Having campaigned for many years as MP for West Suffolk to improve our rail connectivity, I am thrilled the Government has officially announced its commitment to fund the much-needed upgrades to the Ely and Haughley rail junctions. This investment represents an important step forward in improving rail accessibility, capacity, and connectivity for our community.
In 2010, when I became MP, the hourly trains serving West Suffolk were merely two carriages long and often half empty. Fast forward to today, and we have seen significant progress with trains now consisting of three carriages and packed full during rush hours. This change demonstrates the growing demand for improved rail services in our area.
These upgrades would not have been possible if it weren’t for the numerous people who have campaigned tirelessly on behalf of their local community to get these upgrades. From local authority representatives, the Jockey Club, and the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, it has been great to witness what can be achieved when we come together for a shared mission.
Increasing rail capacity benefits West Suffolk in several ways. Firstly, it will reduce traffic congestion on our roads, making daily commutes smoother and more efficient. Moreover, a reduction in the number of cars on our roads will not only save commuters valuable time but also contribute to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable mode of transportation, in line with our commitment to a greener future.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of this investment is the potential to boost our local economy. With improved access to our region, West Suffolk is more likely to attract investments, increase job opportunities, and draw more tourists to come and experience the unique beauty of our area.
This upgrade matters because it will make it easier to get the half-hourly trains we need for Newmarket, Kennett, and Bury, as well an important step in the right direction to the establishment of direct links from Newmarket to London. It is simply inconceivable that the epicentre of British horseracing should suffer from subpar public transport links, which limits the growth potential of our area.
Ultimately, the Government's decision to invest in the Ely and Haughley rail junctions is an outstanding achievement and a reflection of what can be accomplished when we work together toward a common goal. It is a great boost for the West Suffolk community and serves as a reminder of the incredible outcomes achievable through collaboration. I will continue to work with all interested parties to ensure West Suffolk has the rail provision the community deserves and is in the best interests of local businesses and residents.