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Ely area capacity enhancement

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 hourProposed* (off peak) service uplift via Ely
per hour
PASSENGERPASSENGER
1 x London – King's Lynn2 x London – King's Lynn
1 x Norwich – Liverpool1 x Norwich – Liverpool
1 x Birmingham – Stansted1 x Birmingham – Stansted
0.5 x Ipswich – Peterborough1 x Ipswich – Peterborough
1 x Norwich – Stansted1 x Norwich – Stansted (off peak only) or Cambridge (peak only)
1 x NEW SERVICE**
FREIGHTFREIGHT
1 x Felixstowe – West Midlands and the North2 x Felixstowe – West Midlands and the North
1 x flexible freight service1 x flexible freight service

* Subject to change
** Additional service to be confirmed

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 

We have run several public consultations to seek feedback from the public and stakeholders on options presented where changes to the rail infrastructure would be needed to increase capacity. The consultations were:

  • Round 1 consultation 21 September to 1 November 2020
  • Round 2 (part 1) consultation 24 May to 4 July 2021
  • Round 2 (part 2) consultation 15 October to 28 November 2021

The consultation materials can be provided electronically upon request using the contact details below.

Subject to securing further funding, the results of these consultations are expected to be included as part of a future Round 3 public consultation which would set out the preferred options selected to take forward to the consent stage.

Funding and consent

In 2018, a £9.3 million funding package was provided to Network Rail by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Strategic Freight Network to understand the scale of the challenge to increase capacity through Ely. The funding enabled us to develop the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) to the Department for Transport (DfT) early 2020 to apply for the next stage of funding.

Following submission of the SOBC, Network Rail secured £13.1m funding from the DfT in autumn 2020 to develop design options and hold public consultations on those options. The funding also allowed for development of the Outline Business Case (OBC) to progress to the next stage of design.

The OBC was submitted to the DfT at the end of March 2022 to seek the funding for the next stage of the design process. Future funding decisions on the EACE programme will be made by the Department for Transport following the Rail Networks Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP).

Subject to successfully securing funding for the next phase of design, a Round 3 consultation would be planned followed by submission of a Transport and Works Act Order to seek powers to acquire land, and rights over land as well as powers to construct, operate and maintain the associated railway infrastructure.

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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