Suffolk: Calls for investment boost as rail use continues to rise with twice as many passengers now passing through Ipswich compared to 1997
PUBLISHED: 09:25 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:25 28 February 2014
The number of people using Ipswich station has doubled since privatisation in 1997 according to new figures.
A total of 3.3 million people went through the station during 2012/13 according to the Office of Rail Regulation, an increase of 6% on the previous 12 months.
In 1997 a total of 1.6 million used the station – and the growth prompted the town’s MP to call for more investment from Network Rail and Abellio Greater Anglia in the station.
Stations across Suffolk, and Manningtree, showed significant increases in passenger numbers over the last year.
The number using Bury St Edmunds station increased by 15%, and Lowestoft saw a 10% rise which accompanied the introduction of an hourly service on the East Suffolk line.
Manningtree saw an 11% rise and Stowmarket, the second busiest station in Suffolk, saw its passenger numbers increase by 5%.
Stations across the country saw an increase of 3.3% in passenger numbers, while across East Anglia the increase was 6%.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “These figures show how important it is to ensure the rail line from Suffolk to London receives major investment – it is increasing in importance and we have to ensure it is capable of carrying more passengers.
“It also shows the importance of investment in Ipswich station by Network Rail and Greater Anglia. It is now being used by twice as many people as it was at privatisation but has not had the investment it deserves.”
A spokesman for Abellio Greater Anglia said there was investment planned for Ipswich station, and it was hoped to find new retailers for the units beside platform two.
In the longer term there are hopes that the forecourt could be remodelled.
The spokesman added: “These latest station usage estimates published by the Office of Rail Regulation reflect the continued growth in rail travel in the region.
“The introduction of additional services including the increased frequency on the East Suffolk line, and work with our partners on the development of initiatives such as the Station Travel Plan for Colchester, are helping to support this positive trend.
“We will continue to work with our rail industry partners and key stakeholders in developing the case for further improvements to train services in the region.”
London Liverpool Street station retained its position as the third busiest station in the country, behind Waterloo and Victoria, and saw its passenger numbers increase by 2.4% to 58.5 million. The busiest station in East Anglia is Cambridge, which saw its passenger numbers increase by 3.9% to 9.1 million.