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The railway through Ely is a vital part of the rail network that includes a busy junction where five railway lines converge and is currently operating at full capacity, limiting the opportunity for growth of important routes for passenger and cross-country freight services.

Aerial view of railway line through Ely, looking south
Railway line through Ely (looking south)

The Ely area capacity enhancement (EACE) programme is a proposal to upgrade the railway to allow more trains to run through Ely bringing better connectivity and reliability for passenger services while meeting the demand for more rail freight between the Port of Felixstowe the West Midlands and the north to support sustainable, long-term economic growth. 

Benefits

The aspiration of the EACE programme is to provide additional capacity through Ely which can facilitate a combination of additional passenger and freight services from the current off peak 6.5 trains per hour (tph) in each directionto 10tph off peak in each direction.

Ely area capacity programme overview
Ely area capacity enhancement PDF download

Potential services benefits

Current 2019 baseline (off peak) services via Ely per hour:

PASSENGER

  • 1 x London – King's Lynn
  • 1 x Norwich – Liverpool
  • 1 x Birmingham – Stansted
  • 0.5 x Ipswich – Peterborough
  • 1 x Norwich – Stansted

Proposed* (off peak) service uplift via Ely per hour:

PASSENGER

  • 2 x London – King's Lynn
  • 1 x Norwich – Liverpool
  • 1 x Birmingham – Stansted
  • 1 x Ipswich – Peterborough
  • 1 x Norwich – Stansted (off peak only) or Cambridge (peak only)
  • 1 x NEW SERVICE**

FREIGHT

  • 1 x Felixstowe – West Midlands and the North
  • 1 x flexible freight service

* Subject to change
** Additional service to be confirmed

FREIGHT

  • 2 x Felixstowe – West Midlands and the North
  • 1 x flexible freight service

With rail freight demand growing, increasing the capacity of the rail network will support a shift from road to rail thereby providing a faster, greener, safer and more efficient way of transporting goods across the country; helping to remove lorries from the roads and further reduce pollution and congestion.

Additional capacity for passenger services will improve connectivity to important destinations in the area, supporting investment in communities and providing more reliable and sustainable alternatives for business and leisure travel for long term economic growth.

Public Consultation: Round 2 (part 2) – 18 October to 28 November 2021 

Following two successful public consultation rounds in late 2020 and spring 2021 which saw 89% and 76% support respectively for the principle of increasing rail capacity through Ely, we are now inviting the public to comment on the proposals and options under consideration across the wider Ely area.  

This consultation will include:  

  • Proposals to remodel the track layout at Ely North junction  
  • Options for level crossings at Queen Adelaide, Stonea, Burgess Drove (Waterbeach) and Well Engine foot crossing.  
  • Proposals to upgrade other 15 level crossings across the wider area 

Details of these proposals and options will be available from Monday 18 October.  

How to have your say 

The link to the consultation materials will go live on this webpage from Monday 18 October 2021.  

We want your feedback to help us select the preferred options to take  forward. Despite the easing of COVID 19 restrictions we are continuing to prioritise the digital publication of consultation materials to minimise the risk of COVID to the public.  

You can submit your feedback by completing our online survey. 

There’ll also be an opportunity for you to put your questions to our team via our live webchat facility at specific times during the consultation period below.  

The dedicated consultation phone line (0800 160 1780) and webchat will be available between 18 October to 30 October 2021 on the following days in the first two weeks of the consultation.  

How to chat to us directly Available between 18 October and 30 October 2021 on the following days and times
Live webchat facility Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00 – 16:00

Wednesday 14:00 – 20:00
Speak to one of the team by calling 0800 160 1780 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 14:00 – 17:00

Wednesday 17:00 – 20:00

Saturday 10:00 – 13:00

Funding and consent

Network Rail has secured £13.1m funding from the Department for Transport and £9.3m funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Strategic Freight Network to understand the scale of the challenge to increase capacity through Ely and progress early design options for public consultation.

Further design and development of the EACE programme, including future consultation events later 2022, and authorisation will be subject to future funding decisions by the Department for Transport following the Rail Networks Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) process.

In order to realise the benefits of increased capacity, Network Rail will need to seek powers under the Transport and Works Act (TWA) to acquire land and rights over land, as well as powers to construct, operate and maintain the associated railway infrastructure.

Subject to securing funding, a TWA order application could be submitted at the end of 2022 following the completion of the public consultation process and the selection of a preferred option to take forward.

Contact us

Email: ElyAreaCapacityEnhancements@networkrail.co.uk 

Follow us on Twitter: @NetworkRailANG using the hashtag #ElyRail 

You can also call Network Rail’s general national helpline on 03457 11 41 41 with any general questions or to obtain a hard copy of the consultation materials. 

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