County demands rail improvements

A WISH-list of improvements for the region’s rail services have been drawn up by Suffolk County Council.

The county has been asked to comment on what the region’s new rail franchise – set to start next spring – should contain.

And it is set to present the Department for Transport with a wish-list for improvement.

It wants to see a new hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough – creating a twice-hourly service between Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich when interlinked with Cambridge-bound trains.

It wants to ensure that an hourly service on the East Suffolk line is written into the franchise agreement.

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New trains should be provided on the main line to London – but they should continue to offer InterCity-style comfort and should have 2+2 seating with some tables rather than more high-density suburban-style seating.

The council is also keen that the new operator should have to give more notice when services are to be suspended because of engineering work.

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It says that one-week’s notice of a line closure is not good enough.

As a longer-term aspiration the county wants the rail industry and housing developers to look at replacing some level crossings with rail bridges – for instance on the main line at Claydon and at Elmswell on the cross-country line which is set to get busier with more passenger and freight trains over the next few years.

The demands are set to be discussed at next week’s meeting of the county council’s cabinet and the council’s views will be submitted to the government before the closure of the consultation period on April 19.

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