Sunday rail service bid welcomed
07:30 21 May 2014
Transport users have welcomed plans to extend Sunday rail services on the East Suffolk line as part of a £20million improvement scheme.
James Reeve, customer services area manager with Abellio Greater Anglia gave an update on the company’s investment plans to the East Suffolk Travellers’ Association (ESTA) at its latest meeting.
The improvement programme, made possible after the Department for Transport extended the company’s franchise to October 2016, includes a number of changes to the East Suffolk Line. Mr Reeve said the line between Ipswich and Lowestoft would gain an extra Sunday afternoon service in both directions next year “because we know how busy it will be”.
Currently, ESTA members say the final Sunday services are often overcrowded as there is no later option for the region’s weekend visitors to return home.
They say the problem has grown as the line increases in use following the introduction of hourly services six days a week.
ESTA chairman Trevor Garrod said: “Overcrowding is an issue which has increasingly been brought to our attention since the hourly service has boosted the passenger number, so we welcome this announcement.
“However, we will also be making our own representation to the Department of Transport and what we would like to see, I would imagine, will be hourly Sunday services.”
Mr Garrod also welcomed plans to improve the road crossing near Melton station, to allow faster trains.
“We’ve now got a good frequency, which has paid dividends. If we could also get the speeds up without having to sacrifice stops that will be a further selling-point for the line,” he said.
Other improvements earmarked for the line include a new car park at Darsham station, surface repairs at Woodbridge and CCTV at Beccles.