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
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 4,5000 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 onth 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 newspapers 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 of Transport has released certain papers concerning Ely North Junction today in response to a successful Freedom of Information Act request by Rupert Moss-Eccardt. We will be analysing these papers and reporting any significant findings on this website in the next few days.
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 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.
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 Tranport has accepted Sir Peter's recommendations, subject to a short period of consultation with relevant stakeholders.
Tuesday 23 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 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 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.
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.
Friday 13 November 2015 - "How much do you need to earn in Cambridge to buy a home?" asks Jenny Chapman in today's Cambridge News. With Cambridge the third most expensive place to buy (after London and Oxford) the answers are £178k earnings for a detached property, £128k for a semi, £109k for a terraced, and £79k for a flat. The median salary in Cambridge is just over £25k. We have said before that the massive growth on King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services is greatly down to house prices, we are greatly concerned about intense overcrowding on Fen Line trains both south of and, increasingly, north of Cambridge, as places such as Ely and Downham Market become very popular commuter towns. We invite you to come to our AGM at 2p.m. on Saturday 21 November at St. John's Church, King's Lynn (adjacent to railway station). Great Northern's Passenger Service Director, Keith Jipps, will be speaking about the Fen Line's future and other railway managers will also be there to answer members' questions. If not already a FLUA member, you can join on the day.
Friday 5 November 2015 - Details of key Great Northern timetable changes from Sunday 13 December 2015 are listed here. Included in the forthcoming changes are: on Mondays to Fridays, the 2144 King's Cross-Ely will be strengthened to run with 8-cars as far as Cambridge; on Saturdays, the 0654 King's Lynn-King's Cross will be strengthened to run with 8-cars south of Cambridge; on Saturdays; the 1944 King's Cross-Ely will be extended to King's Lynn, also calling at Downham Market; the 2044 King's Cross-Ely will be strengthened to run with 8-cars as far as Cambridge; on Sundays, the 1757 King's Lynn-King's Cross will be strengthened to run with 8-cars south of Cambridge.
Tuesday 3 November 2015 - Network Rail has responded to Rupert Moss-Eccardt's Freedom of Information request regarding level crossings associated with the Ely North Junction upgrade, asking Mr Moss-Eccardt to supply more detail as to the information he is seeking. They have 20 working days from receiving the clarification they seek to respond. Mr Moss-Eccardt's reply to Network Rail, dated today, includes the following:
"In terms of time frame, anything from the beginning of this year (2015) will probably suffice.
"The following news articles may be of assistance: http://edp24.co.uk/1.4166910 (where a Network Rail spokesman is said to mention closure) and http://www.elizabethtruss.com/news/candi... where SoS for DEFRA says Network Rail told her there were issues with the road crossing.
"The Ely North upgrade is still in CP5 so the paperwork for that should mention the crossings.
"The three road/rail crossings in question are the three on the B1382 in Queen Adelaide. The middle one has featured in your safety campaign for university students and all three have enforcement cameras as they are in the top 20 most dangerous crossings, apparently. They are the three called 'Queen Adelaide' as a result of this search: with postcode CB7 4UQ and a radius of one mile. I think they are Crossing 2529, Crossing 2530 and Crossing 2531."
Monday 2 November 2015 - Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman calls for the upgrading of Cambridge-Norwich services in today's Eastern Daily Press, including "Faster delivery of the doubling of the Ely North Junction – work that would be crucial for enhanced services on the line" and "Faster delivery of the upgrades at Ely station to Ely North Junction".
Saturday 31 October 2015 - Rupert Moss-Eccardt has submitted the following Freedom of Information request to Network Rail:
"Dear Network Rail Limited,
"There has been a lot of coverage for several years about the upgrade of Ely North Junction.
"In the last year there has been mention by local politicians and MPs of challenges around level crossings in the area, particularly those in Queen Adelaide (there are three in the village itself).
"Please could you provide any correspondence, plans and emails that mention these crossings any, particularly what the problems are and any proposals being considered. Note you do not need to send the 'improving connectivity' paper from last year."
Currently waiting for a response from Network Rail Limited, they must respond promptly and normally no later than 27 November 2015.
Friday 30 October 2015 - Keith Jipps, Passenger Services Director, Great Northern, Govia Thameslink Railway, will be the guest speaker at the 30th Annual General Meeting of the Association to be held on Saturday 21 November 2015. The meeting will be held at St. John's Church (adjacent to King's Lynn railway station) starting at 2 p.m. As usual, we have invited rail management to answer members' questions.
Members have now been sent formal notice of the AGM as well as The Fenman 2015 no 3 (via post or via email, as appropriate). A copy of this issue is also available in the Members' section. Non members are welcome - there will be the opportunity to join on the day. We invite you to come and find out the Fen Line future - first-hand!
Friday 30 October 2015 - "New talks promised in rail upgrade bid""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.
"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.
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 by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin in which he says: “I do not want to pre-empt his [Sir Peter Hendy's] findings [in his forthcoming report on Network Rail's enhancements programme], but I do recognise the extent of your support and the concern you have expressed to ensure the upgrade continues. The growth in rail demand in East Anglia is substantial and our franchise plans recognise this. I am strongly supportive of the efforts being made to generate economic growth through new and enhanced rail services. I have asked my officials to continue to work with you on this, once Sir Peter has reported back to me.” Elizabeth Truss MP is reported as saying “I will continue to ensure the upgrade remains on track and will work with the DFT, MPs, councils and the business community in order that local residents and visitors can benefit from half hourly trains on the Kings Lynn to London line and increased services on the Thetford route.” Referring to the group of MPs, council and business leaders, FLUA Chairman Colin Sampson said "said: “We are encouraged by all that we hear from that pressure group.”
Wednesday 21 October 2015 - "Encouragement, but no start date, for Norfolk rail line upgrade campaign" is the headline in the Bury Free Press today, reporting on the letter sent by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to Elizabeth Truss MP concerning Ely North Junction. The paper reports "Ministers have insisted they support efforts to improve the rail links between Norfolk and London, but can’t yet say when a key upgrade of the line will be carried out. But campaigners say they are encouraged by the latest comments to emerge from the Department for Transport this week. ... The work is seen as crucial to enable half-hourly services to operate between King’s Lynn and London King’s Cross, as well as improvements to other services using the link. ... And Colin Sampson, chairman of the Fen Line Users Association praised the “terrific fight” being put up by MPs, council and business leaders on the issue."
Wednesday 21 October 2015 - The Ely News reports today, "MPs welcome letter from Transport Secretary in response to fears over Ely North Junction upgrade delays. But they say there is still a lot of work to be done until the major project is delivered. ... South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer said: "I welcome the Secretary of State's response, recognising the importance of rail infrastructure to Cambridgeshire. There is still more to be done to ensure that the Ely North Junction upgrade is delivered, and I will continue working with my parliamentary colleagues to keep progress on track ..."
Wednesday 21 October 2015 - Elizabeth Truss MP has today published a letter sent from the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP (in response to the letter sent on 18 September 2015 by Elizabeth Truss and fellow MPs Henry Bellingham, Lucy Frazer, and Steven Barclay) concerning Ely North Junction. In a statement issued today, she "welcomes the letter from the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin in which the Transport Secretary recognises the growth in East Anglia’s rail network. Responding to the letter sent to his office on the 18th September by MPs, council leaders and the Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP where concerns had been raised about a delay in upgrading the Ely North Rail Junction, the Transport Secretary has asked Department For Transport (DFT) officials to work with Elizabeth to maximise the potential of rail services in the region." This is a link to Secretary of State for Transport's letter to Elizabeth Truss.
Wednesday 21 October 2015 - Passenger satisfaction, including with GTR Great Northern King's Lynn to King's Cross services, is the topic of today's article in this week's Eastern Daily Press East Anglia rail investigation.
Tuesday 20 October 2015 - "Just who is to blame for the failure of your train to arrive on time?" is the question posed in today's installment of the Eastern Daily Press East Anglia rail investigation.
Monday 19 October 2015 - ITV News covers the problems station users are having during the major re-development work at Cambridge station, under the title : "No pain, no gain for commuters hit by station building work."
Monday 19 October 2015 - The Eastern Daily Press launches today a week-long series on rail in Norfolk and Suffolk. Concentrating on time-keeping performance, today's article states, "The King’s Lynn to King’s Cross service also scored poorly, with 84pc, a fall of 1.5pc since 2011/12. However, a closer look at the figures shows that since Govia Thameslink Railway Limited took on the franchise last year, the PPM has improved by 4.4pc. It has also got even better in the first few months of 2015/16. A spokesman said it had been “focusing hard” on improving the punctuality and reliability of services for passengers."
Friday 16 October 2015 - The Office of Rail and Road, ORR, has concluded today that Network Rail is taking action to improve planning and delivery of rail enhancements, this conclusion arising from ORR's investigation into NR's delivery of the CP5 (2014-2019) enhancement programme. Included in ORR's enforcement documentation related to enhancements, is the "ORR evidence report - Network Rail's overall planning, management and delivery of its enhancements programme", which shows [Annex C, page 57] that development work on Project A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement has been running 11 months late.
Wednesday 14 October 2015 - The Department for Transport, Siemens, and Thameslink have produced an informative leaflet about the forthcoming class 700 trains, which will be used on trains from Cambridge to Brighton and to Tattenham Corner from 2018. Please note that these trains will not be used on King's Lynn-King's Cross services; a fleet of air-conditioned class 377 trains is scheduled to be employed on Fen Line services.
Sunday 11 October 2015 - Foxton Parish Council has published an update from Network Rail on Foxton Level Crossing. Foxton level crossing has a long history of incidents. The Royston Crow has previously reported "a total of 34 offences have been committed at Foxton Level Crossing in the last year, with incidents ranging from trespassing to failing to stop at signals." Earlier in the year, the Cambridge News reported "Safety work scrapped at ‘dangerous’ Foxton level crossing as Network Rail cites spiralling costs." Foxton Parish Council's history of NR's longer-term proposals to close the level crossing and replace it with a bridge is here.
Friday 8 October 2015 - Reported by The Comet, the 1454 King's Lynn to King's Cross "struck and killed" a 73 year-old woman at Foxton Level Crossing yesterday (7 October). No trains were running between Royston and Cambridge for several hours. The affected train, carrying some 100 passengers who were reassured by the driver and another GTR staff member, was able to be driven into Royston at 1736 and passengers were transferred to a waiting train. otherwise, buses were shuttling between Royston and Cambridge and trains were running between King's Cross and Letchworth/Royston and between Cambridge and King's Lynn. The first homeward-bound train to be able to run beyond Royston was the delayed 1714 King's Cross-Ely, which also carried hundreds of passengers from trains (such as the 1644 King's Cross-King's Lynn) which had had to have been terminated at Royston. The 1714 train was met at Cambridge by a GTR train calling at all-stations to King's Lynn. There was significant disruption following the line's reopening, as drivers and trains were widely displaced, but GTR ran all last services as published (albeit with delays) in order to get people home.
Thursday 1 October 2015 - 'The Key' smart ticketing is introduced on Great Northern stations from Royston to King's Cross. Speaking today, GTR Commercial Director David Innis said, "from next year The Key will be extended to the remaining Great Northern stations north of Royston, to Cambridge and King's Lynn, and at Peterborough."
Saturday 26 September 2015 - "Politicians and business leaders in the region have written to the transport minister calling for improvements to the Ely North Junction to take place as soon as possible" is the Eastern Daily Press story today.
Friday 25 September 2015 - The Lynn News reports that "MPs and business chiefs call for early work on key Ely rail link." The ITV coverage of the pressure from MPs, Councils and business leaders for the Ely North Junction upgrade is here.
Friday 25 September 2015 - MPs Elizabeth Truss, Henry Bellingham, Steven Barclay and Lucy Frazer, along with the Leaders of West Norfolk and East Cambridgeshire councils, and Cambridgeshire County Council, as well as the Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, have today written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport pressing for the implementation of the Ely North Junction upgrade as soon as possible. The letter highlights the importance of the contracted half-hourly King's Lynn-King's Cross service from May 2017 and stresses that the Ely upgrade is one of the LEP's "top priorities."
Thursday 17 September 2015 - The Department for Transport has issued the Invitation to Tender and associated documentation for the East Anglia Rail Franchise. The franchise is planned to start in October 2016 and last until October 2025 (with a possible extension of a further year). The Train Service Requirement (part of the associated documentation) includes the Mondays to Fridays peak only King's Lynn/Ely-Cambridge to Liverpool Street trains. The hourly Norwich to Cambridge via Ely trains will continue, with most extended to and from Stansted Airport. Both these routes will also serve the new Cambridge North station (Cambridge Science Park station) [which is now under construction and which is expected to open in December 2016]. The existing Ipswich-Ely-Peterborough services, which run every two hours, will also continue to operate. More details concerning the franchise are contained in the Stakeholder Briefing document.
Wednesday 16 September 2015 - The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has launched an Inquiry into Network Rail's CP5 2014-2019 rail investment programme. To assist the Inquiry, the National Audit Office has published a Memorandum which sets out the background to NR's CP5 funding and programme, how issues have come to light, and how the government is responding. The Memorandum states, "Additionally, the Office of Road and Rail has been investigating whether Network Rail is doing everything 'reasonably practicable' to meet its obligations relating to delivery of enhancement projects....' The [ORR's] final conclusion is expected in September 2015."
Wednesday 16 September 2015 - The existing East Midlands franchise, which operates Norwich to Liverpool services, has been extended by the Government until March 2018.
Thursday 10 September 2015 - The Department for Transport has published the Control Period 5 enhancements re-planning exercise: draft terms of reference. This exercise is also known as the 'Hendy Review' - see news item for Thursday 27 August 2015 below. The DfT has also published a letter from the Secretary of State to the Chair of the House of Commons Transport Committee, which includes links to the related Shaw Report and Bowe Review.
Wednesday 9 September 2015 - The presentations given at Govia Thameslink Railway's (GTR) first annual Stakeholders' Conference are available in the Members' section. The presentations contain a large amount of information on a wide variety of topics.
Tuesday 8 September 2015 - The Ely Standard reports that the double track scheme for the Ely to Soham line will not now progress as planned. This section is on the Midlands-Peterborough-Felixstowe route and should not be confused with the separate Ely North Junction project. "Survey work has shown that the complexity of the project is greater than originally thought and therefore the cost estimate has increased significantly." The on-going consultation has been "put on hold" and "will recommence when a revised date for this submission has been set." Network Rail's statement is here.
Thursday 3 September 2015 - The Ely News reports today that the Ely Southern Bypass is on track for completion by the end of 2017. The bypass will permit the closure of Ely Station level crossing. Cambridgeshire County Council's Executive Director for Economy, Transport and Environment, Graham Hughes, says he is "not worried" that the final approval for the new road will fall on Ministers. He says the aim is for "building work to start next spring/summer and for the bypass to be completed by the end of 2017." Neal Darwin, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge, Greater Peterborough LEP (in whose area the whole of the Fen Line falls) is reported as saying the bypass "remained one of the LEP's top priorities."
Thursday 27 August 2015 - Network Rail has published its CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan for June 2015. This states [Page 9] "The Secretary of State has asked Sir Peter Hendy to set out how Network Rail will deliver the CP5 Enhancement Programme in light of deliverability and cost challenges. As announced by the Secretary of Sate, Midland Main Line Electrification (ES0001) and North Trans Pennine Electrification East (LNE001) are now paused and will be re-planned as part of this proposal. The remainder of the projects in this plan are continuing but all are in [the] scope of the re-planning exercise. The re-planning proposals will be presented to the Secretary of Sate in the autumn. It is expected that the impact of the re-planning exercise will be reflected in an updated plan to be published in March 2016."
Saturday 22 August 2015 - "All change at Cambridge train station as ticket office shuts on Tuesday" reports the Cambridge News today. There will be a temporary ticket office opened just to the left of the station doors, whilst the work by Abellio Greater Anglia, which is expected to last about six months, takes place to improve the booking hall and ticket office. When finished, the work will mean more space and less congestion in the station buildings.
Thursday 20 August 2015 - Abellio Greater Anglia has started £500,000 works to upgrade the buildings on the island platform at Ely, reports today's Ely Standard. Work is expected to be completed this Autumn. There will be a new waiting room, shop, toilets and customer service office. Abellio is reported as saying "this investment will transform customer service for rail passengers."
Thursday 20 August 2015 - Today's Cambridge News reports on the green light for the new Cambridge station at Chesterton, reporting that "Network Rail has said it plans on submitting a totally overhauled planning application for the station's car park in the coming weeks." It has been previously reported that permission may be sought to relocate the car park to achieve a better fit in with wider development proposals around the new station. The Cambridge News further reports that there will be "an anticipated 3,000 journeys ... from the station every day."
Wednesday 19 August 2015 - The proposed new £44m Cambridge station has been given the green light by planning authorities today. Network Rail says "building work is set to start this autumn and the new station is anticipated to open in December 2016." It also reports that a decision on the name of the new station, which is located in Chesterton, will be announced later this year. Radio Cambridgeshire coverage is here.
Friday 14 August 2015 - The Cambridge News reports that the planning application for the proposed Cambridge Science Park (Cambridge North) station have been recommended for approval ahead of next Wednesday's Joint Development Control Committee meeting (the site lies partially in the Cambridge City Council area and partially in that administered by South Cambridgeshire District Council). In their report, planning officers have said that the proposals covered by the applications [Cambridge City Council reference number15/0994/FUL and South Cambrigdeshire 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 is here.
Wednesday 29 July 2015 - The Department for Transport is consulting on plans to designate passenger services on the Ely-March-Peterborough line [which runs through Ely North Junction] as a community rail service. This designation would include Manea, March and Whittlesea stations, but would exclude Ely and Peterborough stations; it would also exclude other infrastructure on the route, including track and signalling, and would not apply to freight trains [the line is part of an EU Trans European Network "TENT-T" investment priority corridor]. The Peterborough to Ely community rail service consultation runs until Friday 25 September 2015.
Wednesday 29 July 2015 - Cambridgeshire County Council has today published two studies concerning the case for re-opening the railway between March and Wisbech. The County Council states "For a preferred option of two trains per hour from Wisbech to Cambridge [via March and Ely], the Outline Business Case and GRIP 2 documents show a Benefit to Cost ratio (BCR) of 2.27 to 1, representing high value for money. ... However, without additional work in the Ely area, it is unlikely that this service pattern could be achieved. A fallback option of one train an hour to Cambridge and one train and hour to March would be possible without further work at Ely. This option has a BCR of 1.37 to 1 (representing low value for money) rising to 3.37 to 1 when wider economic benefits are taken into account." Paragraph 5.5.1 of the GRIP 2 report points out that "the main constraint is likely to be at Ely North Junction, where the current layout is heavily utilised by existing services. Network Rail are planning a capacity enhancement of the junction (recently deferred) but it is predicted that most of the new additional capacity will be used by enhanced Great Northern [GTR] Services from King's Lynn via Cambridge, with only one additional path per hour available for new services via March." Paragraph 5.5.1 of the GRIP 2 report continues "This will need further clarification; for this service option [2 tph Wisbech-March-Cambridge] we are assuming that the extra capacity at Ely North is available." Paragraph 10.1 (Summary of Conclusions) of the GRIP 2 report notes that "Pathing constraints at Ely North mean that, under current conditions, only one Wisbech-March-Cambridge service is possible per hour." Table 5.2 (Programme Dependencies) in the Outline Business Case reads "Ely North Junction Timetabling, likely 2015-2016: the redoubling of single leads at Ely North Junction will involve changes to the timetable and associated passenger and freight paths. If appropriate, aspirations of this scheme [i.e. for Wisbech-March-Cambridge services] need to be fed into the timetable modelling." Page ix of the Outline Business Case states "Ely North Junction represents the principal constraint, and has capacity enhancements scheduled during Network Rail Control Period 5 (CP5), covering 2014 to 2019, although this scheme is under review alongside the remainder of the CP5 programme. Even should this scheme [i.e. Ely North Junction upgrade] go ahead, it is unlikely that sufficient capacity would exist to deliver the preferred option (2 tph Wisbech-Cambridge). There are a number of other service enhancement proposals for the area which would, in effect, be competing with the preferred option from this study for the paths which do, or which will, exist on the network. These include two trains per hour (tph) between Norwich and Cambridge, one tph between Ipswich and Peterborough, the committed two tph beyond Ely to King's Lynn [i.e. the contractually committed GTR 2 tph King's Cross-King's Lynn service], freight services between Felixstowe and Nuneaton, and improvements to Birmingham-Stansted Airport frequency."
Tuesday 28 July 2015 - The Lynn News reports on the new hurdles to the introduction of King's Lynn-King's Cross half-hourly services, revealed by Network Rail. The paper says, "Network Rail officials have again said they are committed to completing the Ely project ... during the current spending round, which will be completed in 2019." It continues "the Government's contract with Great Northern, the current franchise operator, requires half-hourly services to run from the Spring of 2017, subject to the completion of the necessary infrastructure works." Referring to a recent meeting with Network Rail, Councillor Brian Long is reported as saying "this work alone [at Ely North] will not be sufficient to allow a half-hourly service ... in addition, level crossings will need upgrading along the line, not just at Ely North, but along the line to Lynn." The Lynn News says "Rail chiefs say they are currently assessing what needs to be done to enable the upgraded service from Lynn to the capital to operate."
Monday 27 July 2015 - Network Rail is leading development work for the East West Rail Consortium, which has today announced that NR studies have identified two most viable potential route corridors for the Central section of East West Rail. These two corridors are: Bedford (South or Central) to Cambridge via Hitchin and Bedford (South or Central) to Cambridge via Sandy. Not part of the announcement, but we consider both of these corridors could offer the potential for a faster, less congested connection between Cambridge and the East Coast Main Line and that there might be the opportunity for quicker King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross journey times in future.
Friday 24 July 2015 - Front page story of today's Eastern Daily Press reports King's Lynn Council Cabinet Member Brian Long speaking about a Councils/LEPs meeting with Network Rail. NR now says Ely North Junction upgrade will not be complete until Autumn 2018. It has also revealed another "hurdle" - an unspecified number of level crossings will need work to allow the half-hourly service as required by the Department for Transport to run. Councillor Long says this is "something that wasn't previously made clear to us." The Council is looking for an early introduction of 8-car trains at peak times and is lobbying for a study "to ascertain what work is needed on the level crossings." Network Rail said the upgrade of Ely North Junction remained "one of its commitments before 2019."
Saturday 18 July 2015 - In its lead Editorial, and referring to Norfolk and Suffolk, today's Eastern Daily Press says, "We applaud the prime minister's warm words for the tourism sector . ... But for tourists who do not want to, or cannot, hire a car, our rail connections are crucial. news that the much-needed investment on the King's Lynn to London line could be delayed, and that all rail projects, including work to speed up the Norwich to London rail service, are under review, undermine the prime minister's rhetoric. It is major projects like these that are key to boosting tourism outside London."
Friday 17 July 2015 - Members have been sent, by post or by email as appropriate,a copy of The Fenman 2015 Issue no. 2 and a copy placed in the Members' section. As usual, copies have also been sent to relevant Ministers, MPs, Councillors, senior Civil Servants, and rail industry decision makers. If you wish your organisation to be considered for inclusion in the distribution list, please send us an email from your organisation's email account.
Thursday 16 July 2015 - East Cambridgeshire District Council today adopted its Corporate Plan 2015-2019. This includes the following in "Our commitment and Actions" - "The Council will complete the feasibility study and funding strategy at Ely and Littleport stations ensuring commuters have sufficient parking" and "An improved Station Gateway in Ely will reduce waiting times for visitors and commuters, increase employment opportunities, provide economic growth, improve customer satisfaction levels and encourage more people to visit the district."
Monday 13 July 2015 - The Ely Southern Bypass road scheme is important as it will permit the closure of the Ely Station level crossing, one of the measures aimed at enhancing rail capacity through the congested Ely area. Lucy Frazer MP, who represents South East Cambridgeshire, met roads Minister Andrew Jones MP today to discuss the Ely Southern Bypass project. Ms Frazer told the Ely News '"Mr Jones made it clear that the DfT did not know of any reason why the upgrade would be delayed" and that work "should go ahead as scheduled."
Saturday 11 July 2015 - North East Cambridgeshire MP, Steven Barclay, comments on the MPs' meeting with rail Minister Claire Perry, saying "I am keen to ensure that the twice hourly service between Kings Lynn and London which will benefit Littleport residents in particular, as well as those from Cambridgeshire, who use Downham Market, begins as scheduled by the end of 2017." He continues, the [Ely North] junction upgrade will also enable more freight to travel by rail and act as a further step forward in the delivery of the Wisbech to Cambridge Science Park rail service."
Thursday 9 July 2015 - Following a meeting between MPs and rail Minister Claire Perry, North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham says, "We were extremely relieved and pleased that the Minister was able to give assurances that the half-hourly services are still on schedule by end of 2017." Cabinet Minister and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss adds, "The DFT confirmed that studies are still ongoing but the minister understands that the delivery of the half-hourly service on the Kings Lynn to London line by end of 2017 is a priority project for me and I will continue to work with my fellow MPs on this.” The full story was issued by the Lynn News at 17.22 today.
Monday 29 June 2015 - "Network Rail insists it is still committed to upgrading the Ely North Junction - however the work may not be completed until 2019" reports the Ely News today. "Network Rail originally hoped to have the junction fully upgraded by the end of 2017 but this week a spokesman said bosses hoped the work would be completed by 2019."
Sunday 28 June 2015 - Ely North Junction makes BBC's 'Sunday Politics' programme today. Presenter Amelia Reynolds interrupts James Cleverly MP to say, "Norwich in 90, the Ely junction - are you going to guarantee these, here and now, guaranteed?" Mr Cleverly replies, "Well, the Secretary of State for Transport has made it clear he is still committed to these, and I will call his feet to the fire on that, but he has made his position clear." The programme can be found here, where it is available for 29 days (the item begins at 41:41).
Friday 26 June 2015 - "Rail service chiefs have insisted they remain committed to a multi-million pound upgrade of the network serving Norfolk, despite a review of the programme.... [Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin's speech] immediately triggered fears over the future of the project to improve the Ely North Junction, a key bottleneck on the route from Lynn to the capital. A review of the project is underway, amid concerns over the potential implications of additional services on three level crossings to the north of the site. The study is expected to be completed this autumn." The Lynn News report continues "But a Network Rail spokesman said today: The intention is to do it in control period 5 (the current programme scheduled for completion in 2019)." The Lynn News article confirms that Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss is to meet Rail Minister Claire Perry next month [July] and stresses that "the project is particularly vital to enable half-hourly trains to run between King's Lynn and London King's Cross, as provided for under the terms of the contract awarded to the current franchise holder Great Northern."
Friday 26 June 2015 - "No more false dawns, now promises must be kept on rail services" is the title of the Leading Article in today's Eastern Daily Press. The main item in today's Comment column concludes with the following words: "Twice-hourly trains from King's Lynn to London, Norwich in 90, and more trains between Norwich and Cambridge were on the agenda for a reason. They must stay there and become a reality as soon as possible."
Friday 26 June 2015 - Radio Station KLFM 96.7 is concerned over progress on the Ely North Junction scheme and broadcasts Patrick McLoughlin's speech here.
Friday 26 June 2015 - Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss MP issues a statement that she is meeting the Minister next month [July] to discuss Ely North Junction. She says "Along with my fellow MPs in the region we are keen to ensure the works progress as quickly as possible. The economic benefits to East Anglia are tremendous and this is the message I will make to the rail minister." North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham has confirmed that the meeting with the Minister, Claire Perry MP, at which he will also be present, will be held in "10 days' time."
Thursday 25 June 2015 - Patrick McLoughlin MP makes an Oral statement to Parliament concerning Network Rail's performance and covers steps the Government is taking with regard to the timing and delivery of investment projects. His speech and the ensuing House of Commons debate is covered in Hansard (columns 1067 to 1080).
Thursday 18 June 2015 - The front page story on today's Eastern Daily Press covers the rapidly growing concern that upgrade works at Ely North Junction could be delayed. The EDP quotes Nick Daubney, Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, as saying "Having already got the news the funding for this work had been approved, I’m bitterly disappointed there could be delays ... Our links to London and Cambridge are essential to the prosperity of King’s Lynn and the surrounding area.” Heather Garrod, President of the West Norfolk Chamber Council, also expresses her organisation's concern about the possible delay. The Eastern Daily Press also contains a very supportive Editorial, lending its voice to the calls for quicker action.
Tuesday 16 June 2015 - Network Rail made a presentation to Cambridge City Council's North Area Committee about the proposed Cambridge Science Park (Cambridge North) station and upgrade works to Chesterton Junction (Fen Road) level crossing this evening.
Monday 15 June 2015 - Business leaders in West Norfolk have written to Network Rail to seek clarity over the Ely North Junction upgrade scheme - they are concerned over reported delays to its implementation. Radio station KLFM 96.7 reports a Department for Transport spokesperson as saying "As part of our long term economic plan this government is committed to improving our railways and Ely North Junction is part of our £38 billion Rail Investment Strategy for the next 5 years. We continue to work with Network Rail and the rail regulator to determine costs and time-scales of the delivery of major rail investment programmes." Anthony Goodrich of King's Lynn Town Centre Partnership speaks to KLFM 96.7 about the importance to the town's economy of two trains an hour between King's Lynn and London here.
Wednesday 10 June 2015 - South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss has today written to Rail Minister Claire Perry seeking a meeting to discuss the progress of infrastructure upgrade works at Ely North Junction. The scheme is one of a shortlist of HLOS "Named Schemes" required by the Secretary of State for Transport to be implemented in Control Period CP5 (2014-2019).
Friday 5 June 2015 - Network Rail has issued a Frequently Asked Questions leaflet covering the Ely to Soham Rail Capacity Enhancement Scheme. The proposed works are on the Ely to Bury St. Edmunds line.
Tuesday 2 June 2015 - The Department for Transport has announced today that the three companies shortlisted as bidders for the East Anglia rail franchise (which includes services to/from Liverpool Street, but not King's Lynn-King's Cross services) are Abellio East Anglia Ltd., First East Anglia Ltd., and National Express East Anglia Trains Ltd. Invitations to Tender are expected to be issued in August.
Thursday 21 May 2015 - Network Rail has submitted revised planning applications for the new "Cambridge Science Park station" at Chesterton; the site lies partially within Cambridge and partially within the South Cambridgeshire District Council area. See Cambridge City Council ref. 15/0994/FUL and South Cambridgeshire District Council ref. S/1236/15/FL .
Sunday 5 April 2015 - The Govia Thameslink franchise agreement execution version, the Govia Thameslink conditions precedent agreement, and the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise train services requirements - including 2 trains per hour King's Lynn-King's Cross services from May 2017 - are published by the Department for Transport together on one page here.
Friday 27 March 2015 - Our Counties Connected – A Rail Prospectus for East Anglia published.
Friday 6 March 2015 Network Rail starts consultation on Ely to Soham rail improvements, their consultation running until Wednesday 22 April 2015. The proposed works are on the Ely to Bury St. Edmunds route.
Thursday 19 February 2015 - The Department for Transport has today published its Prospectus for the East Anglia Rail Franchise (please note that the Govia Thameslink Railway "Great Northern" King's Lynn-King's Cross services are part of the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern franchise). The OJEU Notice for the East Anglia Rail Franchise can be found here.
Thursday 19 February 2015 - David Cameron, the Prime Minister, spoke today at Felixstowe and outlined the Long Term Economic Plan for Eastern England. As part of that announcement, the Timetable for Action - Implementation in the East of England 2015-2030 states the following: "2016 - September 2016 Network Rail Initial Industry Plan for the five years of funding from 2019 onwards will be informed by a Network Rail study looking at the costs and benefits of electrifying the railway between Felixstowe and Birmingham [via Ely] ... government is extending in 2015 the study already underway of the East-West Rail (Bedford to Cambridge) to explore the options for the Eastern section of the line. Specifically the study will consider how East West Rail could connect Oxford with Ipswich and Norwich. The study will also consider the possibility of a new station south of Cambridge at the new Addenbrookes campus, with a report expected in 2016 ... government has committed to additional Local Growth Funding between 2016 and 2021, through a number of Eastern Local Growth Deal expansions, including: £38m for Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership which will include contribution to the construction of a new Ely Southern Bypass [relevant to Ely Station level crossing works] ... 2019 - completion of upgraded railway junctions at Ely and Peterborough and capacity enhancements on the Felixstowe – Birmingham line that will enable both growth in Port of Felixstowe container traffic to be met and growth in Kings Lynn and East Coast main line passenger services ..."
Monday 16 February 2015 - The Network Rail CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan December 2015, published today, states (page 57) "Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement ... Project reference code A001 ...The programme for this scheme is under review update, Network Rail will work with its customers and Department for Transport to achieve an agreed programme of delivery. An update to the delivery plan for this project will be provided as part of the March 2015 update [to the CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan]".
Friday 13 February 2015 - Members have been sent copies of The Fenman 2015 No 1 today, by email or by post, as appropriate. Please ignore any red MailScanner warnings at the bottom of any e-mail from us dated today with the latest issue of The Fenman attached as a pdf file. Some members have apparently received this 'warning'. We are aware of this issue and are working to resolve it. The email and pdf attachment mentioned above is genuine.
Saturday 7 February 2015 - the Association's Committee today ratified FLUA's draft Combined Response to four inter-related consultations (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 draft Combined Response, 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 draft 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 draft 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 draft Combined Response, please send your work email address to Andy Tyler and a copy will be emailed to you.
Tuesday 13 January 2015 - The office of Rail Regulation has written to Network Rail, as part of its quarterly Enhancements Delivery Plan (EDP) change control process, saying: "A001 Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement: [Your] request is to delay the regulated output date for GRIP 3 from December 2014 to May 2016 and the indicative GRIP 4 and 6 completion dates to January 2017 and September 2018 respectively.... Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has objected to this change stating it will impact upon its ability to deliver their franchise commitment of a half hourly service to Kings Lynn from May 2017. You have also not provided written evidence of DfT support for the proposed change.... We do not accept your proposed GRIP 3 milestone as it is not aligned with GTR’s franchise commitments."
Friday 19 December 2014 - It has come to our attention today that Network Rail has issued a consultation document Improving Connectivity which is germane to the current DfT consultation on the East Anglia Rail Franchise. We do not know when this draft report was published; NR's consultation period ends on 31 January 2015.
Tuesday 9 December 2014 - The Department for Transport has today issued a consultation on the East Anglia rail franchise. We will be consulting members on a proposed response to the DfT in due course. Members who wish to make individual comments directly to the DfT should note that the consultation period closes on 16 March 2015.
Tuesday 2 December 2014 - The government has today issued its National Infrastructure Plan, which states "Chesterton Rail Station - as announced by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister the government will provide £44 million between 2014-15 and 2016-17 to build a new rail station at Chesterton, linked to Cambridge Science Park."
Friday 7 November 2014 - Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has today launched a consultation on its proposed December 2015 timetable (i.e. that which will run from the December of next year). Though there are no changes proposed for Great Northern Outer services from December 2015, the consultation document gives background information on the proposed half-hourly King's Lynn-King's Cross service (due to operate from May 2017, following the upgrading of Ely North Junction) and the proposed cross-London Thameslink services to and from Cambridge (due to operate from 2018). GTR, which operates a management contract on behalf of the Government, states "From May 2017, following Network Rail improvements the junction north of Ely, train services between London Kings Cross and Kings Lynn will be increased in frequency to two trains per hour all day (with the exception of when existing freight trains operate on the route). It is proposed to maintain one train per hour which will call all stations north of Cambridge and the second to call at principal stations only." GTR's consultation on the proposed December 2015 timetable closes on Friday 30 January 2015.
Wednesday 5 November 2014 - Network Rail has today issued its Consultative Draft Anglia Route Study. The study identifies a range of choices for funders (such as Government) for Control Period 6 (2019-2024) and beyond. The consultation ends on Tuesday 3 February 2015.
Friday 31 October 2014 - Copies of The Fenman 2014 No 4 and the Notice calling the AGM have been posted/emailed to members today. A copy of the new issue of The Fenman and the AGM Agenda are also available in the members' section. The AGM will be held on Saturday 22 November at King's Lynn and our Guest Speaker will be Larry Heyman of Govia Thameslink Railway (Great Northern). As usual, we have also invited railway management to answer members' questions at the AGM.
Monday 13 October 2014 - Cambridgeshire County Council has granted planning permission for the Ely Southern Bypass.
Thursday 25 September 2014 - The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has decided that Cambridgeshire County Council may go ahead and make the decision on the planning application for the Ely Southern Bypass without further reference to himself. Cambridgeshire County Council now expects to issue its formal approval for the bypass shortly. When built, the bypass will enable the closure of Ely Station level crossing.
Wednesday 24 September 2014 - Stephen Barclay MP has posted an item about the possibility of extending a restored March-Wisbech line to King's Lynn, opening up a direct rail link from King's Lynn to Peterborough and the Midlands.
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 of Transport issues a news story which also links to a video about TSGN and the rail franchising system.
Saturday 24 May 2014 - Govia's new TSGN website outlines benefits to Great Northern - and other routes - arising from the new TSGN franchise, stating "the service from London King’s Cross to King’s Lynn will double to half hourly from May 2017."
Friday 23 May 2014 - The Thameslink Programme website shows the cross-London Thameslink service network proposed from December 2018. King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross services will continue to run into King's Cross and hence are not shown on this diagram.
Friday 23 May 2014 - Department of 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.
Monday 31 March 2014 - The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership submits its growth strategy to government, linking housing, transport and skills. The Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan calls for "a transport network fit for an economically vital high growth area" and includes the provision of a "Kings Lynn to Cambridge and London Kings Cross half hourly frequency" as part of its transport strategy. All six Fen Line stations are within the Enterprise Partnership's area.
Monday 31 March 2014 - Network Rail's CP5 Enhancements Delivery Plan describes Project A001 "Ely North Junction Capacity Improvement" in more detail [page 56]. The objective of the project is to develop "a scheme which improves capacity in the area by developing an operationally flexible junction that can deliver multiple train moves simultaneously." A blockade of 3 weeks is envisaged, with the infrastructure ready for use in May 2017. The Government's specification for 2 London trains per hour (Mondays-Saturdays) to/from King's Lynn from May 2017 is contained in the Minimum Service Specification - Invitation to Tender for the TSGN (Thameslink Southern and Great Northern) franchise [tables ECML1 and ECML2]. The winning bidder, which will take over King's Lynn-King's Cross and other services from September this year, is expected to be announced by the Government in May.
Monday 31 March 2014 - Network Rail's CP5 Delivery Plan for the 2014-2109 period includes an upgrade to Ely North Junction, necessary for two trains per hour to run to and from King's Lynn; speaking to the Lynn News, M.P. Elizabeth Truss welcomes the "really positive news."
Tuesday 18 February 2014 - Department for Transport and FirstGroup announce current First Capital Connect franchise extended until Sunday 14 September 2014, the anticipated start date of the new Thameslink Southern & Great Northern franchise.
Monday 10 February 2014 - Network Rail has raised no objection to ORR's Final Determination of CP5 funding. CP5 covers the 2014-2019 period and the Final Determination includes the upgrading of Ely North Junction. Network Rail will publish its finalised CP5 Delivery Plan in March.
Wednesday 18 December 2013 - Network Rail's Draft CP5 Delivery Plan contains Project A001 and states that: "This project is to develop a scheme which improves capacity in the [Ely] area by allowing parallel moves to/from Kings Lynn and to/from Norwich."
Wednesday 18 December 2013 - subject to detailed conditions, the proposed Cambridge Science Park station was given planning permission today. The Report to the joint planning committee can be found here.
Friday 6 December 2013 - Department for Transport publishes Tech connected prospectus, which states that "plans for a new station at Cambridge's Science Park" - to be located on the Fen Line - are "progressing rapidly."
Thursday 31 October 2013 - ORR publishes Final determination of Network Rail's outputs and funding for 2014-19. Chapter 11, paragraph 9.202 (page 385) states "Freight benefits'... there are many freight benefits accruing from other schemes. [...] Another example is the remodelling of Ely North Junction to provide for forecast freight flows across East Anglia as well as enhanced passenger services between Cambridge and each of King's Lynn and Norwich."
Thursday 3 October 2013 - BBC News screens item showing footage released by British Transport Police of cyclist narrowly escaping death at Waterbeach station automatic half-barrier level crossing on Thursday 12 September.
Thursday 26 September 2013 - the Government's minimum Fen Line service specification from May 2017 (M-F) to include half-hourly King's Cross services, following upgrade work at Ely North Junction.
Thursday 26 September 2013 - Invitation to Tender for Thameslink Southern & Great Northern published, including information about future half-hourly Fen Line services to and from London Kings Cross.
Tuesday 24 September 2013 - Cambridge County Council has submitted a planning application for the proposed Ely Southern bypass which would permit closure of the level crossing at Ely station.
Wednesday 3 July 2013 - Cambridgeshire County Council has submitted a planning application for the proposed Cambridge Science Park station located on the Fen Line.
Wednesday 24 April 2013 - Network Rail has now issued a consultation draft of its London and South East Market Study which includes the King's Cross-King's Lynn Fen Line within its scope.
Tuesday 26 March 2013 - the Secretary of State for Transport announced the government's long-term plans for franchising to Parliament today. The accompanying Fresh Start for Franchising states that Department of 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 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".
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."
Monday 2 June 2012 - Once in a generation - A Rail Prospectus for East Anglia published.
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 16 February 2012 - Corrected and updated: King's Lynn-Cambridge-King's Cross
Issues and opportunities - sketch outline