Felixstowe prepared for no Sunday trains for 18 months as work starts

More freight trains will be able to reach Felixstowe after the improvement work. Picture: STEPHEN SQ

More freight trains will be able to reach Felixstowe after the improvement work. Picture: STEPHEN SQUIRRELL iWITNESS - Credit: citizenside.com

There will be no Sunday trains between Ipswich and Felixstowe for 18 months once work starts on upgrading the rail line to the port and resort next month.

But Greater Anglia – and the local rail passenger group – say that in the long-term the pain will be worthwhile. They say it will be good for both rail passengers and road users.

Work to build a second line of nearly a mile at Trimley station is due to start next month. This will increase the number of freight train paths on the route – and should reduce the number of lorries using the A14.

The £60m track improvement will allow an extra 10 freight trains a day to get to and from the port – potentially taking 1,500 container lorries a day off the road to Felixstowe.

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said it was disappointing that the line would be closed for so many Sundays – but by early 2020 the service should be transformed.

She said: “I’m afraid it simply isn’t possible to do this amount of work without closing the line – and we shall be running buses every Saturday evening and Sunday.

“We know that isn’t as good as travelling by train – but when it’s done things should be much better and there will be an extra 10 freight trains a day taking freight off the A14.”

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Richard Holland, deputy chairman of Travelwatch Felixstowe, agreed that the 18-months of rail closure would be worthwhile.

He said: “They say there’s no gain without a bit of pain – and that’s what we’re going to be facing. But once the work is done it should be good for the town.”

When the line is fully reopened, it should coincide with the introduction of the new Stadler trains on the route which will increase capacity and reliability.

Mr Holland said: “That should allow Greater Anglia to have a full relaunch of their services with new faster trains and more seats – and a seven-day service.”

The work starts on April 7 and from then the line will be closed from 6.50pm on Saturday evening until first thing Monday morning every weekend until the end of 2019 to allow Network Rail to install 1.4km of new double track from Trimley station towards Ipswich.

This will increase capacity for freight trains – and should make the line more reliable for the hourly passenger service to the resort.

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