Hourly service ‘is only the first step’
REGIONAL train operator National Express East Anglia (NXEA) yesterday celebrated the launch of an hourly rail service between Ipswich and Saxmundham.
The enhanced frequency, part of the new winter timetable, is the first step towards providing an hourly service over the full length of the East Suffolk line between Ipswich and Lowestoft.
It involves five additional services each way between Ipswich and Saxmundham to provide a day-time hourly frequency from Mondays to Saturdays.
Additional Monday to Friday Lowestoft-to-Ipswich morning peak trains leaving Lowestoft at 06.11 and 07.27, with connections at Ipswich for London, also mean five departures from Lowestoft to Ipswich between 05.27 and 09.08.
A new passing loop at Beccles, which is required for an hourly service on the northern part of the line, is expected to ready by December 2012, subject to final confirmation of funding.
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Andrew Chivers, managing director of NXEA, said: “The introduction of an hourly frequency of service for our customers between Ipswich and Saxmundham and more peak-time trains from Lowestoft is the first step in delivering our long-held aspiration of providing hourly services on the East Suffolk line.
“Providing an hourly service makes rail a real alternative to the A12 and far more convenient for passengers, making East Suffolk more accessible and supporting the local economy.
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Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for roads and transport, added: “This new hourly service to Saxmundham is just the start.
“If all goes well it will not be long before this enhanced service is extended to Lowestoft.
“At the same time Suffolk County Council has been improving many of the stations on the line, including the provision of extra car parking.”