Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps today ducked the challenge when asked in Parliament about rail projects vital to Cambridge and the East of England.
Daniel Zeichner, Member of Parliament for Cambridge, asked the Transport Secretary if the Government still supported key rail developments, including the Bedford-Cambridge section of East-West Rail and improvements to Ely Junction. In his response, Mr Shapps failed to refer to any East of England railway improvement projects.
Mr Zeichner has campaigned for improvements to the rail network in the East of England to meet the demands of Cambridge’s growing population, support growth in the city and contribute to tackling climate change in the week when census figures show the East growing rapidly.
The proposed improvements at Ely Junction would increase freight capacity across East Anglia, supporting growth and efforts to tackle climate change, along with improving passenger services on low frequency routes.
East-West Rail would re-establish a train link between Cambridge and Oxford. As well as improving rail connectivity for Cambridge residents, the scheme would also help support growth in the city by providing Cambridge workers with better access to affordable homes.
Mr Zeichner said, “There is growing concern in Cambridge that the government will back away from its commitments to support vital rail services in the East of England. Both East-West Rail and improvements to Ely Junction would have huge benefits for Cambridge residents by improving the service for rail passengers and helping our city meet its obligations to tackle climate change. For all the rhetoric about levelling-up, the brutal reality is that they risk dragging us down.”.