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Anglia Route Study – on the right tracks

24 March 2016

Essex County Council has welcomed the long awaited publication of Network Rail’s Anglia Route Study[1] that will lead to improvements to rail journeys for passengers, businesses and commuters.

The Council has welcomed the fact that the study acknowledges the aspiration to improve journey times on the Great Eastern Main Line, improving services from Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford and other towns into London and will work with Network Rail and the new train operator to ensure that Essex rail users benefit from these improvements.

The Council has also expressed disappointment that some schemes identified for delivery have slipped and will not now be delivered until later.  It is particularly disappointing that the Bow Junction Remodelling scheme will not now be completed to coincide with the opening of Crossrail.

The provision of a passing loop north of Witham will improve journey times and add capacity on the Great Eastern Mainline, although we will be also be discussing options available at Beaulieu Park with Network Rail.

Journey times to Stansted airport only receiving a two minute improvement in journey times is another area of concern. The plans 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 Council has suggested short term improvements that could have delivered a significant improvements in this area.

The study predicts very significant growth in demand for rail travel across Essex and Network Rail is being urged by the Council to fund the development of its proposals so that they are ready for construction before overcrowding affects confidence in the local economy.

Cllr Rodney Bass, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said “We have worked closely with Network Rail to identify improvements across the Anglia Route and look forward to ongoing collaboration to develop evidence bases for specific options for investment.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said “This study illustrates the importance of Essex to the UK economy and the improvements specified will help boost economic growth. The planned improvements will reduce journey times and ease congestion across the network for all passengers. We will be working with Network Rail to investigate what can be done to further improve journey times to Stansted.”