The East West Rail Consortium has submitted its business case for an eastern extension of the Oxford to Cambrige route to Ipswich and Norwich.
The consortium claims better rail links between Ipswich, Norwich and Oxford would unlock £17.5bn for the East Anglian economy.
The western section of the East West Rail line between Oxford and Bedford is currently under construction, while the central section from Bedford to Cambridge is currently at the public consultation stage with five route options announced last month.
The eastern section of the line would upgrade existing routes between Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich. The business case concludes that “there is significant scope and demand for more frequent services and better rail connectivity”.
East West Rail map
“Despite significant growth from the advent of hourly services in the last 20 years on both the Ipswich to Cambridge and on Norwich and Cambridge routes, additional growth is constrained by train capacity and infrastructure limitations,” it says.
“New trains on Greater Anglia services will provide some additional capacity, but to realise the full potential of the lines requires increased frequency which is dependent on infrastructure upgrades and additional trains (as well as the associated funding to deliver both of those outcomes).
“East-West rail travel is restricted to shorter distance journeys over the existing rail links, as longer-distance trips experience high journey times.”
The report also calls for the line to allow for a direct freight link between Felixstowe and south west England.
East West Rail Consortium chairman Mark Shaw said: “East West Rail will transform the economy and boost sustainable travel options across a large swathe of the country.
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