Suffolk

East Anglian 'passengers left behind on platform' warning to rail summit

Greater Anglia train carriage Image copyright Nick Ansell
Image caption Passengers face being 'left behind on the platform' without track upgrades, Network Rail said

Passengers could be "left behind on the platform" without major investment in East Anglia's rail network, a transport summit heard.

Track and junction upgrades are needed to cope with demand which has risen 50% in a decade, according to Network Rail.

James Bradley told the meeting in Essex that extra capacity from new trains would be filled by anticipated growth.

By 2033, that could mean passengers standing on all peak London services or unable to board, he warned.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A task force group is pushing for track upgrades and more services into London

Mr Bradley, Network Rail's strategic planning leader, told the Great Eastern Mainline Task Force 90 million rail journeys were made on the Norwich-London line in the past two years.

He said housing growth in the East, particularly in Essex, would see passenger numbers rise 3% a year to 2033.

"By 2033 we could see passengers standing on all trains into London in rush hour [or] being left behind on the platform," he said.

Solving the problem was "likely to be costly", he told the meeting in Chelmsford.

Jonathan Denby, of Greater Anglia, said the operator's new trains alone were "not enough" without upgrades to infrastructure.

The task force is campaigning for four extra trains to run into London during rush hour, a remodelling of Bow junction near Stratford, and passing loops in Essex to allow passenger trains to overtake freight services.

The group, made up of MPs, councillors, and passenger and business groups, will make its case for government funding later this year.