The railway east of Cambridge is extensively used by freight, and passenger services are provided under the Greater Anglia Franchise, operating as ONE (formerly Anglia Railways). However, until 2002, there were no direct passenger trains between Cambridge and Norwich.
A new hourly service was introduced in September 2002 after a successful joint bid by Anglia Railways and the EWR Consortium to the Strategic Rail Authority, and the award of a £9.2 million grant from the Rail Passenger Partnership Fund. The service has proved to be a huge success with almost 600,000 journeys being made each year, with 44% of passengers having previously made their journeys by car. It has also facilitated journeys by rail for people who would not, prior to the introduction of this new service, have been able to make the journey at all. The service is going from strength to strength, and the number of journeys has increased by almost 20% in two years.
In December 2004, the train operator, ONE, introduced an hourly service from Ipswich to Cambridge to reflect the increasing strategic importance of this important rail corridor.