Greater Anglia share likelihood of East West Rail Consortium’s proposal
Creating a train line capable of providing half-hourly links to Cambridge from Bury St Edmunds would require ‘critical investment’, Greater Anglia has said.
The franchise holder has responded to East West Rail Consortium last week announcing they would push for the investment, as part of their ‘prospectus for growth’.
At present Bury passengers have a service every hour to Cambridge from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays this reduces to once every two hours.
The plan for more trains is held back by single track sections of the line from Newmarket to Cambridge, and also at Haughley Junction near Stowmarket.
A Greater Anglia statement read: “In the longer term we are keen to work with stakeholders to bring in extra services between Ipswich and Cambridge.
“However, these services depend on two critical investments before they can happen – additional infrastructure and additional trains.
“An extra track would be needed between Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge to enable a more frequent service - currently there is only one track. At the moment there is no project or funding in place for Network Rail to deliver such an upgrade.”
The statement continued: “An additional service would also require more trains to be used, so a funded and approved business case would need to be prepared to secure the necessary investment.
“This would also require wider stakeholder support as additional services would cost more to operate than they would generate in revenue – though clearly they have a wider social, economic and environmental benefit.”
East West Rail Consortium, which includes members from local businesses as well as West Suffolk Council, has committed to lobbying the government for funding.
The group will also meet with Greater Anglia and the Department for Transport to discuss options.
This is in addition to the group pressing for the delivery of East West Rail, which is a new line set to link Cambridge and Oxford.
The Department for Transport has said further options for the Eastern Section of East West Rail are still being explored, which could potentially see the line extend from Cambridge to Norwich, Ipswich and beyond.