Ely Area Capacity Enhancement Scheme
Why is the railway around Ely important?
The railway around Ely is an important and busy part of the network where five railway lines converge, providing routes for trains operated by Greater Anglia, Great Northern, East Midland and Cross Country services.
It is also an important part of the strategic freight network connecting the Port of Felixstowe to the West Midlands and the North.
Ely station is a key interchange for passengers when travelling to destinations including Cambridge to the south, Peterborough to the north-west, King’s Lynn to the north and Norwich to the north-east.
Why does the railway need to be improved?
Owing to the existing layout of the tracks and junction, signals and existing speed restrictions across key bridges, the railway through Ely is operating at full capacity. This means that we cannot increase the number of services through Ely because it is acting as a bottleneck on the network.
As rail freight demand is growing, increasing the capacity will support a shift from road to rail thereby providing a faster, greener, safer and more efficient way of transporting goods across the country; helping to remove lorries from the roads and further reducing pollution and congestion
What do we need to do to improve capacity?
In order to increase capacity of the railway we need to address the following challenges:
• removing existing speed restrictions across key bridges to allow trains to run more efficiently
• remodelling the track layout at Ely station to accommodate more train services
• modifying Ely station platforms to accommodate more train services
• remodelling the track layout at Ely North Junction to allow more trains per hour to pass through safely and efficiently
• upgrading the signalling system in line with any changes to the track layout
• upgrading or closing existing level crossings while maintaining connectivity of the road network.
On the last point running more trains would increase barrier down times at level crossings and this may require additional measures to maintain safety for all level crossing users.
As we develop the rail options to improve capacity, we also need to understand the impact on road users and what we can do to maintain important road connections into Ely from surrounding communities.
All of these potential interventions will need to be assessed as part of the continuing development work for the EACE programme.