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Great Eastern rail campaign pushes for £476M investment

Campaigners for an upgrade of the Great Eastern Mail Line have published a report claiming a £476M investment would boost the economy of the region by almost 10 times that figure.

A report will be handed to the Treasury today by co-chairs Mark Pendlington, chairman of the New Anglia LEP, and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith. They hope to persuade Chancellor George Osborne to include a pledge on the investment in next month’s Autumn Statement.

They are calling for a £476M investment in the Great Eastern Main Line to allow trains to regularly travel from London to Norwich in 90 minutes. This would give a journey time to Ipswich of 60 minutes and a journey time to Colchester of 40 minutes.

The money would be spent on improving the track over the next five years – including the installation of a new passing loop near Chelmsford to ease congestion problems.

The figure does not include the cost of new trains – and the campaigners want the Chancellor to ensure new trains would be introduced as part of the new franchise for the region which is due to start in October 2016.

The Government has recently given current franchise owner Abellio a two-year extension on condition that its fleet of carriages is refurbished.

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