The railway east of Cambridge is extensively used by freight as well as providing passenger services. There were no direct passenger trains between Cambridge and Norwich until an hourly service was introduced in September 2002. This was the result of a successful joint bid by Anglia Railways and the East West Rail Consortium to the Strategic Rail Authority and the award of a £9.2m grant from the Rail Passenger Partnership Fund.
In December 2004 an hourly service from Ipswich to Cambridge was introduced, reflecting the increasing strategic importance of this important rail corridor.
The railway for East West Rail services east of Cambridge to East Anglia and the east coast ports is also being reviewed as part of the work being undertaken by Network Rail to identify how the rail infrastructure may best deliver the train services that will unlock the greatest potential benefits.
Update 1st November 2016
The East West Rail Consortium awarded a contract to Atkins Consultants on 31 October to deliver a Conditional Output Statement (COS) regarding the potential enhancements to the existing rail links between Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich.
The railway infrastructure between from Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge is already in place, however, the routes are potentially underused. Sections of single track restricts performance and capacity. The potential for the Eastern Section would be to double track the line through Dullingham and Newmarket.
This study is the first step of the long term planning process to identify future rail enhancement schemes as options for investment and delivery.
The East West Rail overall EWR rail link is being planned in three distinct phases: the Eastern Section between Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge; the Central Section between Cambridge and Bedford, and the Western Section between the Bedford and Oxford.
The final conclusions from the study output are expected to be completed by summer 2017.
Prime Minister Announces East West Rail Study to be Widened
On 19th February 2015 the Prime Minister announced that the Government will extend the study already underway of the East-West Rail (Bedford to Cambridge) to explore the options for the Eastern section of the line and consider the possibility of a new station south of Cambridge at the new Addenbrookes campus.
This commitment formed part of his six point economic plan for the East of England. The full speech can be seen at:
East West Rail Study – Presentation
More videos from the All Party Parliamentary Group for East West Rail event November 2014 here