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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 a successful public consultation round in spring 2021 which saw 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 for Ely North junction and level crossings across the wider Ely area.

How to have your say 

This consultation includes:

  • 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

We want your feedback to help us select the preferred options to take forward. You can submit your feedback by completing our online survey using the link above.

We are continuing to prioritise the digital publication of consultation materials to minimise the risk of COVID to the public, though hardcopies are available upon request.

There’ll 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

Public Events

As part of the public consultation, we have decided to hold local events at the Queen Adelaide Village Hall to provide an opportunity to put questions to Network Rail’s Ely project team. The dates and times of the events are:

  • Tuesday 2 November (1pm – 7pm)
  • Thursday 4 November (1pm – 7pm)
  • Tuesday 9 November (1pm – 7pm)
  • Thursday 11 November (1pm – 7pm)

The venue’s address is Queen Adelaide Village Hall, 25, Ely Road, Queen Adelaide, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4TZ.

To book a slot at one of the events please call 0800 048 7612 or email elyareacapacityenhancements@networkrail.co.uk.

We are conscious that for many residents, there is a still a concern about the transmission of COVID-19. To minimise the risks of transmission of the virus, we will run an appointment booking system for the public to book a half hour slot to speak to our representatives. This will ensure that numbers of visitors within the venue are controlled to minimise the risk of transmission and to maintain a comfortable distance between groups/individuals. Face masks are encouraged to be worn inside the venue unless exemptions apply.

Appointments will be secured on a first come first served based. Booking slots will be available from 1pm with the last half booking slot on each day will be from 6:30pm. A maximum of four people is allowed per booking slot. To avoid disappointment, please ensure that you have an appointment booked before attending the venue.

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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