Ely junction rail improvements focus of Parliamentary meeting

Iain Stewart MP, Peter Aldous MP and Daniel Zeichner MP seated in a parliamentary meeting room

(L-R) Iain Stewart MP, Peter Aldous MP and Daniel Zeichner MP

Today saw the formal parliamentary launch of the Keeping Trade on Track report making the case for investment in improvements to Ely rail junction.

Cross-party parliamentarians came together with industry, growth sectors, private sector international freight operators and regional representatives to drive home the huge benefits the scheme would bring nationally, regionally and locally. Hearing the arguments for the scheme were Iain Stewart MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee and Tan Dhesi MP, Shadow Rail Minister.

MPs and Peers heard from Naomi Green of England’s Economic Heartland co-authors of the report, highlighting how this project is truly multi-modal by taking 97,000 HGVs off the roads each year.

Steve Beel set out the net zero growth ambitions of Freeport East building on the Port of Felixstowe’s connections with 200 countries worldwide. On the scheme he said “Currently constraints at Ely add cost and carbon to every container moving in and out of the UK’s Eastern ports.”

James Tierney from Maritime Transport expanded on this, demonstrating the £100s of millions of private investment going into rail freight terminals to facilitate the shift to low-carbon goods movement. But the value of these investments will only be fully achieved if the bottlenecks on the Felixstowe to Midlands & North rail corridor are unblocked.

Finally, Maggie Simpson OBE from the Rail Freight Group stressed the importance of smooth end-to-end trade routes if we want to get back to an export driven economy and retain global investment.

Other attendees spoke of the benefits to passengers of increased capacity through Ely; highlighted the risks of inaction; emphasised the importance of also improving Haughley junction to fully release capacity; and the importance of this project to connections to London Stansted Airport.

We will continue to work with partners to make the case to government for this essential investment for the region.