May 19 2013 Latest news:
By Paul Geater
Monday, June 6, 2011
IT MAY have arrived at Ipswich station months late, but the new footbridge has finally opened – providing a passenger lift over the tracks for the first time ever.
The £2.4 million footbridge had been due to open early in the spring, but the cold winter and other problems delayed the work.
But now it has been opened with a visit from MPs Ben Gummer and Therese Coffey.
Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Coffey has been campaigning hard to get the bridge opened because passengers catching trains on the East Suffolk Line through her constituency now have to change at Ipswich to get to London.
She said: “I have been pressing Network Rail to get on with the work. I know how difficult it has been for people having to be escorted across the tracks because my mother had problems after she fell and broke her hip.
“It’s taken longer than it should to get open, but we have to look to the future and not the past.”
The new bridge opened in rain – which showed engineers where flashing and other minor engineering improvements need to be completed.
The long dry spell has meant it had not been possible to judge where the bridge let in water – but on its first day of operation users were having to dodge the drips.
And a new section of roof will probably be installed to cover the 10-feet or so between the canopy on platform two and the bridge.
However despite teething issues, Ipswich MP Mr Gummer welcomed its opening – and looked ahead to future improvements.
He said: “This is an important, but relatively small, improvement for passengers from Ipswich. What we need to do is keep up the pressure for major infrastructure improvements through Essex to improve the rail service generally between Suffolk and the capital.”