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Business group backs long-sought upgrade of West Norfolk rail link

A leading business group has given its backing to the new drive for a long-sought upgrade of the main rail link serving West Norfolk.

An initial public consultation on the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement project is due to end this weekend.

But CBI officials have today endorsed the programme, which they believe is vital for the entire region.

The Ely north junction is a major bottleneck on the rail link serving West Norfolk (42335868)
The Ely north junction is a major bottleneck on the rail link serving West Norfolk (42335868)

Richard Tunnicliffe, the organisation's regional director for the East of England, said: “We are delighted to see progress being made on the Ely Area Capacity Enhancement scheme, which is a significant project for both the region and the wider country and recognised as one of the CBI’s long-term transport priorities.

“The Ely North Junction is important for both freight and passenger services.

"Network Rail’s proposals can deliver a much-needed upgrade for freight transport between Felixstowe and the Midlands and North, as well as increased capacity and choice for the region’s commuters.

“Once completed, this project can be a vital step towards fulfilling the Government’s levelling-up ambitions by helping to enable sustainable, long-term economic growth for the East of England.”

Network Rail, which is the body responsible for maintaining and upgrading the rail network, began its initial consultation on the project last month.

The company has stressed the project is in its early stages, while West Norfolk officials have estimated that building work may not start for another five years .

But supporters argue the project could generate up to half a billion pounds in economic benefits for the region.

The consultation is open until Sunday, November 1. Visit www.elyareacapacity.com for more information.

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