December 7 2013 Latest news:
By Elliot Furniss
Monday, December 10, 2012
A NEW hourly rail service launches today, offering people a better connection between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
Abellio train operator Greater Anglia has introduced the new link after work to install the “Beccles passing loop” was completed.
The £4million scheme, jointly funded by Network Rail and Suffolk County Council, has brought a previously disused platform at Beccles station back into use.
Track and signalling works have also been carried out as part of a wider £21m project to re-signal the East Suffolk Line, to improve reliability and performance.
Greater Anglia says the more frequent service will make train travel “much more convenient and attractive” for travellers to and from east Suffolk and a real alternative to the A12 throughout the day.
Before this major upgrade, train services between Ipswich and Lowestoft ran every two hours and there was a single track between Halesworth and Oulton Broad, meaning that trains could not pass each other for more than 16 miles.
The timetable change represent the most significant improvement to East Suffolk line services for many years.
Steve Knight, Network Rail general manager, said: “This upgrade will make a real difference to people living in the area and will help to boost the local economy, with a more frequent service for those travelling for leisure or business.”
Ruud Haket, managing director of Greater Anglia, said it would provide a boost to tourism and the local economy.
Guy McGregor, the county council’s head of transport, said more works would follow what he described as a “significant investment” in the network.