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Colchester-London Rail Network

Volume 556: debated on Thursday 17 January 2013

5. What recent assessment he has made of the potential to increase the capacity of the railway network between Colchester and London. (137496)

The Department has reviewed where capacity is required on the line between Colchester and London. We are also considering what capacity might be required in the period beyond 2019. There are plans to improve the rail service on the line between Colchester and London by providing additional infrastructure in the Chelmsford area, with a new station, possibly at Beaulieu Park, and possibly by increasing the speed of the line.

I welcome that answer. I also welcome the fact that the Government are making a record national investment in our rail network, but there is a feeling along the whole of the Greater Anglia line that there has been some neglect. Will the Minister give the House an assurance, in advance of the major investment, that in the meantime one or more passing loops will be provided?

We are determined, through record levels of infrastructure investment, to improve the quality of journeys for passengers. As someone who uses that line, however, I accept that there is room for improvement, and that has been ongoing. We have seen a total upgrading of the track, we are seeing an ongoing process of replacing the overhead cables, and stations are being refurbished, but more has to be done, and that will happen.