A RAIL boss has called on train users to demand key line upgrades are made between north Essex and London.

Ruud Haket, Greater Anglia managing director, wants users to lobby Government travel chiefs to help secure the improvements by 2019.

His call comes after plans were announced by Network Rail to invest £2.2billion in the Great Eastern line, which includes stations in Colchester, Clacton, Braintree, Manningtree and Chelmsford, as figures showed the number of commuters is set to rise by 49 per cent by 2031.

Mr Haket has written to more than 200 user groups, local councils and MPs asking them to contact the Office of Rail Regulation, the Department for Transport and Network Rail to request key upgrades are carried out between London and Ipswich and Norwich before 2019.

On the Great Eastern line, he wants to see improvements to journey times and line speeds and more track laid north of Chelmsford, to provide loops at a proposed new Beaulieu Park station.

Mr Haket said: "We are passionate about delivering a better and continuously improving rail service for East Anglia.

“We are already doing what we can in the short term to upgrade services but this is a vital chance for us all to try and secure the additional infrastructure enhancements on the Great Eastern and West Anglia routes we all wish to see, sooner rather than later.”

Derek Monnery, chairman of the Essex Rail Users’ Federation, backed Mr Haket’s call.

“I am behind him 100 per cent,” he said.

“If these changes are not completed by 2019, or at least well on their way to being completed, we are going to have serious problems given the increase in people using the train we are going to see in the future.”