Rail service improvements and disruptions

04.07.12

Detailed manifesto for improved Eastern England rail services

A huge consortium of businesses, politicians, councils and rail users in Eastern England have come up with a ‘manifesto’ to improve rail services in the region over the next 20 years.

They are lobbying not only for the cherished East-West Rail scheme, but also for new track north of Chelmsford to ease congestion; a remodelling of Bow junction; new track at Lea Valley to improve services from London to Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire; and improvements at Ely North junction.

That is alongside broader calls for things like electrification of branch lines, increased capacity at the mainLondonterminus stations, new and modern rolling stock and print-at-home ticketing.

The regional rail manifesto was produced by the consortium of 36 MPs, 28 local authorities, 21 rail user groups and nine business organisations from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

The report says: “The prospectus has been produced at a pivotal time for the rail industry, ahead of the re-letting of the Greater Anglia franchise and the Department for Transport’s High Level Output Specification and Statement of Funds Available for Network Rail’s Control Period Five and during the consultation periods into the combined Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern franchises and the Essex Thameside franchise. It also follows the Government’s command paper on rail, which responded to the McNulty review into the rail industry.”

They say the manifesto’s aims – 31 individual demands – are both realistic and technically feasible, and would boost capacity in a region where both rail and road are struggling to cope.

It says rail eastern England has been under-funded historically and says: “Investment in our rail infrastructure is not an optional luxury but an economic necessity.”

The report’s short-term infrastructure priorities for CP5, from 2014-19, are as follows (route affected in brackets):

Bow Junction remodelling – Opens up capacity/slots at London Liverpool Street (GEML)

Felixstowe to Nuneaton Improvements – Completion of agreed Network Rail upgrades for CP4 and 5 on Felixstowe toNuneaton, including Ipswich Chord, to improve freight capacity and passenger services (FN)

Fully upgrade Ely North junction and related infrastructure – Enables increased frequency of Kings Lynn-Cambridge, Norwich- Cambridge, Ipswich-Peterborough, services to Stansted from Norwich and Peterborough and freight (various routes)

Crossrail development – Delivers capacity enhancements; but ensure local services are not disrupted (various routes)

Incremental Increase in WA capacity and line speeds – Third track long part ofLeaValley to alleviate congestion, boost services toStratford and 100mph running, upgrade of platforms to boost capacity (WA)

Increase GEML Line Speed – Enable all trains to run at 110 mph (GEML)

Building of a third track north of Chelmsford and additional station – New section of track to increase capacity and enable faster train running. New station to support housing growth (GEML)

Freight access to London Gateway – Gospel Oak to Barking electrification and reduction in level crossings (ET)

London station enhancements – Infrastructure improvements to improve station capacity atLondon Liverpool St and Fenchurch St (GEML,WA and ET)

Improvements to cross-regional services and branch lines – Package of incremental improvements including line speed upgrades to cross-regional and individual branch lines plus other projects to improve capacity or frequency for example Cressing Loop, level crossing constraints and track/platform capacity Norwich and Ipswich (Various)

The rolling stock priorities are:

New Intercity Trains – New InterCity standard trains onNorwich – Ipswich – Colchester –London service and as a minimum complete refurbishment of all rolling stock in meantime –InterCity and EMU. Potential to cascade 321s to north – replaced with new rolling stock (GEML and Southend line)

New High Quality Trains –London, Harlow, Bishop Stortford, Cambridgeshire and refurbishment of all trains as a minimum (WA)

Additional rolling stock – To utilise newly extended platforms on Tilbury route (ET)

IEP Trains –  London, King’s Cross –Cambridge, Kings Lynn (GN)

The services/timetabling priorities are:

All routes – As a minimum maintain existing services and stops

Lea Valley via Tottenham Hale to Stratford – Four trains per hour including toAngel Road,NorthumberlandPark and a re-openedLeaBridge station (WA)

Stansted Airport – Earlier arrivals at Stansted from 4am and half hourlyCambridge to Stansted (WA)

Branch Lines – Line by line analysis of incremental service improvements to address key gaps eg Ipswich –Peterborough to hourly (all)

Other priorities on all routes are:

Reliability – Outcome of reliability and punctuality to be higher than 93%

Stations –Refurbished stations with real-time passenger information

Ticketing – Introduce smartcard ticketing and ‘print-at-home’ on all routes

The full document is here: www.newanglia.co.uk/Assets/Files/Content/Rail%20prospectus%20for%20East%20Anglia.pdf

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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