Chloe Smith
MP for Norwich North

Connecting our Counties Rail campaign gathers pace

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 06 September 2016 14:10

MPs from across East Anglia will this week gather in Parliament to renew efforts to deliver better, faster trains for Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.


As Joint Chair of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce, Chloe Smith is co-hosting a Rail Summit for the East in Parliament, along with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. The event will be attended by the MPs from across the region, and by the new Rail Minister Paul Maynard, along with representatives from Network Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia.


The event follows the Taskforce's major success in securing new trains for the new Greater Anglia franchise, and will focus on the remaining work to do to ensure that all services are faster and more reliable.


Commenting on the campaign, Chloe said:


“Our ambition is to transform the economy of the East, making our region one of the best places to live, work and learn – but we know significant investment is needed to turn this ambition into a reality. The refreshed rail prospectus for East Anglia, ‘Our Counties Connected’, sets out a compelling case for an achievable and practical programme of improvements between now and 2032, helping create thousands of jobs, build more homes, attract new business and unlock billions of pounds of investment across East Anglia.”


As Joint Chair of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce, Chloe has helped to secure a hefty £1.4 billion of investments in rail services across our region.  Flagship achievements in the new franchise include 1,040 state of the art new carriages, a reduction in journey times by an average of 10% on services between Norwich and London, more seats and free WiFi for all users.  The Taskforce will continue its work to hold the new operator and Network Rail to account to provide the remaining improvements which will secure a permanent better service.


Chloe adds:


“Our work together has already been a great success, delivering for the thousands of passengers, commuters and businesses across East Anglia who have backed the call for a faster, more reliable train service with the capacity we need for the future.  


“It means thousands more jobs coming to the region because East Anglia will be open for business - and so that's a benefit for many, many households, not just the passengers themselves.  But there is a lot more to do.  Now is the right moment to refresh our ambitions and redouble our efforts to transform our rail network for the future.”