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

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). It 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 Since the first round of consultation, Network Rail has withdrawn its proposals to close crossing C23 Adelaide footpath crossing.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 - 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].

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 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 homes 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 homes 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.

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.

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].

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 2016, Issue 1

PDF The Fenman 2015, Issue 1, 2, 3

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

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

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

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

Some of our history

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

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

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

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