The draft Rail Reform Bill has now been published. It stops well short of creating GBR as the independent organisation envisaged by Williams, instead including explicit provisions for the government to continue interfering with the day-to-day running of the railways. However, it is not expected to be enacted before the general election.
A few years ago Labour published a white paper which says (on p.48) "Labour understands that government should have an arms-length relationship with the railway. Although GB Rail will be publicly owned, Labour wishes its proposed structure for the railway to deliver more freedom for railway professionals to run the railway than the present privatised structure." If that is still their thinking, it is perhaps better for the legislation to be delayed until the next parliament.
This important project includes upgrading Ely North Junction to allow the 11 train paths per hour that are needed now to support the all-day half-hourly service to King's Lynn, and to move more of the freight from Felixstowe off the A14 and onto rail. It would also enable future projects to increase capacity further. Funding for the next stage of the design process was applied for in March 2022; once the design is done there needs to be a further application for funds for actual construction. More information on the project here.
The government has announced (here) that some of the money previously earmarked for HS2 phase 2 will be allocated to it. That funding is not planned to be available until 2029 -- it covers the period 2029-2040. So there'll be a delay of 15 to 25 years compared to when the half-hourly service was originally promised. That's simply not good enough.
This new station will give travellers from Fen Line stations direct access to Addenbrooke's and Papworth hospitals and to employment on the Biomedical Campus. Construction is under way, and the station is expected to open some time in 2025, probably in late spring. We have been assured that all trains will call there; the project includes raising the speed limit at Shepreth Branch Junction to partly compensate for the extra journey time.
There are two parts to this project (detail here). Mainly it is concerned with replacing life-expired signalling equipment, which we support in the hope that it will reduce the number of signalling failures.
However, it also includes work on a number of level crossings; there are six that are proposed to be converted from half barriers to full barriers, to improve safety although level crossing fatalities in Britain are only one seventeenth of the European average. This will result in them being closed to road traffic for much longer than at present, which could be a particular problem at Waterbeach station, preventing passengers crossing the line to catch their trains, as already happens at Downham Market and Shepreth. We raised our objection at the public inquiry (documents here) and await the outcome.
We represent the interests of users of the Fen Line to the rail industry management.
We monitor to ensure that services offered are maintained and improved.
We inform our members of the latest developments.
The AGM takes place each November, located close to one of our stations and also on Zoom. Representatives of the rail industry attend to give members the opportunity to raise issues with key staff from across the network.
The draft minutes of the 2023 AGM are in the members' section.
Become a member and get access to the members' section.
FLUA works to develop services between the Fen Line stations (King's Lynn, Watlington, Downham Market, Littleport, Ely, Waterbeach, and Cambridge North) and onwards to Cambridge and London.
We seek the best for users from the fast-changing railway scene by working with all parties in the rail industry and with other relevant bodies in the development of the Thameslink Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise on the Fen Line.
Some of our history
Electric trains from Fen Line stations to Cambridge and London King's Cross are run by Great Northern for commuters, business and leisure users.
Greater Anglia operates electric trains from Fen Line stations to Cambridge and London Liverpool Street. These peak time extras run Mondays-Fridays only.