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 – 24 May to 4 July 2021

Following a successful public consultation round in late 2020 which saw 89% support for the principle of increasing rail capacity through Ely, we are inviting the public to comment on the proposals and options under consideration in the Ely South area. This encompasses part of the Soham branch line and Ely Dock junction, Ely station Stuntney Road bridge, Cutter bridge, Common Muckhill bridge and Kiln Lane level crossing.

Ely South Map update May 21
Ely South area map showing area of interest for Round 2 consultation

How to have your say

Owing to the ongoing Coronavirus situation, we are hosting the second round of public consultation via this project webpage. The link to the consultation materials is above together with the online survey form to formally submit your comments about the proposals being presented to Network Rail.

We are also providing an opportunity for the public to put their questions to our project team via a live webchat facility or by our consultation hotline using the details below:

How to chat to us directlyAvailable between 25 May and 5 June 2021 at the following times
Live webchat facility via
https://phase2.elyareacapacity.com/
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10:00 – 16:00
Wednesday 14:00 – 20:00
Speak to one of the team by calling 0800 160 1780Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 14:00 – 17:00
Wednesday 17:00 – 20:00
Saturday 10:00 – 13:00

Hardcopies of the consultation documents are available upon request by calling Network Rail’s 24/7 helpline number on 03457 11 41 41 or emailing: elyareacapacityenhancements@networkrail.co.uk

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

For more information, or to get in touch with us, please contact us by visiting our contact us page or by calling our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41. You can also follow us on @networkrailANG using the project hashtag #ElyRail