail as saying "East West Rail is an important priority for Government." NR reports Council Ian Bates of Cambridgeshire County Council and Chair of the East West Rail Consortium Central Section Board as saying: "It will open up the opportunity for new journeys by rail within the region, and longer distance - for example between Bristol and Norwich." [These trains would run through Ely North Junction]. Councillor Bates is also quoted by NR as saying: "Whilst the actual route between Bedford and Cambridge is still to be determined, this ongoing work fits well with our aspiration to create a new station south of Cambridge to serve Addenbrooke's [Cambridge Biomedical Campus]." The Network Rail background note about the entire East West Rail project can be found here.

Tuesday 29 March 2016 - "Nearly a year after it was first due to be published, the Anglia Route Study has suggested journey times savings of between two to five minutes could be achieved on the mainline [from London Liverpool Street] to Stansted and Cambridge - which provides the blueprint for the railway in the East of England up to the 2040s - but only if new rolling stock is made available in the next rail franchise" writes Jenny Chapman in the Cambridge News [page 25] today. Stansted's outgoing managing director, Andrew Harrison is quoted as saying: "Network Rail's plans for the West Anglia Main Line [from London Liverpool Street] to London Stansted Airport and Cambridge fall a long way short of what passengers, commuters and businesses on the line deserve. The plans still do not provide an adequate solution to the Airports Commission's recommendation for urgent action to improve rail services to Stansted in the short term, and they do not address the issues that passengers face now - day in, day out - in terms of journey times and reliability. The suggestion by Network Rail of a two-minute saving to Stansted is derisory when our own work shows that a much greater reduction in journey times could be achieved in the short term, paid for by the additional fares from more passengers using faster trains." [Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains run to London via the quicker route from Cambridge to Kings Cross].

Friday 25 March 2016 - The Cambridge News reports Network Rail's Anglia Route Study today, saying: "New railway stations at Addenbrooke's and Soham included in key Network Rail plan. New railway stations at Addenbrooke's and Soham have made the cut in a key Network Rail planning document - although not everyone is convinced." The newspaper continues: "However, there was a backlash to the proposals from Stansted Airport and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP yesterday after it scaled back plans for short-term improvements to journey times and reliability on the [Cambridge to Liverpool Street] mainline to the airport and Cambridge. ... The study has suggested journey times savings of between 2 to 5 minutes could be achieved on the mainline to Stansted and Cambridge, but only if new rolling stock is made available in the next rail franchise [the East Anglia franchise, not the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern management contract, which covers King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services]. Airport managing director Andrew Harrison told the Cambridge News: "Network Rail's plans for the West Anglia Main Line to London Stansted Airport and Cambridge fall a long way short of what passengers, commuters and businesses on the line deserve. ...The suggestion by Network Rail of a two minute saving to Stansted is derisory when our own work shows that a much greater reduction in journey times could be achieved in the short term, paid for by the additional fares from more passengers using faster trains." [The fastest Cambridge to Liverpool Street transit is currently 65 minutes; that for Cambridge to King's Cross is 46 minutes (achieved by 8 Kings Cross to Kings Lynn trains, Mondays to Fridays. See news item below, dated Friday 18 March 2016 for exact train service details)].

Friday 25 March 2016 - Today's Lynn news features "£1.1million level crossing improvement at Downham Market " [Page 37]. Route managing director for Anglia Richard Schofield told the paper he was pleased with the new safety measures, saying "These improvements are an essential part of Network Rail's Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway. The extra safety measures have been installed to offer additional protection for pedestrians and motorists. I'd like to thank everyone for their patience while we carried out the works to deliver a safer railway for Downham."

Friday 25 March 2016 - Today's Eastern Daily Press covers Network Rail's Anglia Route Study in a full page article [page 6] headlined "Wish List to tackle rising railway demand." The Editorial on page 38 states: "Network Rail is clear that funding for these vital projects is not yet secure."

Thursday 24 March 2016 - Network Rail has published its finalised Anglia Route Study today. Also available is a Network Rail statement entitled, "Network Rail sets out options to enable faster and more frequent journeys for the East of England", an Introduction, a Summary and a set of consultation responses to the original Route Study document. Network Rail has also today published its East Midlands Route Study today. We will be issuing a Statement, but first need to study several hundreds of pages of material and to consult other stakeholders concerned about the future of the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross service and the earliest delivery of the government's contracted 'half-hourly' (2 tph with gaps for up to 2 freight trains) Kings Lynn-Kings Cross service, Mondays to Saturdays.

Thursday 24 March 2016 - In commenting on Network Rail's Anglia Route Study as it affects the southern part of the West Anglia Main Line [Cambridge to London Liverpool Street], the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) says: "The Study also appears to have much more positive support for Cambridge's growth, including the new station at Addenbrooke's [potential Cambridge Biomedical Campus station]."

Thursday 24 March 2016 - The government publishes the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021 and the National Infrastructure Delivery Pipeline Spring 2016 today. Inter alia, the Pipeline document states the following:

"Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade. Provide enhancements to the existing traction power infrastructure required to support the forecast increase in electrically operated rolling stock for CP5. Scheme status - In construction. Start of Works/Construction - 2014. Date in Service - 2019;

"Cambridge North new station. Deliver the new station at Cambridge North, with the associated supporting infrastructure changes. Scheme status - In construction. Start of Works/Construction - 2013. Date in Service - 2017;

"Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement. Improves capacity in the area by developing an operationally flexible junction that can deliver multiple train moves simultaneously. Scheme status - scoping. Start of Works/Construction - TBC. Date in Service - TBC;

"Ely to Soham Doubling. Double the existing track alignment between Ely and Soham. Scheme status - scoping. Start of Works/Construction - TBC. Date in Service - TBC;

"Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car. Develop a solution to enable 8-car operation of Peak services between Kings Lynn and Cambridge (and onto London Kings Cross). Scheme status - scoping. Start of Works/Construction - 2016. Date in Service - TBC;

"Stevenage Turnback. Stevenage Turnback [important for service reliability over the 2 track section between Hitchin and Letchworth and rebound effects further afield - see news item dated Wednesday 2 March 2016]. Scheme status - scoping. Start of Works/Construction - TBC. Date in Service - TBC."

Tuesday 22 March 2016 - "Keep up rail line pressure" says Darren Taylor in his "KLFM Off Air" column in today's Lynn news [page 12]. He writes "As chairman of King's Lynn Town Centre Partnership I've worked alongside many other groups to campaign for half-hourly trains to run all day. ... It seems that everybody from business organisations to local authorities and from private individuals to the rail users body all agree that we need half hourly trains. There's no argument either from the rail companies or the government and while the cost for the work runs into millions of pounds, it's a relatively small sum, compared to other transport projects."

Tuesday 22 March 2016 - "Upgrading West Norfolk's rail links to Cambridge and London could cost more than £100 million, it was claimed yesterday." Today's Lynn News front page story reports the claim made by North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham. The article, which is largely about devolution, continues: "Sir Henry said that, although Network Rail believe the cost of work on the junction itself is broadly unchanged, at around £35 million, the cost of improving or bypassing several level crossings close to the site is likely to be around double that.... However, Network Rail yesterday said their position had not changed since it updated political and business leaders at a rail summit in Downham last month. A spokesman said: 'We are still developing the scheme and having consultations with Cambridgeshire County Council about that.'

Tuesday 22 March 2016 - Upgrade work at Downham Market station level crossing costing £1.1m has been completed this week. Installation of new equipment that activates the barriers and lights protecting crossing users if a train overshoots the station was part of the work, which also includes new full barriers and road alterations to create a wider footway.

Friday 18 March 2016 - Virgin Trains East Coast today launches its first 125 mph "Azuma" train and announces the creation of a cross-industry working group, including Network Rail, to investigate the potential for the East Coast route to enable their operation at 140mph. In 2006 this type of train, previously known as Super Express Train or Intercity Express Train (IEP), was proposed by the government to run on King's Cross-King's Lynn services and (King's Cross)-Hitchin-King's Lynn is included as a [potential] East Coast IEP "core route" in current documentation - see here and here - and see also news item dated Wednesday 15 April 2015. However, there are no known current plans to use this type of train on the Fen Line.

Friday 18 March 2016 - Today's Cambridge News reports "Budget boost for Crossrail 2 and links between 'fast growth' Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford". This covers the West Anglia Taskforce, Crossrail 2 and the forthcoming National Infrastructure Commission report looking into the Cambridge-Milton- Keynes-Oxford corridor, including East-West Rail.

Friday 18 March 2016 - "More seats plea from rail users" says Your Local Paper today, reporting on our consultation responses document Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains . 'Ylp' states: "In light of news that the half-hourly service is being delayed, [FLUA] members are "calling for eight-carriages to be used at peak times on the line in a bid to relieve congestion. ... Members are also calling for the 5.14 pm train from King's Cross to Ely to be extended along the line to Lynn."

Friday 18 March 2016 - Following the involvement of the West Anglia Taskforce in delivering improvements to the Kings Lynn-Kings Cross service, we have today sent a copy of our document Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains to the Taskforce as evidence. Backed by the Greater London Authority, amongst its other objectives, the West Anglia Taskforce is involved in building a case for improvements to the Cambridge-Liverpool and Stansted Airport-Liverpool Street routes; more background details are available here.

The London Stansted Cambridge Corridor (LSCC) Growth Commission, which also supports the West Anglia Taskforce, has published Interim findings, setting out its main themes (and also including the possibility of a new station at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus [Addenbrooke's/'Cambridge South' - something we support]. Further information on Taskforce Growth Pan work (March 2016) is available here and here. The LSCC is holding a West Anglia workshop on 5 April 2016.

The West Anglia Taskforce is also supported by, inter alia, the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP.

It has long been our policy to seek replacement of the handful of peak only Kings Lynn-Liverpool Street trains by through Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains to obviate fragile connections; such Kings Cross trains are required by the Half-hourly commitment - the DfT Train Service Requirement. It is unlikely that, as well as the promised Kings Cross trains, the Liverpool Street trains could also continue to run over the congested single-line sections north of Littleport. In that eventuality, we would seek the Liverpool Street trains to continue running from and to Ely.

The fastest journey time between Liverpool Street and Cambridge (May 2016 timetable) is 65 minutes (0803 and 0833 Liverpool Street-Cambridge services) whereas the fastest transit between Kings Cross and Cambridge is 46 minutes (0844, 0944, 1044, 1144, 1244, 1344, 1444, 1544 Kings Cross-Kings Lynn services). The Taskforce is pressing for a number of growth-orientated infrastructure improvements, which would mean, inter alia, "taking up to seven minutes off journey times from Cambridge to London [Liverpool Street] ..."

Thursday 17 March 2016 - The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has welcomed Nicola Shaw's report of the future of Network Rail today: it "counsels that the way the proposals are implemented would be fundamental to the continued success of rail freight and of cross boundary passenger services. ... Daniel Parker-Klein, Head of Policy, CILT said: 'We fully support the objective to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of Network Rail and the further devolution of accountability to operate, maintain and renew infrastructure to Routes should be an effective way of achieving this. It is, however, essential that implementation of the new structure protects the interests of cross boundary services and their customers. For instance, the introduction of a North Route - which we endorse - would mean that all East Coast and West Coast Main Line Inter City services will traverse two and, in some cases, three Routes. The ability to run across all Routes in a coordinated manner is a significant issue for passenger service operation and is crucial for freight." [This issue is of relevance to us - Fen Line services operate over NR Anglia Route [Region] and NR London North Eastern & East Midlands Route [Region] during their journeys from King's Lynn to King's Cross (they cross NR's administrative boundary between Meldreth and Royston) and it is essential that planning for improvements to these services, including the committed and contracted "half-hourly" King's Lynn-King's Cross service, is continued in a coherent manner. This cross boundary issue gives context to yesterday's statement that "The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge"].

Thursday 17 March 2016 - Reporting on reactions to the proposed combined authority for Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, the Lynn News says of the draft Agreement document: "... it pledges to help make the case for improvements to the rail link from Lynn to Cambridge and London." [Page 33 of the draft Agreement states: "The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge."]

Thursday 17 March 2016 - The Cambridge News today reports that planning permission was approved for Cambridge North Station (also known as Cambridge Science Park station) yesterday. The article confirms that the station will open in May 2017. The report to the Joint Development Control Committee - Cambridge Fringes can be found here.

Wednesday 16 March 2016 - The government publishes a signed copy of The East Anglia Devolution Agreement today. This states, inter alia, "The Government will also continue to assist the West Anglia Main Line Task Force as it develops a business case for improving the rail corridor between Kings Lynn and London Kings Cross via Cambridge [Paragraph 33]." The Agreement, which has to be approved by all 22 councils involved, looks towards delivering "A step change infrastructure delivery with an integrated approach to planning of road, rail and digital connectivity alongside land for new housing and business" and says "Improvements to road and rail infrastructure and using smart ticketing will make it easier for residents to participate fully in the economy across transport modes [page 9]."

Wednesday 16 March 2016 - The government publishes the Shaw Report into the Future Shape and Financing of Network Rail - the Recommendations today. The Report recommends, inter alia, placing the needs of passengers at the heart of rail infrastructure management, deeper route [Network Rail regions] devolution, clarifying the role of government in the railway and Network Rail, and planning the railway based on passenger (and freight) needs. The report states: "Of course, routes cannot - and should not - be expected to operate autonomously in isolation from each other. The reality of the railway network is that traffic frequently crosses artificial route boundaries and those managing the infrastructure must collaborate accordingly to allow this to happen seamlessly." [Fen Line Kings Lynn-Kings Cross services operate over NR's Anglia and London North Eastern Routes (the boundary is just north of Royston) and the proposed Cambridge-Tattenham Corner/Brighton services will additionally operate over NR's Sussex Route from 2019. The Shaw Report stresses the need for co-ordination in the London area (paragraph R3.32) and makes reference to the DfT/TfL 'A New Approach to Passenger Rail Services in London and the South East' which would see the Department for Transport retaining control over outer-suburban services, including Kings Lynn-Kings Cross and future Cambridge-Tattenham Corner/Brighton routes (paragraph R3.9). A summary version of the Shaw Report is available here].

Wednesday 16 March 2016 - "Chancellor's budget announcement of £1.2billion for Eastern Powerhouse is 'most exciting' opportunity to shake up local government in a generation says East Cambs District council leader [James Palmer" reports the Wisbech Standard today. The newspaper adds: "A new Eastern Powerhouse with a £1.2billion package of government funding could kick-start projects such as Ely North junction, Soham station and the A142/A14 junction." Councillor Palmer tells the paper: "East Cambridgeshire is in a very strong position, close to the centre where things need to happen to allow other schemes to go forward in Norfolk and Suffolk." [Ely North Junction, which serves routes linking Ipswich with Peterborough and Norwich with Cambridge, as well as being on the King's Lynn-King's Cross route, is close to the Norfolk and Suffolk borders, and is located in East Cambridgeshire].

Tuesday 15 March 2016 - Allister Webb, News Editor of the Lynn News, writes in today's paper: "'Get on with upgrade work', says rail group: 'Incredulity over half-hour train commitment delays.'" The article [page 4] continues: "The comments are contained in an official response [Linking homes to jobs needs more and longer trains], published yesterday, from the Fen Line Users' Association (FLUA) to two consultations about the future of rail services in the region. And, as passenger demand continues to rise, the group has called for longer, half-hourly trains to be brought into service as soon as possible... the group reserved its strongest criticism for the delay in preparing for the introduction of a twice-hourly service to and from Lynn. The contract with the current operator, Great Northern, which began in the autumn of 2014, requires half-hourly trains to run from May next year. But the group said: 'There is a large amount of incredulity as to how such a significant political commitment could have been made and then subsequently deemed to be probably undeliverable within a reasonable time span, given that government not only specifies the Govia Thameslink Railway [Great Northern] management contract but also owns the infrastructure delivery agency, Network Rail. We urge that all methods of full or at least partial implementation, including potential timetabling solutions, are investigated as a matter of great urgency.' ... As well as supporting eight-coach services, FLUA has also signalled its backing for a power supply upgrade that would be necessary to enable longer trains to run more frequently. And [FLUA Secretary] Mr Tyler said they do not want to get any more 'nasty surprises' from industry bosses. He added: 'We want to see a timescale for the works necessary to achieve the promised half-hourly service, and so we can see that all eyes are firmly on the ball.'"

Tuesday 15 March 2016 - "Improvement calls after train hits swan" is the headline of Sophie Biddle's article on page 33 of today's Eastern Daily Press. The article continues: "Calls have been made to make the line between Littleport and Downham Market two track after a collision between a train and a swan caused delays for rail passengers. ... West Norfolk councillor Thomas Smith said: 'It's just yet another day where you are stood there as a commuter on a cold, miserable platform being given a ridiculous excuse for the fact the rail service is not suitable for west Norfolk. We deserve better. We are not going to get a good service until that line is double all the way through.' But a spokesman for Network Rail has said they worked hard to minimise disruption for customers and double-tracking rail lines was very costly." Page 3 of today's EDP reports "Rail users' group backs key upgrade" - A rail users' group wants people to continue to press for an upgrade of the Ely North junction, which is holding up more twice-hourly train services between King's Lynn and Cambridge [and on to King's Cross] and Norwich and Cambridge. Fen Line Users Association chairman Colin Sampson said: 'Everybody needs to keep talking to ensure design work on the upgrade continues. There is an overwhelming desire to have the half hourly services.' The association also wants eight-car trains on the Fen Line north of the junction to combat overcrowding. Roger Perkins, for Great Northern, said: 'We fully support any reasonable proposals to improve capacity on the Fen Line.'"

Monday 14 March 2016 - "Chaos for rail users on King's Cross to King's Lynn line as train hits swan near Littleport reports the Ely News today. A spokesman for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) told the newspaper: "At 14.25 today the 12.44 King's Cross to King's Lynn Great Northern service hit a swan between Littleport and Downham Market. The train is damaged so we have walked all 71 passengers on board 100 yards down the track to a nearby level crossing where they are being collected by bus."

Monday 14 March 2016 - We publish today our 16 page document Linking homes and jobs needs more and longer trains. This is our combined response to 'Network Rail's Investment Programme - the Hendy Report Consultation' and to 'A New Approach to Rail Passenger Services in London and the South East'. We would like to gratefully thank our members and other persons and organisations who took part in the compilation of our responses to these two consultations. Though our own consultation is now closed, the DfT's consultations do not close until Friday 18 March 2016 and members may still response directly to the DfT until then - see news item dated Monday 15 February 2016.

Our summary on page 2 of the document states:"Hendy's not all bad news, but it's not what was promised either. So under the new circumstances, we say:

"Deal with the crowds

"Run 8-car King's Lynn-King's Cross trains (maintaining existing stopping patterns where appropriate) in the morning and evening peaks (i.e. in both the London peaks and the Cambridge peaks) ASAP. Remove those remaining fragile connections at Cambridge by running all our trains direct to King’s Cross. Fill the big gap in the afternoon high peak at Cambridge with a King’s Lynn train leaving Cambridge about 1710-1715 and extend the 1714 King’s Cross-Ely to King’s Lynn.

"Stop where the jobs are

"Make all Fen Line trains call at Cambridge North from May 2017 and speed up a Cambridge Biomedical Campus station (Cambridge South).

"Start the necessarily lengthy planning process now

"Continue work on the feasibility and planning stages of the delayed Ely North Junction project and all associated works and projects (including level crossings), so as to hit the ground running by the time we reach 2019, the start of the new railway funding period, CP6.

"No more nasty surprises

"Publish the timetable of works necessary to achieve the quickest implementation of the full half-hourly King’s Lynn-King’s Cross service, as promised contractually for 2017 – on a building block by building block basis – and stick to it, making sure eyes are firmly kept on the ball."

Saturday 12 March 2016 - We have written to GTR today in response to their consultation on proposed ticket office changes (which would affect King's Lynn). This is our response: "At the recent helpful GTR Stakeholders event it was stated that changes to ticket machine sales range and the period of advance sales, along with other unspecified changes, were being considered as part of the proposal to change ticket office operations. We consider that, without the full facts, we cannot meaningfully comment on the proposals to change ticket office operations as currently published. Accordingly, we write to ask for the consultation to be paused, full information to be shared, and then resumed."

Saturday 12 March 2016 - In an article [page 15] about possible devolution proposals for Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, today's Eastern Daily Press reports reservations to the scheme, quoting Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP Mark Reeves as saying, inter alia, that "there was no clarity about whether transport projects which have already been promised - such as the rail upgrade at the Ely north junction which would allow half-hourly services - would need to be funded through the [devolution] deal or if they would be delivered in addition to it." The EDP's opinion column [page 38] states "Decisions are best made by the people who travel on the trains ...."

Friday 11 March 2016 - The front page story of today's Lynn News is: "That's not the ticket say rail campaigners." The full story, by Greg Plummer, is contained on page 5 of today's newspaper. "An online petition has been started by a rail commuter in a bid to save dozens of ticket offices across the eastern region" says the paper, "But Thameslink has reassured its customers that Lynn station will have staff on duty for times significantly in excess of the current ticket office hours." FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson is quoted in the article as saying: "We've got no problem with all these new ways of doing things. At a stakeholders meeting on Friday we made it very clear, bring in the new ideas but don't get rid of the ticket offices where you do. We are not against the new technology and for a lot of people it will be a lot quicker and more convenient. There are still a lot of people who will need a ticket office. It will be alright if you are doing a routine journey from Lynn or Downham Market to King's Cross, but if people have got a more complex journey it will be different." The Govia Thameslink Railway (which runs the King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross route) consultation - which closes on Monday 14 March 2016 - is here and the online petition (which is being run independently of FLUA) can be found here. More details of the plans are to be found under the news item for 22 February 2016 below.

Friday 11 March 2016 - Railway company has plans for hosts" reports Your Local Paper today, reminding readers that Govia Thameslink Railway's consultation into changes at King's Lynn station closes on Monday 14 March 2016. The paper says: "There will be no job losses as a result of the change which will affect a number of stations, but only Lynn in West Norfolk."

Thursday 10 March 2016 - Speaking in Parliament today, North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham asks Rail Minister Claire Perry [column 421] : "Does the rail Minister agree that capital improvements to the Ely North junction and the nearby crossing are crucial to securing improved services on the line between King's Cross and King's Lynn, thus unlocking more economic growth along the route? Will she and her colleagues work with me to help to secure this crucial investment?" The Minister replies: "My hon. Friend and other hon. Members have left me in no doubt about the value of the Ely North junction upgrade work. I am disappointed that this work will not be completed until after 2019. As a result of discussions that he and others have organised, I am now more confident that the preparatory work the project needs can go ahead sooner, with funding coming from a variety of sources. I have committed my Department to work with him and the local team."

Tuesday 8 March 2016 - A final reminder that any Members who wish to make comments on the DfT Hendy Report consultation and/or the 'A New Approach to Passenger Services in London and the South East' consultation, along with supporting reasoning, should ensure that these are received by Andy Tyler, Secretary, by 5 pm on Friday 11 March 2016 (communications by email preferred, please). Should they wish to do so, Members can also response directly to the DfT (closure date for both consultations: Friday 18 March 2016).

Providing context to the current situation, our document which sets out the evolution of rail policy relevant to the Fen Line over the 1991-2011 period is Kings Cross-Kings Lynn 100 miles of route, 20 years of planning. This covers, inter alia, the 1991 British Railways Board Publication 'Future Rail' (which included King's Lynn as a 'New Thameslink Express' destination); the 1997 Railtrack application for a Transport and Works Order for Thameslink 2000 (which specifically named King's Lynn); the Network Rail 2004 Thameslink 2000 Environmental Statement (which confirmed King's Lynn as part of the proposed Thameslink 2000 network); the 2005 Network Rail Proof of Evidence to the Public Inquiry and Re-opened Inquiry into Thameslink 2000 (which confirmed King's Lynn to be served by the Thameslink 2000 network for which Network Rail was seeking statutory powers); the 2006 Strategic Rail Authority Eastern Region Regional Planning Assessment (which for planning purposes identified the Hitchin to Cambridge and King's Lynn route as part of the East Coast Main Line); the 2007 Department for Transport Intercity Express Programme Invitation to Tender (which included King's Cross-Cambridge-Ely-King's Lynn as an expected Intercity Express Programme route), the 2007 Network Rail Intercity Express programme detailed train and route specifications (which included King's Cross-King's Lynn); the 2008 Network Rail Thameslink Rolling Stock Project detailed train and route specifications (which included King's Cross-King's Lynn; our response to the 2010 Network Rail East Coast Main Line 2016 Capacity Review; the 2010 Review of the Intercity Express Programme (which discussed alternative rolling stock options for King's Cross-King's Lynn); and the 2010 Network Rail draft London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy (which confirmed Fen Line trains from King's Lynn would continue to run into King's Cross, rather than use the core Thameslink route through central London). Our document Kings Cross-Kings Lynn 100 miles of route, 20 years of planning was produced for the meeting with then Minister of State for Transport Theresa Villiers, by Steve Barclay MP and Elizabeth Truss MP and Colin Sampson, Robert Stripe, and Andy Tyler representing FLUA, held on Thursday 3 March 2011. Developments since then are covered by news items posted below.

Tuesday 8 March 2016 - The West Anglia Task Force, which is looking at the long-term future of the Cambridge to Liverpool Street route, has today published A Case for investment in rail to support growth.

Monday 7 March 2016 - Writing in her latest Monthly Report (February 2016) South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss says: "Elizabeth hosted a Rail Summit with Members of Parliament, councils and business leaders to quiz Network Rail on the upgrade of the Ely North junction. The meeting comes as a result of months of lobbying by Elizabeth and other MPs to implement the upgrade of Ely North and to ensure the half hourly services on the Kings Lynn to London line are on schedule for 2017/2018." The Downham Market Rail Summit took place on Friday 26 February 2016 - for coverage see news items on and around that date and posted below.

Monday 7 March 2016 - In a Parliamentary written answer to Lilian Greenwood MP today, Rail Minister Claire Perry states: "The announcement of the award of the East Anglia rail franchise is planned for June 2016." (This franchise does not cover King's Lynn-King's Cross services, which are operated by Great Northern (Govia Thameslink Railway).

Sunday 6 March 2016 - We have added three documents to the website:

More and longer trains - background

More and longer trains - the statistics and analysis

Half-hourly commitment - the DfT Train Service Requirement

These will be used to inform our response to the DfT Hendy Report and 'A New Approach' consultations. Members are reminded that any comments they may have on these consultations, along with supporting reasoning, should be received by Andy Tyler, Secretary by 5 pm on Friday 11 March 2016 (communications by email preferred, please). Direct comments to the DfT must be received by them by Friday 18 March 2016.

Friday 4 March 2016 - "Fight on for longer, more frequent, trains urges MP" writes News Editor Allister Webb in today's Lynn News. His article, on page 5, reveals: "Ministers welcomed the commitment made by council and local enterprise partnership officials to help fund the [Ely North Junction feasibility study] assessment at a summit in Downham last week. But although they [Ministers] stopped short of committing any cash to the work, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: 'it was a very constructive discussion on how we can move ahead.'" North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham tells the Lynn News that "he believes that, in the shorter term, campaigners should refocus their efforts on securing longer and twice hourly trains on the line. He said he had been encouraged by talks he held with senior managers of Govia Thameslink, the parent company of franchise operator Great Northern, on Wednesday. He said: 'They really do see it as their duty to get the service in place.'"

Friday 4 March 2016 - The Norfolk Chamber of Trade covers Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin's visit to Norfolk in connection with road schemes in the Norwich area. The Chamber's website report also says: "The Transport minister also backed an East Anglian bid for more devolved powers over transport spending with a 'Transport for the East' body set up with Oyster card style ticketing. But questioned about whether it would allow delayed projects like an upgrade to the key Ely North rail junction which will allow more trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge and Norwich and Cambridge to be brought forward he said: 'We'll see. It is not for me to tell a combined authority which has not been completely established in the first place what to do. They will have to work out their priorities.'"

Friday 4 March 2016 - "Support from rail minister for Ely" headlines 'yourlocalpaper' reporting on the meeting with rail minister Claire Perry on Tuesday 1 March 2016. The newspaper says "It became clear at the summit [held at Downham Market on Friday 26 February 2016] the cost of work needed to upgrade the Ely North junction had not been accurately estimated. In order to move forward with the project, which has been scheduled for 2019, MPs, representatives of local councils and Network Rail agreed to work together to secure funding for a feasibility study, which could cost £5m." The article, on page 5 of the paper, goes on to say that MP Elizabeth Truss "added the junction was key for the area's economic success. 'This junction is a vital intersection with the all-important freight traffic travelling to and from Britain's busiest port, Felixstowe.'" King's Lynn based 'yourlocalpaper' also reports today that "Plans for new homes flood in."

Thursday 3 March 2016 - The Eastern Daily Press [page 5] reports on today's visit to Norfolk by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, revealing that the Minister "had not planned any new announcements during his visit, but there would be more to say about the rail links once they [the government] had chosen the operator for the lines currently run by Abellio Greater Anglia. ... He also backed an East Anglian bid for more devolved powers over transport spending with a 'Transport for the East' body set up with Oyster card style ticketing. But questioned about whether it would allow delayed projects like an upgrade to the key Ely North rail junction which will allow more trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge and Norwich and Cambridge to be brought forward he said: 'We'll see. It is not for me to tell a combined authority which has not been completely established in the first place what to do. They will have to work out their priorities.' Adding that it would not allow them to spend what they pleased and some of the money would be spent with Network Rail and Highways England. 'Let's see how the negotiations go,' he added."

Wednesday 2 March 2016 - We have today published The Fenman issue 2016 no 1 and members with email subscriptions should have received their copies today; please let us know if this is not the case. Postal members' copies have been posted today and should arrive shortly; again, please advise us if you do not receive your copy in the next few days. A copy has been placed in the Members' section. This issue covers the Cambridge to King's Lynn 8-car project and the delayed Ely North Junction scheme, as we seek to compile our formal responses to the DfT's consultations on 'Network Rail's Investment Programme - The Hendy Report Consultation' (and the supporting draft updated Network Rail Enhancements Delivery Plan) and 'A New Approach to Rail Passenger Services in London and the South East', we invite members to let us know their views on these government consultations, along with supporting reasons for these views, and we will take everything received from members into account before sending our formal responses to the DfT. Please note that we have extended our deadline for receiving such comments until 5 pm on Friday 11 March 2016. All communications, preferably by email please, to Andy Tyler, Secretary. Individual members may, of course, comment to the Department for Transport directly before their consultations close on Friday 18 March 2016. We draw members attention in particular to the following draft EDP schemes: Project CashDfT006 - Cambridge North New station [page 160]; Project A002 - Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade [page 29]; Project A006 - Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car [page 35] (all three projects recommended for implementation in CP5 [2014-2019]) and to Project A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement [page 28]; Project IFDfT004 Ely to Soham Doubling [page 166]; and Project LNE009 Stevenage Turnback [page 70] (these three these projects are recommended to be deferred until CP6 [2019-2024]).

1 DfT Hendy Report consultation and draft updated Network Rail Enhancements Delivery Plan:

We are supportive of the following schemes being implemented in CP5: Project CashDfT006 Cambridge North station (access to jobs); Project A002 Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade (facilitate more and longer Fen Line trains to/from King's Lynn); Project A006 - Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car (dealing with the present day gross overcrowding north of Cambridge on trains in the peaks).

We are concerned about the effect deferring projects is likely to have on Fen Line services (Project LNE009 Stevenage Turnback deferment (service reliability, bearing in mind potential for rapidly-propagating knock-on effects over the two single-line sections); Project A001 Ely North Junction deferment (honouring of "half-hourly" King's Lynn-King's Cross service commitment); and Project IFDfT004 Ely to Soham doubling deferment (longer-term capacity issues in the Ely area).

2 'A New Approach to Passenger Services in London and the South East':

We are broadly supportive of the approach set out in 'A New Approach to Passenger Services in London and the South East' provided the proposed safeguards for outer suburban services [Kings Lynn-Kings Cross Fen Line trains are either - the majority - 'Cambridge Express' or 'Great Northern Outer' services] are put in place and adhered to.

Wednesday 2 March 2016 - Page 13 of today's Eastern Daily Press is largely devoted to covering yesterday's meeting between MPs and LEPs and Rail Minister Claire Perry about Ely North Junction. The story is headlined "Cash hopes for rail study dashed - but MP upbeat" and reports that "Ms Truss said after yesterday's meeting 'It was a very constructive meeting ... what we discussed today is a realistic cost [i.e. potentially a lesser amount for the feasibility study] ... The DfT have said they are committed to working with us on it.'"

Wednesday 2 March 2016 - "Lucy Frazer presses for action on Ely North Junction - on Friday 26th February, South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer joined other local MPs, Network Rail, council leaders and the LEP for a roundtable meeting to discuss the upgrade to the Ely North Junction." The South East Cambridgeshire MP says today: "I have long campaigned for the upgrade to Ely North to go ahead without delay. It is vital for the wider region. The setbacks to the timetable were disappointing, but we now have to move forward and work with Network Rail to find a proper solution. We want to ensure that the next stage, which is a feasibility study, takes place as soon as possible and does not prolong the delay. I, along with my parliamentary colleagues, met with the Rail Minister earlier this week to press the Department for Transport to ensure that this study goes ahead."

Tuesday 1 March 2016 - "'We can't write a cheque or turn on a tap' - hopes of DfT funding for crucial Ely junction study dashed" writes Annabelle Dickson in the Ely Standard, continuing "but Ms Perry said she would provide 'support' and they would look at whether Network Rail's estimate was realistic and if the costs could be lowered. She also said other sources of funding could be found from the local enterprise partnerships (LEPs)." The Rail Minister, Claire Perry, adds "We are very keen to do this, but we know there isn't any [government] money to do it." New Anglia LEP chief executive Chris Starkie tells the Ely Standard: "The key thing from our perspective is we could wave a chequebook at it, but what we wanted was the minister to give us a reassurance that Network Rail participates and takes that piece of work seriously and if we collectively fund it locally, that Network Rail will carry out the work that is required." Elizabeth Truss MP adds "It was a very constructive meeting. What she said is there isn't currently money in the budget in control period five [the funding scheme from 2014 to 2019] for a feasibility study, but ... there are partners including the LEPs and councils who potentially willing to put their hands in their pockets ...they need to know ... what they are putting their hands in their pocket for. What we discussed today is a realistic cost because that £5m may not actually be the cost of the feasibility study. ... The DfT has said they are committed to working with us on it. We are going to keep the pressure on to make sure this things happens."

Tuesday 1 March 2016 - Ely North Junction is "critically important for West Norfolk to improve the number of trains that can travel between King's Lynn, Downham Market, through Cambridge into London. It's so important that the rail line is improved and upgraded, it's already a very popular rail line, but it's at peak capacity" Chris Starkie, Managing Director of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership tells radio station KLFM 96.7. Ely North Junction, he says, is "a very complex junction, it connects Kings Lynn with Cambridge and London ... also Norwich with Cambridge, Ipswich with Peterborough and also freight routes from the Suffolk coast to the Midlands ... we know what needs to be done but the feasibility study needs to look at how, the best way of achieving this. "

Tuesday 1 March 2016 - "MP's to lobby rail minister for feasibility study for Ely North junction" reports Mariam Issimdar of BBC Norfolk Live. Her report continues "MP's and business leaders are meeting with the rail minister this evening to make the case for a feasibility study into the works needed to upgrade the Ely North junction," quoting Elizabeth Truss MP as saying "Ely North rail junction is absolutely key in driving forward the economic growth of not only the local economy but the whole of the UK...and is a vital intersection with the all-important freight traffic travelling to and from Britain's busiest port, Felixstowe."

Tuesday 1 March 2016 - MPs and business leaders will today press the rail minister Clare Perry on the upgrade of the Ely North Junction. The meeting in Westminster will see Members of Parliament from across the region as well as representatives from New Anglia LEP and Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP making the case for funding for a feasibility study into the works needed to upgrade the junction. Elizabeth Truss MP comments: "Ely North rail junction is absolutely key in driving forward the economic growth of not only the local economy but the whole of the UK. This junctions serves the Thetford route and Kings Lynn to London line in my South West Norfolk constituency and is a vital intersection with the all-important freight traffic travelling to and from Britain's busiest port, Felixstowe. The rail summit on Friday demonstrated that a feasibility study needs to take place as soon as possible and I will be leading a delegation of MPs and business leaders to make the case to the rail minister." Attending the meeting with Elizabeth Truss MP are Sir Henry Bellingham MP, George Freeman MP, Lucy Frazer MP, Dr Therese Coffey MP, Steve Barclay MP, Neil Darwin (Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP) and Chris Starkie (New Anglia LEP).

Tuesday 1 March 2016 - "MPs to press rail upgrade case to government" reports the Lynn News today. The newspaper goes on to say "further talks will take place today with ministers in a bid to attract government support." The full page article [page 6] reports "Rail line feasibility study 'could cost £5m' - Council and business chiefs pledge financial support." Allister Webb, News Editor of the Lynn News, also reveals "Progress, but no date, for longer trains" reporting Elizabeth Truss MP as being "encouraged by what she had heard [at last Friday's Downham Market Rail Summit meeting] despite the lack of a timetable." Rail officials had "previously indicated that extended services, made up of eight coaches instead of the current four, would be introduced at some point this year." The Lynn News points out that some longer units do run to King's Lynn at the moment, but "they do not stop at every station because the platforms [at Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach] are too short."

Monday 29 February 2016 - Cambridgeshire County Council is consulting on its draft Transport Strategy for East Cambridgeshire. The draft transport strategy document , consultation on which is open until Friday 8 April 2016, points out that East Cambridgeshire remains "the fastest growing in Cambridgeshire." Figure 3 (page 10) in the document, which covers the area from Littleport to Cambridge itself, shows planned employment growth in Ely, the area around the new Cambridge North station [due to open on 21 May 2017] and the Cambridge Bio-medical Campus [adjacent to a potential Cambridge South station]. Highly relevant to the Fen Line, Figure 3 (page 10) shows there are major planned housing allocations at Littleport (550 homes), Ely (3679 homes) and Waterbeach (8500 homes). Figure 6 (page 27) shows the future planned rail network, with King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross and Norwich-Cambridge services ("half-hourly or greater"), The North-Peterborough-Cambridge-Stansted Airport and Midlands-Peterborough-Cambridge-Stansted Airport (hourly), and Wisbech-March-Cambridge (hourly, peak only) services running between Ely and Cambridge. Figure 8 (page 41) shows proposed traffic calming in the Queen Adelaide Area and Figure 10 (page 42) shows "Ely North Junction rail improvements".

Saturday 27 February 2016 - "Fresh hope for key rail upgrade" reports David Bale in today's Eastern Daily Press, "Fresh hopes have been raised that a key upgrade of the Ely North junction can be brought forward, with MPs set to meet the Rail Minister next week to ask for funding towards a feasibility study." Today's newspaper reports on the Downham Market Rail Summit held yesterday and says: "Afterwards, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: 'We want the upgrade to happen sooner and we will be putting the case for a contribution towards the £5m cost of a feasibility study from the Dept of Transport, when we meet Rail Minister Claire Perry on Tuesday.' ... Sir Henry Bellingham, North-West Norfolk MP, hopes the feasibility study can be completed in just a year." The EDP article [page 27] concludes by quoting a Network Rail spokesman, who told the newspaper: "We had a constructive meeting with key stakeholders to discuss options at Ely North Junction. We will work closely with stakeholders to work through options to unlock capacity on the route."

Friday 26 February 2016 - Reporting on BBC Look East this evening, Amanda Goodman in the studio says "... a new attempt has been made to speed up improvements to one of the most important junctions on the region's rail network. A meeting of local MPs, councillors and transport groups has agreed to push ahead with a feasibility study on the Ely junction. Trains from Ipswich, Norwich, London, Peterborough and King's Lynn all converge at the station in the Fens. From Ely, Andrew Sinclair says "... passengers often complain about overcrowding, while businesses complain there aren't enough services. Speaking to Andrew, George Freeman MP says "This has got to be done quickly." Neil Darwin, Chief Executive of Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP remarks "It's absolutely important we get on and make the big infrastructure items happen." Andrew Sinclair reports "... the campaigners aren't prepared to wait. At today's meeting, the local business community agreed to fund a feasibility study so initial planning work can start now. There'll also be an appeal to the Chancellor for extra funding ahead of next month's Budget. Elizabeth Truss MP, who organised the Summit meeting, tells Andrew "... we want to see more of these opportunities and growth here in Norfolk, we want to be better connected to Cambridge and that's why it's so important we get this upgrade .... the sooner we start, the sooner it will be finished."

Friday 26 February 2016 - "Improvements being made to make Ely railway station 'more modern, welcoming and hygienic'" reveals Ben Jolley in the Ely Standard today, "Work has started to refurbish the waiting room on platform one with new energy-efficient heating, flooring, seating and redecoration." Toilets are also being upgraded as part of the work programme for Ely station. Paul Stannard, area customer services manager for station operators Abellio Greater Anglia, told the Ely Standard "The new facilities will benefit passengers using the station, creating a more welcoming and pleasant environment for customers as they wait for trains."

Friday 26 February 2016 - "The half hourly service is looking a lot more likely, whilst the Ely North junction works are going to take a bit more persuading it has been decided after the train summit held today. All MPs involved attended the meeting, which was seen as a great achievement by Sir Henry Bellingham" says radio station KLFM96.7. Hear Sir Henry here and listen to George Freeman MP here. We were represented at today's Rail Summit by FLUA Chairman, Colin Sampson.

Friday 26 February 2016 - Reporting after today's meeting, the Lynn News states: "Rail upgrade study 'could cost £5 million', Downham Market summit told .... A feasibility study into upgrading a key interchange on the rail network serving Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire will cost £5 million alone, a meeting has heard today." The newspaper reports: "South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who hosted the event, said the firm [Network Rail] had admitted it had not properly assessed the scale of the project until now. ... Representatives of county and district councils and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) from across the region agreed to help fund the cost of a new feasibility study into the scheme. And officials now expect work on that to begin soon after Network Rail initially indicated they had not intended to start it until 2020." The Lynn News continues: "Ms Truss said a solution needed to be found with both Network Rail and Cambridgeshire County Council in order to prevent rail work having a knock-on effect on motorists using surrounding roads. Several of the region's MPs will meet ministers next week in a bid to secure government funding for the assessment." Neil Darwin, chief executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP told the Lynn News: "I'm really pleased to hear the commitment from other stakeholders and partners. It's a important way of generating growth in the whole region." The paper adds: "Ray Harding, chief executive of West Norfolk Council, which was another of the bodies to agree to make a financial contribution to the study, said it 'makes sense' for authorities like his to work with others to make progress."

Friday 26 February 2016 - "Here's the Ely North Queen Adelaide #DoublelevelCrossing which NetworkRail are saying requires a £150m solution" tweets George Freeman MP today.

Friday 26 February 2016 - "Is it too much to roll up at King's Cross and think you might actually get a seat?" asks West Norfolk Council leader Nick Daubney on Radio Norfolk today. The BBC radio station news reports "West Norfolk councillors last night called for improvements to the King's Lynn to London line at Ely North Junction. Today, the region's MPs and businesses leader and councillors will meet with Network Rail to press for an end to delays in getting the scheme done. They say the junction is key to better and more frequent services on the line." The BBC website says "The junction is key to rail services in East Anglia connecting Norwich, King's Lynn, Cambridge, London, Ipswich and the Midlands but part of the route is single-line operation. Colin Sampson, the chairman of the Fen Line Users Association, said the single-track bottleneck prevented traffic growth and that he hoped the meeting in Downham Market would help bring forward the start from 2019."

Friday 26 February 2016 - Norfolk County Council has written to us today to say: "Unfortunately the county council has not been invited to the meeting regarding Ely today, so we will not have a presence there. However, more positively, this matter came up at a meeting of the New Anglia Local Transport Board yesterday. This Board brings together stakeholders from across Norfolk and Suffolk, including the local enterprise partnership, business representatives and transport stakeholders including Network Rail and train operating companies. The Board had a useful discussion about rail and made its position clear regarding the importance of Ely for a range of passenger and freight rail services. Both Network Rail and the LEP will be present at the meeting today and I am sure that the LEP will voice Norfolk's concerns as well as those of others. Further, the county council will do what we can to push the case for measures that would lead to improved rail services. We work closely with New Anglia LEP and Suffolk County Council, as well as with other stakeholders and local authorities such as Cambridgeshire County Council and the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk. Following today's meeting we will consider what we need to do next, and how this might best be achieved."

Friday 26 February 2016 - "Don't derail economic growth" is the front page story of today's Lynn News. "Council warns rail chiefs that future depends on improving our trains." News Editor Allister Webb's story, reporting on today's rail summit meeting at Downham Market says "West Norfolk's economic growth aspirations are likely to be derailed without improved rail services to and from the borough, council chiefs have warned. Politicians, business leaders and industry officials are due to discuss potential ways of enhancing the network at a summit in Downham later today." The newspaper quotes Nick Daubney, West Norfolk Council leader, "If we are going to grow as I think we should grow, these are the basic tools of it" and adds that "the possible introduction of longer trains to the route between Lynn and Cambridge [trains are lengthened at Cambridge on the way onward to King's Cross] in a bid to ease overcrowding, is also likely to be high on the agenda." Page 5 of today's print edition of the Lynn News is mainly devoted to the full story.

Highlights of the full Lynn News article: "Great Northern, the company which operates most passenger trains between Lynn and London [Kings Cross], is contractually required to start running twice-hourly trains in May next year under the terms of its franchise .... Elizabeth Truss MP said 'This is a critical rail junction serving a number of freight and passenger trains' ... Sir Henry Bellingham MP said 'This is an absolutely crucial investment as it will unlock a series of key improvements' ... West Norfolk Council leader said 'We're being expected to deliver huge housing growth in West Norfolk and that means people need places to live, they need jobs and we certainly need proper infrastructure ....we need a good, twice hourly rail service to Cambridge and London and we need it a lot quicker than four or five years down the line' ... Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users Association (FLUA) said preparatory work must be done now to ensure the Ely project can start straightaway to ensure the Ely project can start straightaway when the next spending period begins in 2019."

The full Lynn News story, which contains colour pictures of Kings Cross trains leaving Kings Lynn, also covers Network Rail's feasibility study looking into operating eight carriage trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge (and on to Kings Cross) reporting that "an update on progress is also expected to be delivered at the summit. Mr Sampson said 'If we get that it will go a fair way towards alleviating the crowding problem. Representatives of the Department for Transport are also expected to take part in the talks, along with council leaders from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and officials from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough and New Anglia LEPs."

Friday 26 February 2016 - "Rail summit pushes for no delays" reports today's edition of yourlocalpaper [page 2]. "Members of Parliament, councils and business leaders will be attending a rail summit today and discussing improvements which will affect West Norfolk" says the newspaper, adding "SW Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has organised the meeting after months of lobbying to implement promised improvements to the Ely North junction ... Ely has long been a bottleneck on the line from Norfolk to the capital"

Friday 26 February 2016 - "Network Rail to be quizzed over Ely junction upgrade" says ITV News, reporting on the Downham Market Rail Summit to be held later today. "It follows months of lobbying to ensure a promised half-hourly service on the King's Lynn to London line are on schedule for next year." The television news channel highlights the regional significance of the Ely North Junction bottleneck (the railway crossroads of East Anglia) by quoting George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, as saying "The Ely Junction is now the critical bottleneck holding back the vital Norwich to Cambridge to Stansted 'Innovation Line' which could create thousands of jobs in rural Norfolk." [Half-hourly King's Lynn-King's Cross trains are a political commitment, backed by a government contract [pages 349 and 350 refer - for more details see news item dated Monday 20 0ctober 2014 below; there are aspirations which (unlike the Fen Line half-hourly services) have not yet gained the status of political commitment and government contract, and which would require Ely North Junction to be upgraded. These aspirations include a half-hourly Norwich-Cambridge-Stansted Airport frequency and an hourly Ipswich-Peterborough service (including a new station at Soham) plus a new Wisbech-March-Cambridge route; additionally there are aspirations to accommodate additional freight flows on the Felixstowe-Midlands route].

Friday 26 February 2016 - North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham talks to KLFM96.7 about the Downham Rail Summit talks today. He tells the radio station the talks are about "Ely North Junction ... a half hourly service ... a better, less crowded service" adding that the promised half-hourly rail service will "unblock economic potential, seeking new employment opportunities, and underpinning existing jobs and business." KLFM96.7 reports: "Members of Parliament, councils and business leaders will ... quiz Network Rail on the upgrade of the Ely North junction. The rail summit to be held on today will press for the upgrade of the junction to happen as soon as possible. Organised by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, the meeting comes as a result of months of lobbying by MPs to implement the upgrade of Ely North and to ensure the half hourly services on the Kings Lynn to London line are on schedule for 2017/2018."

Thursday 25 February 2016 - Writing in the latest issue of Modern Railways [page 24, March 2016 edition] about the 'Digital Railway', Roger Ford reveals that, at the Rail Delivery Group's Annual Conference, he learned that Network Rail "is considering the use of the Norwich-Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth 'Wherry Lines' for a 'proof of concept' pilot scheme to demonstrate the integration of the three systems [European Train Control System (ETCS), Connected-Driver Advisory System (C-DAS) and Traffic Management (TM) which must work together]." He adds: "At this point, I did stick my hand up and asked ... shouldn't DR [the Digital Railway], which is all about improving operation of a busy railway, be trialled on a more demanding route? I suggested Cambridge-King's Lynn."

Thursday 25 February 2016 - The Wisbech Rail Reopening Campaign reports "Wisbech could become garden town with guarantee of rail reopening" ... saying that "Fenland District Council describes what is proposed for Wisbech is 'a game changer' that fits with the Government agenda of delivering new homes on a scale way and beyond that earmarked in Local Plans. ... With house prices in Cambridge three times those of Wisbech, the council is confident of attracting quality housing and skilled workers once transport links are improved. ... Cambridgeshire County Council is also backing the proposals and looking for a massive windfall from using vast tracts of land it already owns in Wisbech for new housing." This project, were it to go ahead, would require "the re-opening of the rail link to March and onwards to Ely and Cambridge, creating a travel time into the city [Cambridge] of 45 minutes. ... Fenland Council also believes postponed rail improvements at Ely need to be carried out as soon as possible to offer certainty of possible commuting times."

Wednesday 24 February 2016 - "Identifying costs of Ely North Junction upgrade 'vital,' says Elizabeth Truss ahead of meeting with Network Rail" reports the Ely Standard today, continuing "Network Rail is set to be quizzed by members of Parliament, councils and business leaders over the delayed upgrade of the Ely North junction." The article, by Seb Pearce, and which comes ahead of the Downham Market Rail Summit to be held on Friday, reveals that "The meeting, organised by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, comes after months of lobbying by MPs to upgrade Ely North as soon as possible, and to ensure that the half-hourly services on the King's Lynn line to London are on schedule for 2017/18. ... The meeting, organised by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, comes after months of lobbying by MPs to upgrade Ely North as soon as possible, and to ensure that the half-hourly services on the King's Lynn line to London are on schedule for 2017/18. Network Rail will respond to questions at a meeting at Downham Market Town Hall on Friday (February 26), after the service said that the upgrade could be delayed by up to seven years."

Wednesday 24 February 2016 - Elizabeth Truss MP has today issued a statement, commenting: "MPs, councils and business leaders are all fully committed to securing the upgrade of Ely North as soon as possible however the full cost and scale of the project is still not known. When I met Network Rail in December 2015 they agreed to explore the options for a feasibility study, time frames, implementation of half hourly services on the Fenline and what can be done to progress the scheme sooner rather than later. I have met the Transport Secretary and Rail minister to reiterate the fact that this is a critical rail junction in the eastern region serving a number of freight and passenger trains so it is vital the costs of the upgrade are identified and this is what I will be pressing Network Rail on."

Monday 22 February 2016 - Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink are proposing to change "the way we operate approximately 80 of our busier stations" including King's Lynn. Their website says: "these proposals opened to three weeks of public consultation today, Monday 22 February 2016, and will be discussed with London TravelWatch and Transport Focus and require approval from the Department for Transport. We are also speaking to our trades unions about this." Kings Lynn is listed as a Band 3 station where, if the proposals go ahead, "we still rely heavily on ticket offices in the peak: Here we propose to staff the ticket office window at peak times but we will also position ticket selling equipment at a station hosting point so the staff are available on the concourse." Detailed proposals for King's Lynn (listed here under Appendix C) are to be found here and there are also posters displayed at King's Lynn station.

Friday 19 February 2016 - from the Kings Lynn News Centre, KLFM's Emma Carter reports today "commuter groups in West Norfolk say they're extremely disappointed after the area's main train operator was named the worst in the UK. ... Thameslink Great Northern was slammed by passengers in a survey run by the consumer group Which? It was rated worst in cleanliness, reliability, availability of seats, and value for money." Andy Tyler replies "Naturally we were very disappointed with the position that the rail company has come out on as far as reliability and its performance ..."

Friday 18 February 2016 - "West Norfolk's trains 'worst in the county'" reports radio station KLFM today. "If you're getting a train from West Norfolk this morning - you probably won't be surprised to hear the firm who run them have been named the worst in the country" says KLFM, reporting on the Which? magazine passenger survey, released today.

Thursday 18 February 2016 - Featured as the main story on earlier broadcasts today, BBC Radio Norfolk reports on the Which? magazine passenger satisfaction survey showing two Norfolk train operators, Thameslink Great Northern and Abellio Greater Anglia, both in the bottom of the league. Radio Norfolk's Jill Bennett talked to FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson and FLUA Vice-Chairman Andy Gibbs as a crowd of passengers alighted at Downham Market station yesterday afternoon. Andy, who is a daily Downham Market-King's Cross commuter, told Radio Norfolk how, as is the norm, there had been standing on his train home from London all the way to Downham. Colin stressed the year after year growth on the Fen Line, 6% this year (6.6% for the four stations north of Ely North Junction) and called for longer trains to be introduced now, and for work on upgrading East Anglia's rail bottleneck - Ely North Junction - to continue. BBC Radio Cambridgeshire News also features the Which? survey today.

Thursday 18 February 2016 - Reporting on a possible Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire "Eastern Motor" devolution deal, today's Eastern Daily Press [page 4] quotes Norfolk County Council leader George Nobbs saying that a deal would mean faster improvements to the road and rail services: "The East of England is the second biggest contributor to the exchequer. For generations this region has been paying in much more than anyone else and getting back less." He told the EDP that a deal would mean giving "the region control over how and where money is spent." The newspaper adds: "Mr Nobbs hopes this would address problems that affect local people - such as the Ely North railway junction ...."

Monday 15 February 2016 - The Cambridge News today reports: "Medical research groups scattered across Cambridge will be brought together in one place after planning permission for a new £79million research facility was granted. The University of Cambridge was recently given the green light for 'Project Capella', the latest in a series of new developments on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus which will be built in just 12 months." The newspaper goes on to say: "Due for completion in 2018, the development will house Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology & Infectious Disease, The Milner Therapeutics Institute and Cambridge Centre for Haematopoiesis and Haematological Malignancies." Travellers will know that Fen Line trains pass the site of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and that Councils and MPs are pressing for an Addenbrooke's railway station to be built to create direct access to the expected 10,000 new jobs to be created there.

Monday 15 February 2016 - "After a 20-year wait, a multi-million pound bike park, thought to be one of the biggest in the UK, opens its doors today at Cambridge railway station. The Cycle Point bike park will provide spaces for 3,000 bicycles, allowing rail commuters to leave their wheels in a safe and secure environment while travelling on the trains" reports the Cambridge News today. The paper reveals that the Cycle Point will be free to use and will be open 24 hours a day. The full, illustrated article discusses the long history of the project and also outlines what will happen to cycles left in the temporary cycle park, and when.

Monday 15 February 2016 - As part of preparing our response to the Department of Transport's "Network Rail's Investment Programme - The Hendy Report Consultation" , we will be meeting Network Rail on Monday 22 February 2016 to discuss Network Rail's draft updated Enhancements Delivery Plan (EDP) in as far as the draft proposals in it affect the Fen Line. We draw members attention in particular to the following draft EDP schemes: Project CashDfT006 - Cambridge North New station [page 160]; Project A002 - Anglia Traction Power Supply Upgrade [page 29]; Project A006 - Kings Lynn-Cambridge 8-car [page 35] (all three projects recommended for implementation in CP5 [2014-2019]) and to Project A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement [page 28]; Project IFDfT004 Ely to Soham Doubling [page 166]; and Project LNE009 Stevenage Turnback [page 70] (these three these projects are recommended to be deferred until CP6 [2019-2024]). Members are invited to send any comments they may have on the draft EDP, along with supporting reasons, to Andy Tyler, Secretary by Friday 18 February 2016, in order that these may be considered for raising at the forthcoming meeting with Network Rail. Members are also reminded that, in any case, we invite comments on the Hendy consultation, along with supporting reasons; these must be sent to Andy Tyler, Secretary, before Friday 4 March 2016 in order that they can be considered before we submit our finalised response to the DfT. Individual members may, of course, comment to the Department for Transport directly before the their consultation closes at 2359 on Friday 18 March 2016: details of the DfT's consultation arrangements are available here. We also invite members to contact Andy Tyler, also before Friday 4 March, should they wish to make comments, along with supporting reasons, on the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) proposals put forward in 'A new approach to passenger rail services in London and the south east'. It is anticipated that the next issue of The Fenman will cover both consultations more fully.

Friday 12 February 2016 - New bus service No 36 "will be timed for trains" says the Lynn News today. Bus operator Lynx will be running from Kings Lynn railway station to Heacham and Hunstanton every hour and this "will be timed to meet trains from Cambridge and London." Lynx says the service will mean that it "takes just over 35 minutes to reach the seaside." The service will start on 29 March 2016. Today's newspaper also has a photograph of the Queen leaving King's Lynn railway station on her return to London after her annual stay at Sandringham. Other rail news in the paper includes a photograph showing FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler, Chairman Colin Sampson, newly elected Vice-Chairman Andy Gibbs (a daily commuter from Downham Market to King's Cross) and President Robert Stripe, as well as a call from local trader Simon Prior calling for new car parks in Downham Market including one for the town's railway station.

Friday 12 February 2016 - The Consortium of East Coast Main Line Authorities (ECMA), which covers the ECML from London to Aberdeen and Inverness, issues its Prospectus for Investment in the East Coast Main Line. The technical work, undertaken by JMP Consultants, identifies Cambridge and King's Lynn as an ECML "Long Distance Commuter Service" and as key stations where connections are made between the ECML and East West Regional Services. issues discussed in the report include connectivity and journey time reductions.

Tuesday 10 February 2016 - "West Norfolk rail campaign group elects new vice-chairman" reports the Lynn News website today: "Andy Gibbs, who commutes daily from Downham to London by rail, took up the role with the Fen Line Users Association (FLUA) on Saturday, succeeding Robert Stripe, who had been made honorary president." [The newspaper's website includes a photograph of FLUA Secretary Andy Tyler, FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson, newly elected Vice-Chairman Andy Gibbs and newly-appointed President Robert Stripe. Andy Gibbs commutes daily from Downham Market to King's Cross; all three others in the photograph are former London commuters. As well as the three Norfolk stations of King's Lynn, Watlington, and Downham Market, we campaign for better services from the Cambridgeshire stations of Littleport, Ely and Waterbeach].

Monday 8 February 2016 - Today's Financial Times [page 2] says: "The future of the organisation [Network Rail] will become clearer next month after Nicola Shaw ... publishes her government -commissioned report on what should be done with Network Rail." The newspaper continues: "Some industry figures believe the government wants to break it up and sell large parts of the business. These concerns were exacerbated by a report in 'The Sunday Times' yesterday that suggested Ms Shaw had already identified routes she thinks could attract [external] investment, including Greater Anglia, Essex Thameside and Wessex. Ms Shaw declined to comment. ... According to the report, Ms Shaw's review will recommend the creation of an agency responsible for issues to do with rail strategy, but will be at arm's length from Whitehall. That new body would handle everything from franchising, large upgrades and railway standards to long term planning ..."

Sunday 7 February 2016 - The Fen Line's newest station, Cambridge North (also known as Cambridge Science Park) is now under construction and is due to open on 21 May 2017 (next year). Today the "Nodding Cat Channel" on Youtube posts a video showing current works.

Saturday 6 February 2016 - A "change of locos" took place at a FLUA Committee Meeting today. Outgoing Vice-Chairman Robert Stripe, who uses Waterbeach station, made way for newly-elected Vice-Chairman Andy Gibbs, who is a daily commuter to King's Cross from Downham Market. As a mark of appreciation for long and continuing service to rail passengers, Robert was elected Hon. President of the Association. Robert said: "Having been in FLUA since its beginning, I have witnessed drastic changes - when I joined there were 5 trains from King's Lynn to London each day, now there are five times that number and there are to be more still." Andy Gibbs remarked: "It's an exciting time of massive growth on the Fen Line - in the time I've travelled from Downham, I've noticed huge increases in the number of passengers using the station. I'm delighted to see that Downham Market has now overtaken Great Yarmouth to become Norfolk's fourth busiest station, making the promised 8-car trains essential."

Saturday 6 February 2016 - Frank Connolly of Downham Market writes to the Ely News: "I wish the new Railway Task Force (Ely Standard January 28) every success with their quest to get Soham station re-opened . But I fear that their struggle will be a long one ...". Mr Connolly goes on to say: " Network Rail announced in the last week that the Ely North Junction upgrade and the re-doubling of the Ely to Soham line are not now due for implementation until 'after 2019' (no mention of Soham Station). As part of their efforts to push the station project forward, the Task force might like to ask themselves what sort of service passengers can expect when the station does open. Trips to Newmarket and Cambridge? - No chance." Referring to the closed curve north of Newmarket, which permitted through movements between Ely and Soham to Newmarket and onto Cambridge (the earthworks of the former curve can be seen from the Ely-Bury St. Edmunds-Ipswich line), Mr Donnolly suggests: "I would therefore suggest that the number one priority for this group should be getting the re-instatement of this junction included in the line re-doubling plans, which would facilitate a Peterborough (or Wisbech when opened), March, Ely, Soham, Newmarket, and Cambridge service." He concludes: "Otherwise Soham will just become a quiet station on the Ely to Ipswich line." [Although not on the Fen Line, the infrastructure works proposed for NR's Ely to Soham doubling scheme and the potential station at Soham are interlinked with NR's delayed Ely North Junction project].

Friday 5 February 2016 - The Norfolk Chamber of Commerce hosts an MPs Event, which "over the six years of running this event, ... has grown in influence both with Norfolk's Nine MPs and [Chamber of Commerce] members." At the meeting, which over 180 business delegates attend, North West Norfolk Sir Henry Bellingham highlights the need for "improved transport and communications infrastructure to help Norfolk's economy grow" and Cabinet Minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss stresses the need to "improve the Norwich to Cambridge rail line, and Ely North Junction, to help West Norfolk get half hourly services into London."

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 "the 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 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 Vale, Politics Correspondent 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 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].

Wednesday 20 January 2016 - Network Rail gives an update presentation to Cambridge City Council's North Area Committee today about Cambridge North Station and Fen Road Level Crossing (Agenda Item 18). A Youtube film of the presentation explains the works undertaken and those yet to be done. [The meeting was told that Cambridge North station would open in May 2017 and the new Fen Road level crossing would be commissioned in June 2017].

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 [the Hardwick Green proposal, an early phase "in a strategy that may see as many as 6,000 new homes in time"], 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 Addenbrookes/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 fallout 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.

Thursday 12 November 2015 - Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive of High Speed 1, was asked by the government to advise on the longer term future shape and financing of Network Rail and today she publishes a scoping report. She will reporting her advice to the government in early 2016.

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: "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 Ely-Soham doubling project has encountered unforeseen project costs and is currently under assessment as part of the Hendy review" writes Sir Peter Hendy to Suffolk Chamber of Commerce's John Dugmore, today. Sir Peter continues: "the benefits of the scheme and the linkage to wider projects are understood to be a national priority." [The Ely to Soham project, though not part of the Fen Line, is linked to the Ely North Junction scheme. Both are on the Strategic Freight Network (SFN). Ely North Junction is at the convergence of the West Anglia Main Line SFN route with the Felixstowe to the West Midlands SFN route. Background information on the SFN is available in the DfT's Longer Term Vision for the Strategic Freight Network and in Network Rail's Developing Freight in Control Period 5 documentation].

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 - Urban & Civic, agents for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (working on behalf of the Ministry of Defence to develop new town proposals for the former Waterbeach Barracks site) launches their Strategy for Engagement and Collaborative Masterplanning today. Previous proposals for a new town at Waterbeach have envisaged the relocation of the existing Waterbeach station to the north.

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."

Tuesday 22 September 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. Writing to the Department for Transport on 22 September 2015, in response to the DfT's letter of 25 August 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 letter of 22 September 2015, 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 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 State, 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."

Tuesday 25 August 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. Writing to Network Rail, a DRAFT letter from the DfT refers to "... the infrastructure enhancements required to support the DfT's long-standing commitment to have two Kings Lynn trains an hour for most of the day by December 2017. I must emphasise the commitment that has been made by Ministers to the successful and timely delivery of the improved Kings Lynn passenger service. Plans for infrastructure to support service enhancement were developed in Network Rail's study in September 2011 and were confirmed and funded by Ministers in the July 2012 HLOS. The GTR franchise agreement contracts the extra train services and we are in discussions with GTR on how this is best delivered. The Rail Minister has recently given assurances within Government that the improved Kings Lynn service is expected to be operational by December 2017. The current view is there are three phases of passenger improvements on the Cambridge-Ely-Kings Lynn route, each of which will require supporting infrastructure. These are:

"* Opening of Cambridge North station, currently anticipated for December 2016. We are discussing the train service options with the operators but it clear the increase in passenger demand from both the new station and from exogenous growth will require Kings Lynn-London services to be increased to 8 car in the peak.

"* Class 377 EMUs replace existing Class 365 EMUs on GTR Kings Lynn and Cambridge-London services during summer 2017.

"* Kings Lynn-London off-peak service increased to two trains in most off-peak hours by December 2017, with some gaps remaining where freight services to/from Middleton Towers are planned to operate.

"... [authority to progress] as quickly as practicable so that works can be undertaken in time to deliver the December 2017 train service improvements set out above. I am also authorising your proposal to undertake a GRIP 0-2 study to set out the costs and programme for moving to 8-car operations on the GTR services between Cambridge and Kings Lynn, as sought in your letter. Please can you advise when this is expected to be complete and confirm the service improvements in December 2016 remain achievable. I am concerned that without 8-car operation there will not be sufficient peak capacity to meet demand. I recognise the level crossing challenges Network Rail has now identified at Ely North Junction and I understand why you propose to defer the upgrade works to CP6. Provided the enhanced Kings Lynn passenger services can be operated as planned by December 2017 and the growth in Felixstowe-Nuneaton freight services is not constrained by this section of route, I think this may be a sensible option."

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.

Friday 21 August 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. In a letter to the Department of Transport [DfT], dated 21 August 2015, Network Rail [NR] writes: As you are aware Network Rail has been working with the Department for some time on options to improve services for passengers between Cambridge and Kings Lynn." The principal scheme under development to support this aspiration to date has been the re-doubling of Ely North Junction, which when allied with other improvements could yield the opportunity to run two trains per hour in most off peak hours to/from Kings Lynn. As we highlighted during the TSGN re-franchising process an increase in passenger train usage of the branch will trigger the need for an upgrade of a number of Level Crossings along the line of route. As promised then we have now completed an initial assessment of the works required on the branch itself. The line has a very high number of foot and user worked crossings and some Automatic Half barriers (AHBs). ... In addition to these costs as we have previously discussed, under guidance we now have in place for AHBs, the works at the junction itself may trigger the need to upgrade at least 2 of the 3 AHBs immediately north of the junction (the Queen Adelaide crossings). Normally in these circumstances we would opt for a full barrier crossing, however due to the proximity of the crossings the extra barrier down time associated with a full barrier option could actually increase risk. As part of the Ely North Junction scheme development we are currently working through the options, but there is a high chance that additional costs for these specific crossings will now fall to the scheme. With these factors in mind we are of the view that it may be sensible to defer the Ely North Junction project into early CP6 whilst we work with yourselves and local authorities to agree the right long term solutions to the level crossings on the Kings Lynn branch. In the meantime we recognise the importance of developing and delivering works that will improve the service to passengers on this route. As you have noted the most pressing need for service improvement is actually in the peak rather than in the off-peak where the currently 4 car restricted trains are regularly overcrowded."

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 - GTR updates Factsheet 2 Great Northern Outers which states: "King's Lynn / Cambridge Express services to London King's Cross will see existing mid-life class 365 rolling stock replaced by newer, air-conditioned class 377s during 2016" and "By December 2018, the frequency of off-peak services between King's Lynn and London King's Cross will double from one train per hour (1tph) to 2tph in each direction (except at certain times when scheduled freight trains on the King's Lynn branch prevent this). This increase in frequency will be enabled by planned Network Rail works at Ely [North] Junction."

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.

Monday 15 June 2015 - The London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) launches its case for upgrading the West Anglia Main Line between Cambridge and London Liverpool Street today. [Fen Line Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains traverse the northern portion of the West Anglia Main Line between Kings Lynn and Cambridge before crossing to the East Coast Main Line for the final part of their journeys to London Kings Cross. The LSCC report is concerned with that part of the West Anglia Main Line south of Cambridge].

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.

Monday 1 June 2015 - "Three new train stations and £750m City Deal projects to fuel Cambridge public transport revolution" reports the Cambridge News, "The News today reveals for the first time all of the £750 million of schemes currently being considered for delivery under the landmark City Deal. And it combines this with further schemes earmarked in the county council's long term transport strategy." Two of the new stations would be on the Newmarket line, the other would be at Addenbrooke's [Cambridge Bio-medical campus]. The County Council's Long Term Transport Strategy, referred to by today's paper, says [Page 24, 2-10]: "Major employment growth is occurring on the northern [new Cambridge North station planned on the Fen Line] and western fringes of the city, in the station area [already served by Fen Line trains] and on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus around Addenbrooke's Hospital [Fen Line trains go past the site], where around 10,500 new high value jobs are being created."

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 .

Tuesday 31 March 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. A letter from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport [Claire Perry] dated 31 March 2015, reads: "Network Rail's scheme development has taken longer than expected because more assessment has been required than initially foreseen of the interaction between the junction upgrade and the nearby level crossings. Just north of the junction are the three Queen Adelaide level crossings. The diverging rail layout from Ely North junction means it is possible for road traffic stopped for one crossing to queue back to obstruct a second crossing. Recent safety guidance on Automatic Half Barrier level crossings suggest it is sensible to develop the Ely North Junction scheme alongside developing an understanding of what alteration may be required to nearby crossings. There is both growth in passenger and freight services to allow for and growth and change in Ely road traffic to accommodate, the latter requiring close work with the local authority to understand. This delay to the scheme development may mean the end delivery date for the Ely North Junction project moves back, but Department officials have made it clear to Network Rail we expect completion by early 2019. The junction improvements are required if both the forecast growth in Felixstowe freight traffic and the enhanced Kings Lynn service is to be operated."

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.

Friday 20 February 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. The Department of Transport writes to Network Rail: "Note though that we still want the 2tph Kings Lynn and F2N capacity delivered in CP5, largely through Ely North Junction. Strong passenger growth in both peak and off peak is being reported by the TOC, and good economic reasons why Kings Lynn is required asap. The freight paths is a TT [timetabling] issue that looks capable of resolution; the level crossing issue Ely-Kings Lynn concerns me as it is counter-intuitive that increasing from 1tph to 2tph should engender such risk as to make current arrangements unacceptable. We're prepared to consider change control [change to regulated outputs] so long as we get the funded and specified outcome in as short a time as practicable."

Friday 20 February 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. Network Rail writes to the Department of Transport consulting on change control for the Ely North Junction scheme. "Owing to the reasons stated below, it has been necessary to make changes to the regulated milestone dates for the Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement Project in CP5.

"1. Additional development work being necessary. This is linked with changes to the regulations around AHB level crossings and also the introduction of Common Safety Method. A focus going forward will be on the interface with the 4 level crossings adjacent to Ely North Junction in light of the findings of GRIP 3 development stage and also the introduction of Common Safety Method regulations.

"2. Alignment of the Ely North Junction project with the Felixstowe to Nuneaton work package."

The proposed new dates are: "GRIP 3 completion -Single option selection -May 2016 - Regulated

"GRIP 4 completion - Single option scope defined - January 2017 - Indicative

"GRIP 6 start - Start on site - August 2017 - Indicative

"GRIP 6 completion - Infrastructure ready for use - September 2018 - Indicative.

"The GRIP 3 milestone is subject to further review of the schedule and is to be confirmed by Infrastructure Enhancements Delivery Plan update."

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 ..."

Thursday 19 February 2015 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. The Department of Transport writes to Network Rail on the subject of "Ely North Junction meeting: The doubt in ORR's mind I think hinges around the link between the scheme and the Kings Lynn 2tph off peak. We have said to ORR same as we said to you that the specific service aspiration is contingent on a number of other things including TCRAG [Timetable Change Route Assessment Group] review of Level Crossings and in a few hours resolution of the freight path conflicts and not solely dependent on the junction scheme."

Monday 16 February 2015 - The Network Rail CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan December 2014, 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]". [Note: The link to the Enhancements Delivery Plan dated December 2014 seems to be broken and we can trace no replacement for it. If you are a FLUA Member, or work for the railway industry or the media and would like to see this document, please email Andy Tyler, Secretary - work email address if industry or media enquiry, please - and we will email you a copy].

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 note that in your formal response to the TSGN franchise bid review, Network Rail recognised the aspiration to operate 2 trains per hour on the Kings Lynn branch and that the proposed change in service level needed to be subject to a review of infrastructure implications on line of route. Your formal response also noted that Network Rail would work with the successful bidder's timetable proposal to assess these issues and that the Ely North Junction project remained subject to the change control process with a delivery estimate of 2017 at the time of the response. ... 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.

Friday 24 October 2014 - [Taken from 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 - see item dated Monday 28 December 2015 above]. Writing to Network Rail on the subject of the timing of the Ely North Junction scheme, the Department for Transport [DfT] says:

"* Despite the current situation with CP5 overspends elsewhere and the proposal as part of the affordability review that Ely North Junction scheme could be moved back to CP6 for affordability reasons, DfT would like to see the scheme positioned so it could be delivered in CP5.

"* Network Rail has put scheme development on hold since the summer to allow for an initial assessment of the options for major works to nearby level crossings. Current risk assessments on nearby AHB's [Automatic Half Barrier crossings] and recent guidance issued for AHBs suggest it is sensible to develop the Ely North Junction scheme alongside developing an understanding of what may be required in terms of alterations to nearby crossings - in particular given the impact of F2N [Felixstowe to Nuneaton freight] growth on those crossings.

"* This delay to the scheme development is likely to mean the end delivery date for the Ely North Junction project moves backwards but Network Rail will update this position at the next meeting in the new year [2015].

"* Network Rail presented some initial options for resolution of the Level Crossing issues at the 3 level crossings immediately North of the Junction (the 3 Queen Adelaide crossings) and at Kiln Lane just south.

"* The level crossing solutions - at least on the Peterborough line are sizeable undertakings and it is not yet possible to say when they could be delivered. It is too early to say whether they can or indeed should be delivered at the same time as the junction redoubling scheme. This needs to be discussed further at the next meeting.

"* Funding for the crossing development work needs to be agreed. The main driver is F2N [Felixstowe to Nuneaton] traffic.

"* It was noted that operation of a 2nd off peak train in most hours to Kings Lynn - which is a GTR franchise commitment - has always required an assessment of level crossings on the full line of route through to Kings Lynn. NR commenced that assessment on receipt of the winning bidder timetable. It was noted necessary works could be identified as part of that process and at this point NR does not have funding to deliver such works. NR has highlighted this as part of the re-franchising process pre ITT and as part of bid review. It was agreed this matter will be discussed further at the next meeting in the new year when more information is available.

"* Following the previous meeting DfT provided a sample service spec for above the time periods to test the medium term fit of the doubled junction with aspirations. NR have completed this work and will provide a copy of the report.

"The 2nd off peak train to Kings Lynn - train planning issues

" * It was noted without the doubling of the single leads at Ely NJ this franchise commitment will not be operable in CP5

" * Even with the doubling - train planning work to support the original scheme development in 2011/12 - and NR's bid review on the TSGN process highlighted that the service was not operable in all off peak hours due to the presence of freight paths on the Kings Lynn branch in some hours that conflict with the new paths - as a result of the single line sections on the branch (not as a result of the alterations to Ely NJ). The Route Study will set out the longer term solutions to these conflicts but it was noted in the meantime careful messaging is required re: the outputs of the North Junction scheme in isolation so that expectations are not raised - and the scheme is understood as a building block. The Route Study will set out this message - and set out the other building blocks that would help deliver a good service pattern alongside the Ely NJ scheme...."

Monday 20 October 2014 - 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.

Page 350 [of 392] of the Train Service Requirements ("ECML 2 East Coast Mainline Minimum Service Specification and First and Last Train Specification") sets out, inter alia, the contracted minimum southbound Kings Lynn-Kings Cross service from May 2017. This may be summarised broadly as:

* morning peak to Cambridge and Kings Cross - 2 tph from all Fen Line stations;

* off-peak to Cambridge and Kings Cross - 2 tph from Kings Lynn, Downham Market and Ely, and 1 tph from Watlington, Littleport and Waterbeach.

Page 349 [of 392] of the Train Service Requirements ("ECML 2 East Coast Mainline Minimum Service Specification and First and Last Train Specification") sets out, inter alia, the contracted minimum northbound Kings Cross-Kings Lynn service from May 2017. This may be summarised broadly as:

* off-peak from Kings Cross and Cambridge - 2 tph to Ely, Downham Market and Kings Lynn, and 1 tph to Waterbeach, Littleport and Watlington;

* afternoon peak from Kings Cross and Cambridge - 2 tph to all Fen Line stations.

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.

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 TSGN website outlines benefits to Great Northern - and other routes - arising from the new TSGN franchise, stating "May 2017 Kings Lynn service becomes half hourly." The 'Great Northern Outers' improvements factsheet lists forthcoming improvements.

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. [Note: The link to the Enhancements Delivery Plan dated 31 March 2014 seems to be broken and we can trace no replacement for it. If you are a FLUA Member, or work for the railway industry or the media and would like to see this document, please email Andy Tyler, Secretary - work email address if industry or media enquiry, please - and we will email you a copy]. 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 - "Fewer delays and more reliable services for Anglia passengers" says Network Rail about its CP5 Delivery Plan for the 2014-2019 period. Key projects over the next five years include "rebuild Ely Junction North relieving congestion between Norwich and Cambridge on the West Anglia line" [Note: there is no mention of this also being necessary for two trains per hour to run to and from King's Lynn]. However, NR has previously said that Ely North Junction needs upgrading for half-hourly trains to run to Downham Market and King's Lynn and, speaking to the Lynn News, M.P. Elizabeth Truss welcomes the "really positive news."

Tuesday 18 February 2014 - The 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 [page 48] 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." [Note: The link to the Draft CP5 Delivery Plan dated 18 December 2013 seems to be broken and we can trace no replacement for it. If you are a FLUA Member, or work for the railway industry or the media and would like to see this document, please email Andy Tyler, Secretary - work email address if industry or media enquiry, please - and we will email you a copy].

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. The accompanying Stakeholder Briefing Document states: [paragraphs 4.94 and 4.95] "... the Great Northern Line serves the growing regional centres of Peterborough and Cambridge, and significant intermediate stations. As well as being commuter destinations in their own right, they provide large numbers of commuters travelling into and out of London. ... There will be no changes to the existing train service requirement until May 2017, when investment by Network Rail in improvements to Ely North Junction should facilitate an increase in the service between King's Lynn and Cambridge to provide 2 trains per hour all day, Monday to Saturday (except in those hours where existing freight train paths prevent this)."

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 26 June 2013 - "Passenger services start using Hitchin flyover. Work on a £47m scheme to remove a major bottleneck to help reduce delays and increase future capacity has been completed" says Network Rail today. [Northbound First Capital Connect services, including those between King's Cross and King's Lynn will be phased in over the next few months. Northbound trains that do not use the flyover have to cross the East Coast Main Line (ECML) southbound tracks, hence the capacity constraint; southbound trains, including Fen Line services, are able to join the southbound ECML tracks without having to cross the northbound lines.]

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.

The April 2013 issue of KL Magazine has an interview with Keith Jipps, Customer Service Director of First Capital Connect [pages 16 and 17]. 'KL' asks Mr Jipps: "How close are we to seeing a half-hourly service from King's Lynn to King's Cross?" and he replies: "We'd love to double the frequency of the services to King's Lynn, and Network Rail's planned upgrade of a critical junction at Ely North brings that possibility closer." Tackled on the overcrowding issue, Mr Jipps tells 'KL' "The difficulty on the route from Cambridge to King's Lynn is the short length of the platforms at many of the stations." He also mentions FLUA, saying: "Due to their campaigning, for example, we provided a new late night service to Littleport, Downham Market, Watlington and King's Lynn on Thursdays, leaving London at 11.15pm."

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". The relevant text of NR's release for the East of England reads: "Remodelling Ely North Junction will relieve a key bottle neck on the West Anglia main line, enabling more passenger and freight services, including increasing the number of trains running between King's Lynn and London."

Thursday 22 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 today full details of the Network Rail letter, sent to Minister of State for Transport Simon Burns from Network Rail Chief Executive David Higgins on 16 November 2012. The letter states: "To date, it has been assumed that the infrastructure solution required with be delivered during Control Period 5 subject to funding being confirmed. We are aware that this Scheme is seen as a priority by local MPs and remain committed to keeping then and yourself up to date on progress. The Project will complete initial feasibility in February [2013] and, at that stage, we will be in a position to give you a clear date range for when delivery is likely to be achieved. Between February and Autumn 2013, we will be undertaking further development - including detailed surveys and design work and importantly possession plans [the time when the railway would availability for construction works and not available to run train services] - and once this work is completed, we will be able to give you a specific target delivery date."

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).

Monday 30 April 2012 - Consultants Capita Symonds and Clewlow Consulting, acting on behalf of Royal London Waterbeach Estates (promoters of new town "Denny St Francis" adjacent to Waterbeach) respond to Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy consultation on Alternative Solutions for tram trains. Their response contains a discussion on the potential introduction of new stations at Chesterton [Cambridge Science Park station] and Denny St Francis, and replacing the existing Waterbeach station.

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

Thursday 22 March 2012 - "Waterbeach population could rocket to be twice that of Ely" reveals the Eastern Daily Press today. The paper continues: "The population of Waterbeach could expand seven-fold to around 38,000 people with a new station, guided bus link and six schools built to accommodate a population twice the size of Ely. ... developer RLW Estates ... has registered the site with the council as being suitable for 12,750 homes. To support the housing Chelmsford-based RLW Estates says the already busy Waterbeach Station would need to be relocated to the north of the village..."

Thursday 23 February 2012 - In a House of Commons Question, Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, asks the Minister of State for Transport, Theresa Villiers, "In order to upgrade the service to half-hourly on the Fen line and the Norwich-Cambridge line, there needs to be an upgrade at Ely North junction. Network Rail has conducted an economic study that suggests that this will have a positive benefit.... May I ask what progress has been made to move forward on this investment?" The Minister replies "We have asked Network Rail to do important work on deciding how we might improve the frequency of services in the way she wishes to see, and whether the infrastructure needed to deliver this is within the budgets ... We will also look to do what we might be able to do in the next control period [CP5] as part of our high-level output specification - HLOS - statement, which we will publish in the summer."[Column 1012].

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." [Column 462].

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."

Tuesday 29 September 2009 - As part of its Transport and Works Act Order application, Network Rail publishes a statement of public consultation undertaken. This states: "Detailed planning of the works for submission of a Transport and Works Act Order began in January 2007 ... Development of the Hitchin Cambridge Junction improvements resumed in 2006 building on the results of the work that had been carried out prior to 2007 [earlier concept work, dating from the 1990s]." Kings Lynn-Kings Cross trains join the East Coast Main Line at Hitchin, which, as a flat junction, is recognised as a known capacity restraint.

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 2017, Issue 1

PDF The Fenman 2016, Issue 1, 2, 3

PDF The Fenman 2015, Issue 1, 2, 3

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.

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.