Chloe likes to get results, and has made the train service around Norwich one of her big priorities. The Norwich to London rail service isn’t good enough. Services are over-crowded, delays are too common and our railway’s outdated infrastructure is becoming a barrier to growth. Passengers feel they pay too much for the services they receive, and expect better. People need to be able to get around for their everyday lives, their jobs, and for the future of our region.
First, Chloe brought together Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire to sign up to a common East Anglian Rail Prospectus. The impact of this made Westminster sit up and take notice of East Anglia: as a result of Chloe’s work, the Chancellor asked her to lead a Taskforce that would define how we could have a faster, better journey between Norwich and London; to provide a rail service that is fit to meet the demands and ambitions of our international 21st Century economy.
In 2014, Chloe and her team handed the Great Eastern Rail Report to the Transport Secretary and Chancellor outlining the strong economic and business case for investment. The Report called for:
- Investment of £476m in the main line including infrastructure improvement
- New rolling stock to be included in the new franchise tender
- Achieve London to Chelmsford in 25 minutes, Colchester in 40 minutes, Ipswich in 60 minutes, Norwich in 90 minutes
In return the investment will deliver:
- £4.5bn economic benefits
- £1.3bn of capital investment along the line
- Journey time savings of £9m annually
- 48,000 jobs along the line and over 3,000 full-time construction jobs
- £9.50 return for every £1 invested
The Great Eastern Rail Report can be found here and its backing detail shows clearly how these improvements can bring 8,200 jobs to Norwich. For good reasons like this, the campaign is backed by thousands of passengers in the region.
The government backed Chloe’s work too and promised to make the investment. Immediately, the existing carriages were improved, and since 2016, the new franchise arrangement has ordered brand-new carriages which will come into service in the coming years. They are also running some faster journeys already per day.
Accompanying infrastructure work will be done in the Network Rail works programme between now and 2024. Together those investments will give a faster and more reliable service on every journey between Norwich-London.
Chloe’s work has led directly to better journeys for passengers already, with better to come. She is incredibly proud to have achieved £1.4bn of investment for her constituency, which will bring thousands of jobs to our city.
Chloe continues to serve on the GEML Taskforce, holding the train operator and Network Rail to account so that Norwich passengers and jobseekers get these huge wins.