East West Rail Consortium call on Department for Transport and Greater Anglia to provide services every 30 minutes from Bury St Edmunds to Cambridge and Ipswich
A call for trains to run every 30 minutes from Bury St Edmunds to Cambridge and Ipswich has been backed by businesses and councils.
East West Rail Consortium, a group containing West Suffolk Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, also wants services to extend to Oxford from Suffolk.
Bury’s line, which also includes Kennett, Thurston and Needham Market, currently has one weekday service an hour to Cambridge, one every two hours to Peterborough and three every two hours to Ipswich.
Councillor Lance Stanbury, a Cabinet member on Forest Heath District Council, said: “The improvement is vital for continued growth, prosperity and jobs in West Suffolk.
“The consortium has launched a prospectus, which states how a direct rail link between Ipswich, Norwich and Oxford would unlock £17.5billion for the East Anglian economy.
“West Suffolk would benefit by these improvements, including more frequent services for Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds.
“The ultimate aim for West Suffolk would be a half hourly passenger rail service between Ipswich and Cambridge,”
“The demand is clearly there. We will be using this to lobby for the improvements we need.”
In a statement released yesterday (Tuesday, March 19) the consortium said they would be looking to build on the ‘strong business case’ presented in their prospectus.
This could see meetings held with Greater Anglia, the franchise holder for Bury’s line, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.
“The ultimate aim for West Suffolk would be a half hourly passenger rail service between Ipswich and Cambridge,” a consortium spokesman added.
“In the past ten years station use has increased by 54 per cent at Newmarket and 36 per cent at Bury St Edmunds.
“Half-hourly services are much needed to support growth in both Suffolk and Cambridge, the line already exists, but needs improving to deliver maximum benefits including reducing demand on the already congested A14.”
The Department of Transport is 'exploring' an extension to the East West Rail line to consider Ipswich and Norwich.
A spokesman added: "East West Rail will provide passengers with a transport link that drives forward new housing, jobs and unlocks economic growth.
“We expect to see construction underway that will deliver direct, fast and reliable services from later this year.”