National Express East Anglia (NXEA) will set out a new vision for the Norwich to London Liverpool Street mainline in a presentation by Managing Director Andrew Chivers at this year’s Shaping Norfolk’s Future conference in Norwich on 20 November. Mr Chivers will propose three key aspirations as part of a proactive strategy to deliver a better service for customers on this route. These are:
- Quicker journey times with a fastest Norwich to London service of 1 hour 30 minutes
- New intercity trains offering a high quality travelling environment
- Further improvements to the railway infrastructure (e.g. track, signalling)
Earlier this year National Express led the way by working closely with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Network Rail to identify ways of developing plans to drive future service enhancements on the route. A meeting was held with the then Rail Minster Lord Adonis (now Secretary of State for Transport) where NXEA and local stakeholders put the case for further upgrades to the line. NXEA is continuing to build support for this vision and the development of a strong, unified alliance of regional stakeholders based along the Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester – London line, and the compilation of a compelling business case to help secure the substantial investment to deliver major upgrades to train services and the railway infrastructure, are seen as fundamental to the success of a plan to upgrade the line.
Organisations including Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex County Councils, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), Regional Cities East, Shaping Norfolk’s Future and the Haven Gateway Partnership are working together to help create further momentum for such a plan. The next steps are to illustrate the priority the regional stakeholder community places on such a project; to gather the appropriate economic evidence beginning with an EEDA led study on the regional benefits, and to identify the opportunities and constraints in upgrading trains and infrastructure.
Mr Chivers will explain that with a number of key rail industry and transport funding programmes to be finalised over the next two years, a ‘window of opportunity’ now exists to make the case for further investment, with a realistic time frame for the delivery of step-change improvements during the period 2014 – 2019, as current funding plans for both the existing franchise and Network Rail up to 2014 are already in place. In the shorter term, NXEA is developing plans for additional seats and some improved journey times in a new ‘Service Improvement Plan’ with further details to be announced next month.
Commenting on NXEA’s proposed future strategy for the Norwich – London line, Andrew Chivers said:“We’re pleased to take the lead in proposing a positive future strategy for the Norwich – Ipswich – Colchester - London mainline. We encourage everyone with a shared interest in the development and success of the route to work with us as part of a unified regional alliance, to help assemble a compelling case for future major investment in the route. We are committed to playing a leading role in delivering a faster and even higher quality intercity service on the line in the future.”
Notes to Editors
NXEA Managing Director Andrew Chivers will present a new vision for the Norwich to London Liverpool Street mainline at the Shaping Norfolk’s Future Conference in Norwich on 20 November, including setting out the benefits such a plan would bring to the line throughout the communities of Norfolk, Suffolk and North Essex.