Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Four-County, Cross-Party Alliance to Launch East Anglian Rail Prospectus


MP Julian Huppert will join MPs from across East Anglia,  on Monday 2nd July,  to lead a cross party, multi-agency alliance from four counties as they launch the East Anglian Rail Prospectus.

The Prospectus presents the strategic and economic case for long-term investment to improve the region’s rail network. It has been co-authored by a multi-agency group including regional MPs, Local Enterprise Partnerships, County Councils, Rail Passenger Groups and Train Operating Companies.

The MPs will be joined at the launch by the region’s MPs, representatives from Local Enterprise Partnerships, and Greater Anglia, Train Operating Companies and local authorities.

The launch will mark the start of a concerted campaign to make the strongest possible case for improvements to be made to the region’s rail network.

Once in a generation - A rail prospectus for East Anglia is available as a PDF (via Google Docs) by clicking here.

Julian said:

“Our region is a critical driver of jobs, growth and high-tech innovation - but our rail system is outdated, unreliable and overcrowded. High-speed, efficient rail travel is working effectively across Europe; it is time we caught up. This prospectus gives us the opportunity to change rail travel in East Anglia, not only for the people who live and work here but for those looking to invest here.

 “Reliable and efficient rail travel and rail freight expansion are critical if we are to unlock East Anglia’s true potential. With a fast growing population, if we fail to invest in our railways we risk stifling our region’s economy, jeopardising jobs and crippling businesses. It’s not a risk we can afford to take.”

The call for the improvements includes:
·         Improved infrastructure
·         Higher quality rolling stock
·         Increased reliability
·         Faster journey times

LEPs including New Anglia have commissioned detailed technical analysis of the region’s economy and rail infrastructure being for the East Anglian Rail Prospectus, which will now be put to Ministers at the Department for Transport.

The launch will be followed on Tuesday 3rd July by a Westminster Hall Debate on East Anglian rail led by Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, and culminates in a presentation of the Prospectus to the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening on Wednesday 4th July.

Chloe Smith MP for Norwich North (Norfolk) comments:

"This prospectus shows four counties working together to try to achieve something big. East Anglia's rail needs long term improvement and we make reasonable asks.

"We think we can secure improvements over the long term, starting through this united front. It is a once in a generation chance to make the case and make it big.

"We are asking for a fair deal for East Anglian rail. The items in this prospectus will help our economy and all passengers in Norwich, Norfolk and the East, over the next 20 years.

"We want the department for Transport, Network Rail and bidders for future franchises to sit up and listen to our passengers, and to give us now the framework we need for the future.

"We are passionate about gaining investment into East Anglia."

Elizabeth Truss MP for South West Norfolk said:

“‘Infrastructure is key to the future prosperity of the British economy. Investment in our rail networks will put the UK on the right tracks for growth and job creation. Projects like the Ely North Upgrade will enable a twice hourly service from King’s Lynn to King’s Cross, open up capacity on the Norwich to Cambridge line, and more frequent services from Ipswich to Peterborough. It will sustain rail freight on three local routes (Felixstowe-Nuneaton, Ipswich-Peterborough, and Norwich-Cambridge) as well as linking the high growth innovation clusters in Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich. ”

George Freeman MP for Mid-Norfolk comments:

“With Cambridge better linked to Norwich and Ipswich, at the heart of the Eastern Region economy, we have the potential for the whole region  to be an innovation ‘cluster’ driving the UK’s economic recovery with a wave of high growth businesses and high quality local jobs. Our area can deliver a new model of ‘rebalanced’ economic growth led from the regions and financed by the City, rather than the other way around.  But we will never build a modern 21st century economy  on 19th century infrastructure;  fast rail links between our cities and the City, airports like Stansted and Norwich and innovation hubs are essential to an innovation economy.”

Ben Gummer MP for Ipswich (Suffolk) said:

“This is a very important moment for the future of Ipswich and Suffolk. The investment outlined in this document is critical to our future growth. Now we need to make it happen”

Therese Coffey MP for Suffolk Coastal comments:

“Investing in East Anglia will benefit residents locally and the economy nationally. Connecting our economic hubs, moving freight onto rail and improving our branch line service alongside better ticketing, new trains and smarter stations will make a huge difference to people in Suffolk.”

Priti Patel MP for Witham (Essex) comments:

“Essex is England’s engine of economic growth and it is vital that the rail services local businesses and commuters rely upon are made fit for the twenty-first century. Increasing rail capacity is vital to meet the demands of a growing population but this prospectus also outlines a wide package of improvements to customer service. This includes the introduction of more reliable services, refurbished stations and new rolling stock with better refreshment and wi-fi facilities.

“Each year the Government and rail operating company profits from the high fares commuters in Essex pay and it is about time passengers received some investment back in return.”

Julian Huppert MP for Cambridge said:

“Our region is a critical driver of jobs, growth and high-tech innovation - but our rail system is outdated, unreliable and overcrowded. High-speed, efficient rail travel is working effectively across Europe; it is time we caught up. This prospectus gives us the opportunity to change rail travel in East Anglia, not only for the people who live and work here but for those looking to invest here.

 “Reliable and efficient rail travel and rail freight expansion are critical if we are to unlock East Anglia’s true potential. With a fast growing population, if we fail to invest in our railways we risk stifling our region’s economy, jeopardising jobs and crippling businesses. It’s not a risk we can afford to take.”