Chair of the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) Taskforce, Priti Patel MP, has pressed stakeholders and the Government today for significant rail investment in the Anglia region to upgrade infrastructure and improve the reliability of services for passengers.
The Taskforce has moved into a critical phase of data gathering in order to update the business case for strategic investment in the GEML which will be presented to the Government.
Speaking after the meeting, the Witham and Stanway MP, who became Chair of the Taskforce in February 2018, said:
“The Taskforce is now working through a detailed process of data and evidence gathering prior to submitting the outline business case to the Department of Transport. The Department of Transport has stipulated the processes we must follow and also how we must gather critical data that looks at the long term changes to the region including population and housing growth.
“By working with the Department of Transport and our stakeholders we are seeking to present a business case that will address many of the capacity and reliability issues that affect the GEML.
“GEML commuters pay some of the highest rail fares in the country and the fares increase in the New Year is adding further pressure on their pay packets. Commuters in this region have been subsiding other national rail routes and it is time they see this money coming back to our region through these essential infrastructure upgrades.
“The Taskforce was successful in influencing the new Greater Anglia franchise and new rolling stock will be delivered along the main line from 2019/20. However, we need upgrades to our local infrastructure to deliver the full potential of these new trains and improve the reliability of services for our passengers.
“The Taskforce will continue to gather and analyse data to inform our business case and ensure that we are putting forward a robust and positive case to the Government to secure this investment for our region.
“Our objective is to hold a stakeholder conference in December where we can start to present the details of our outline business case and work with all partners to ensure that we come together to make the strongest possible case to the Department of Transport.”
More information about the work Ms Patel is doing with the Taskforce can be found online.