Consultant chosen to develop Eastern Section business case

A scheme to improve passenger rail service frequency between Ipswich/Norwich and Cambridge, and to provide a new direct rail service to Oxford, has moved a step closer with the commissioning of work to develop a business case for the Eastern Section of the East West Rail Main Line.

Consultants Steer have been appointed by the East West Rail Consortium to develop a business case for enhancing rail connectivity.

The business case will be used to demonstrate to the Department for Transport the economic benefit of improving the frequency of passenger rail services between Ipswich/Norwich and Cambridge (known as the Eastern Section of the East West Rail Main Line) and of providing a new direct passenger rail link from Suffolk/Norfolk to Oxford.

If the business case is successful the funding will be used to develop the next stage of the project, which is to assess the rail infrastructure requirements and develop a preferred rail infrastructure option.

Chair of the East West Rail Consortium, Cllr Sue Clark, said: “Though each section of East West Rail brings with it benefits to the communities it serves, the full transformational benefit will only to be realised through the delivery of all three sections to create the East West Main Line. The commissioning of the business case marks another important milestone in making this a reality. It demonstrates the commitment and ambition of Consortium members across the whole region to ensure East West Rail is delivered in full at the earliest opportunity.”

The development of the business case for the Eastern Section is anticipated to take six months, after which it will be submitted to the Department for Transport for consideration to fund the next stage of the rail investment process.

Have your say on regional transport strategy 

East West Rail's transformational importance is identified in England's Economic Heartland's Draft Transport Strategy.

The Sub-national Transport Body covering Swindon across to Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire, is consulting on the strategy until October 6 and residents and businesses are being encouraged to have their say.

The strategy sets out how the transport system will support sustainable economic growth while reaching net zero carbon emissions no later than 2050, including measures to:

•        Work with the area's world-leading innovators to trial and deploy cleaner and smarter connectivity across the region

•        Champion investment in better digital connectivity to increase people's ability to work from home, reducing the need to travel

•        Maximise the potential of East West Rail and use it as the catalyst for transforming public transport across the region

•        Enhance walking and cycling infrastructure and 'shared transport' to improve local connectivity

•        Ensure the region's freight and logistics needs continue to be met, while lowering their environmental impact

The strategy includes an investment pipeline of the strategic transport infrastructure required for the region to meet its ambitions. And it contains details of connectivity studies which will be taken forward by EEH working with its partners, through which future investment requirements will be identified.

Newsletters give updates on Western Section construction

The East West Rail Alliance, which is responsible for delivering East West Rail's Western Section (Oxfordshire through to Bedfordshire), is producing regular e-newsletters giving updates on the project, including details of works in the local area and potential highways disruption.

Filled with high quality photos, maps and videos, the latest edition includes updates on the Bletchley flyover upgrade and the setting up of construction sites.

To subscribe, email:
Transport East completes 100-day plan

Transport East is the Sub-national Transport Body (STB) for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Southend and Thurrock, speaking as a single voice on transport issues.

The partnership comprises transport and district authorities, LEPs and the chambers of commerce, working closely with neighbouring authorities and STBs (including EEH), transport operators, businesses, Network Rail, Highways England and central government.
Following the recruitment in April of its Strategic Director Andrew Summers, the partnership has completed a 100-day plan to boost its capabilities and establish a forward work plan.

The Transport East Forum met on 22 July 2020 to agree its programme, including the development of an inaugural Transport Strategy to 2050. The Strategy will establish Transport East's approach to delivering better economic, social and environmental outcomes through transport, and provide a framework for enhanced transport investment in the sub-national area.
Please see the Transport East website for more information.
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East West Rail Consortium · East West Rail Consortium · Care of Buckinghamshire County Council · Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 1UA · United Kingdom

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