A new Case for Investment in the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML), which runs from London Liverpool Street through Essex and Suffolk to Norwich, has been presented to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.
The business case, which is supported by MPs, business leaders and politicians from Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, has been put together by the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce.
Taskforce Chair, Giles Watling MP for Clacton, met Rishi Sunak to hand deliver a copy of the prospectus and discuss the need for investment in the rail line.
Copies were handed to Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport, in May.
It calls for a range of key rail improvements including:
- Bow junction remodelling and infrastructure improvements.
- Improved signalling between Shenfield and Colchester.
- Line speed improvements to give hourly 90-minute services between London and Norwich and benefits along the line, such as faster journeys to Colchester/Ipswich.
The improvements could generate up to £9.3bn in economic benefits, kick start tens of thousands of jobs along the route and create more than 4,000 construction jobs while the improvements are made.
Mr Watling said: “I’m pleased to have been able to present this new Case for Investment directly to the Chancellor. I highlighted that investment is vital for the levelling up of the East and it is needed to ensure the region can realise the full customer and economic benefits of its new trains.
“Passengers, businesses and education establishments across the region are demanding – and deserve – a faster and more reliable service.
The Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce was established in 2013 and brings together the region’s MPs, local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Chambers of Commerce and local businesses, with support from Greater Anglia and Network Rail. Since then, a number of improvements have been made, including the new £1.4bn Greater Anglia train fleet, which is now being rolled out across the network.
Those trains are already helping to deliver performance improvements, but investment in the rail infrastructure is needed to consolidate those gains, achieve further increases in service reliability and resilience, and enable faster services and reduced journey times.
The Case for Investment in numbers:
- Delivering the Great Eastern Main Line package of improvements could generate up to £9.3bn in economic benefits once the wider agglomeration and productivity benefits are included.
- Further research has shown the investment could also unlock an additional £1.3bn of capital investment along the route
- A total of 4,150 temporary construction jobs will be created by investing and improving the GEML.
- In addition, the package of improvements has the potential to create 5,100 new jobs in Norwich, 5,400 jobs in Ipswich, 10,000 jobs in Colchester, 8,400 jobs in Chelmsford and 3,700 new jobs in Southend.
- The financial benefit of journey time savings is estimated at £6m annually. Over a 30-year period, this equates to total journey time savings of £179m.