Colchester MP Will Quince has been appointed chairman of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce.
The Conservative MP was appointed at the first meeting of the Taskforce to be held since June’s General Election. The meeting, on July 4, was jointly chaired for the last time by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and the new Anglia LEP Chairman Mark Pendlington. Both have led the Taskforce since its inception, and Smith will continue as Norfolk’s representative.
Quince was a member of the Commons Transport Select Committee from July 2015 until this May, and joined the GEML Taskforce last year.
The Taskforce helped secure the £1.4 billion investment in 1,043 new vehicles for the Greater Anglia franchise, and its research published in 2014 estimated that investment would return £4.5bn.
Now the Taskforce aims to hold GA to account over delivery of committed plans in the franchise, ensuring Network Rail delivers its plans for the rest of Control Period 5 (CP5, due to end on March 31 2019) and for CP6 (April 1 2019-March 31 2024). It will also campaign for the GEML as an ideal route to trial digital signalling, and aim to secure funding needed to deliver critical enhancements.
The New Anglia LEP will also continue to play a key role in the administration of the Taskforce.
Quince said: “Under my chairmanship, the Taskforce will continue with one collective voice to call for strategic investment in our rail line. The opportunities to improve our line for the benefit of passengers and businesses are considerable, and having been the Essex representative for over a year I am looking forward to getting stuck in and delivering for our region as chairman.”
Pendlington said: “The successes we’ve achieved so far are due to the unique way our MPs, DfT, Network Rail, Greater Anglia, business and education leaders and the LEP have worked together.”