EU’s £3.8m funding grant to free up ‘critical bottleneck’

Elizabeth Truss MP'New picture April 2011
Elizabeth Truss MP'New picture April 2011

HOPES of improved rail links for Brandon have been boosted by news of a multi-million pound grant to ease a ‘critical bottleneck’.

MPs and councillors are delighted after the EU pledged £3.8 million to the Ely North scheme.

The scheme is expected to cost up to £25 million and will see improvements to freight routes to the east of Ely station, designed to free up passenger corridors and take lorries off the road.

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said the work would have massive knock-on effects for Brandon.

“Improving the Ely North junction will allow a twice hourly train service to Cambridge and Norwich.

“These are some of the fastest growth areas in the UK and linking them to Brandon will bring huge benefits for the town,” he said.

The EU funding was gained after a Department for Transport-led bid was made alongside Network Rail.

MPs from the area also pressed Transport Secretary Justine Greening, in a letter last month.

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, said: “This reinforces the message that I have been making to the Department for Transport, that investment in Ely North will drive growth and generate economic prosperity to the region.”

Eddie Stewart, Forest Heath councillor for Brandon East, said the news was especially welcome and hoped it would be a catalyst to funding for Brandon train station.

The project’s grant is a slice of an overall funding pot of £100 million provided by the EU to improve trans-European transport networks.

A vote to confirm the plans was held yesterday.