Ely to Soham Rail Improvements

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As part of Network Rail’s continuing national programme to maintain and improve the existing rail infrastructure, we are developing plans for the installation of a second track along part of the railway line between Ely and Soham.

Ely to Soham Map
The Felixstowe to Nuneaton section of track we are proposing to improve

The benefits

This investment will help to move freight traffic off the UK’s roads, and onto the railway, a far more environmentally friendly method of moving goods and materials around the country.

One container train carries the equivalent of around 33 lorries.

As part of the wider Felixstowe to Nuneaton project, this proposal will help to:

  • Provide an additional 14 freight paths (in each direction) per day along the route
  • Remove approximately 114,000 return lorry journeys per year (2,200 per week) from the roads by 2023
  • Increase capacity for both freight and passenger services on the Felixstowe to Nuneaton route;
  • Improve reliability and safety on the network by upgrading level crossings along the route
Ely to Soham Site Map
Detailed location map of proposed works

The plans

Network Rail are currently developing plans for the installation of the second piece of railway along part of the line between Ely and Soham.

We will need to use temporary construction compounds, and create temporary haul roads alongside the new track to gain access to the site.

We also expect the works to include:

  • The construction of new retaining walls and embankments to support the proposed new track
  • Track works, as we introduce the new line and make alterations to the associated signalling equipment
  • The lowering of ground levels to create flood compensation areas
  • The possible replacement of the Middle Fen Drain rail bridge
  • The provision of new maintenance access routes for the new track
  • Creation of replacement habitat to provide opportunities for a variety of wildlife
Ely Soham Map 2
Diagram showing proposed construction

Keeping people moving

As part of the work we also expect that we will need to close the existing line to allow us to build the new section of railway.  This is currently expected to be a closure of around 6 months. We will continue to work with the train operators to publicise any closures once and ensure that alternative arrangements are put in place as required.

We will work with the train operators to publicise any closures and make sure that where required alternative arrangements are put in place.

Improving level crossings

As part of this work, we will also need to upgrade a number of the existing level crossings on the route. This is to make sure they meet the required standards for the possible increase in trains using the line. The diagram below shows which crossings might be impacted by our plans:

Ely to Soham Diagram showing potential level crossing upgrades 
Diagram showing potential level crossing upgrades 

Why We Are Consulting

Consultation is an important part of the way we develop our plans to improve the railway.

Although most of the work required to build the new section of railway between Ely and Soham can be carried out within our own boundary, we will need to acquire some small strips of land on which to construct and operate the new line.

This will require us to make an application for a Transport and Works Act Order to the Secretary of State for Transport, and consultation forms a key part of this application.

The consultation on improving the railway between Ely and Soham has now closed. We would like to thank you for your interest in the scheme, and for attending our consultation events in Ely, Stuntney and Soham. Thank you for all of the comments and feedback received.

What Happens Next

Since the consultation closed (on 22nd April 2015) we have been reviewing the feedback we received. This has helped us to identify some of the key themes which we are considering as we move into the final design phase of the scheme. There is an FAQ document available to download on the Network Rail Ely to Soham Consultation webpage, which identifies these key themes.

A further update on the scheme development will be provided before the submission of the Transport and Works Act Order application.