Great Eastern Rail Campaign
East Anglia needs a high-quality, world-class rail service commuters and businesses in the region deserve – that is why New Anglia LEP launched the Great Eastern Rail Campaign.
The Campaign gained strong momentum since its launch in Summer 2014. Over 100 of the region’s most senior business and education leaders representing more than 111,000 employees and students pledged their support and more than 1,600 commuters and rail users joined the Campaign online.
Thank you to all of you who signed up to the Campaign
See the business and education leaders and stakeholders who supported the Campaign here.
In November 2014 the Great Eastern Rail Report was handed to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chancellor George Osborne outlining the strong economic and business case for investment. The Report called for:
- Investment of £476m in the main line including infrastructure improvement
- New rolling stock to be included in the new franchise tender to be announced in August 2015
- Achieve London to Chelmsford in 25 minutes, Colchester in 40 minutes, Ipswich in 60 minutes, Norwich in 90 minutes
In return the investment will deliver:
- £4.5bn economic benefits
- £1.3bn of capital investment along the line
- Journey time savings of £9m annually
- 48,000 jobs along the line and over 3,000 full-time construction jobs
- £9.50 return for every £1 invested
Read the Great Eastern Rail Report here.
On December 2, the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin announced that the Government will support the key recommendations of the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) Taskforce’s report.
Patrick McLoughlin said “I am very grateful to the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce and the ‘Norwich in Ninety’ campaign for their analysis of what needs to be done to help deliver world-class rail services for East Anglia, including better infrastructure and state-of the-art rolling stock. I am delighted to say we are going to support the key recommendations of the Taskforce report.
“This government is sending a clear signal to prospective bidders for the next franchise that they will need to show how they will build a better rail network for East Anglia and make Norwich in Ninety a reality.”
Read the Department for Transport news story here.
Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia LEP and co-chair of GEML Taskforce said, “This is a massive achievement for our rail campaign and a great vote of confidence in the future of our region.
“The voices of many thousands of passengers and business, education and stakeholder leaders across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have been heard loud and clear.
“This is the best result we have ever had for the Great Eastern Main Line and it is all done to the power of effective collaboration with passengers, businesses, local authorities, MPs and education leaders, working together to put a compelling case across. I would like to thank them all for their fantastic efforts throughout the year.
“The priority now is to make sure that we have the momentum and that passengers begin to see improvements to the standard of service as soon as possible.
“Our Taskforce will continue its hugely valuable work to ensure that the investments and improvements are delivered on time and to the specifications we outlined. We will be working closely with everyone involved in making this happen.”
In June, the Department for Transport announced the three companies who will be bidding for the new franchise. They are Abellio East Anglia, in partnership with Stagecoach, First East Anglia and National Express East Anglia.
The train companies will now submit their bids to government by August with the expectation that they will be innovative in their approach to achieving the recommendations of the Great Eastern Rail Report. The contract winner will be announced by Government in June 2016 with the new franchise starting in October 2016.
The Taskforce has written to the new chairman of Network Rail and the Transport Secretary to ask for renewed assurance that improvements to the main line will be delivered as promised. It follows Patrick Mcloughlin’s statement on Network Rail’s performance and government plans to ‘pause’ improvements on some routes. In his statement, Patrick Mcloughlin’s re-committed to deliver “modern, faster trains for Norwich and Ipswich” and the Chancellor’s Summer Budget also reiterated the government’s commitment to deliver “Norwich in 90 and Ipswich in 60 rail plans.”
In September, Department for Transport published the invitation to tender for the Greater Anglia franchise – setting out the specification for the next East Anglia rail franchise. Passengers will be able to travel from London to ‘Norwich in 90′ and Ipswich in 60’ when the new franchise starts in October 2016. The contract winner will also be required to bring modern, state of the art trains, with the expectation that they will be new. The full invitation to tender can be read on the Government’s website here.
We will continue to update the website on the work of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce.
History of the Taskforce
Visiting Norfolk in 2013, Chancellor George Osborne said the government wanted to support East Anglia’s growing economy and set up the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce to define how we could have a faster, better journey between Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.
The Taskforce meets every two months and is co-chaired by Mark Pendlington and Chloe Smith. Ben Gummer MP and Simon Burns represent stakeholders in Suffolk and Essex and David Burch from Essex Chamber of Commerce represents the business community. Government and industry experts from the Department for Transport and Network Rail also support the Taskforce.
Read the Rail Prospectus for East Anglia which sets out the priorities for the region’s railway system.
Project Manager for the Taskforce